[b-hebrew] "Sodomite", Homosexuality, Prostitution

david.kimbrough at charter.net david.kimbrough at charter.net
Wed Jul 14 11:42:50 EDT 2004

The obvious and easy answer is that is why the word kadesh is often translated as "sodomite" (see subject line).  Nonetheless, while both men and women served as ritual prostitutes (this was fund raising activity for the cultists as well as a fertility rite) it is pretty clear that only men paid to participate in this ritual.  The more mundane commercial prostitutes of or both ancient and modern times, male and female, service an entirely male clientele.

In regard to Tamar, it must be remembered there is an entirely separate Hebrew word for a common whore derived from *zanah* (to be a whore).  Genesis makes it clear she is pretending to be a *kadeshah*. When Judah unknowningly had sexual relations with Tamar, he used the word *kadeshah* but when he sentences Tamar to death by burning, he uses the term *zanah*.

> From: Bearpecs at aol.com
> Date: 2004/07/14 Wed AM 04:04:56 GMT
> To: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
> Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] "Sodomite" in 2 Kings 23.7 & Homosexuality
> In a message dated 7/13/2004 3:09:55 PM Eastern Daylight Time,  
> david.kimbrough at charter.net writes:
> While  the kadesh performed homosexual acts as a cultic activity, 
> I do not think it is at all certain that the qadesh performed homosexual  
> acts.  Why do we assume the qedesha performed heterosexual acts but not the  
> qadesh?  Indeed, in the verse cited, we are told that these men were  located in 
> the spot that women did weaving.  Isn't it likely that women  went to this 
> sanctuary site to perform a devotional activity dedicated to a  goddess and were 
> there entertained by available men?
> Further, I am not convinced that qedesha in reference to Tamar truly meant  
> "temple prostitute" at all.  Why not assume that the root has  its basic 
> meaning (HALOT p. 1072) of "set apart"; and as a  prostitute she is set apart from 
> normative family life.
> I also think it is likely that a qadesha associated with a sanctuary may  not 
> have been a "temple prostitute" in the sense of a woman who commited sexual  
> acts for cultic, ritual reasons.  I am not aware of any evidence that  ancient 
> Israel practiced ritual sex for cultic purposes -- or even acknowledged  for 
> example any sympathetic magic of human sex encouraging agricultural  
> fertility.  (And if you say that all the evidence has been expurgated from  the Bible, 
> then why would the mention of qedeshot not also be expurgated?)   Rather, I 
> would suggest that a qedesha may have been a woman (presumably a  slave) 
> dedicated to the sanctuary, just as other items were dedicated to the  sanctuary.  
> Her income would then have belonged to the sanctuary.   Thus, she may have been 
> a prostitute, and a "holy" prostitute in the sense that  her cost went to the 
> upkeep of the holy sanctuary, but not a "temple prostitute"  in the classic 
> meaning of the term.  (A qadesh -- whether performing  homosexual or 
> heterosexual acts -- would similarly have been a sanctuary  prostitute but did not engage 
> in sex for cultic purposes.)  This  would be just as deplorable in the eyes 
> of the Bible as temple prostitution, but  I suggest is more consistent with 
> what we know of the theological  environment.
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David Kimbrough
San Gabriel

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