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i decided to read this book so that i could get an overview of the christian bible, to remind myself of what i was taught at church while growing up. it's also a handy source of insight into those who take the bible literally. the authors seem to be open to the notion of old-earth creationism, as opposed to the kind where believers insist that earth is only 6,000 years old, so i will throw them some respect for that. they do emphasize that the bible's words are literal truth, however, and there they lose me.

the book includes a very useful list of references to bible verses on various topics, so i plan to keep it for that reason. for those of you who may be curious about exactly what the bible says about homosexuality, here are the entire six verses on the subject, that were written by only two people (moses for the ones in leviticus, and paul for the rest), and be sure to remember that the following statements do not reflect my beliefs in any way:

Leviticus 18:22 (King James Version)

"Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination."


Leviticus 20:13 (King James Version)

"If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them."


Romans 1:26-27 (King James Version)

"26For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

27And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet."


1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (King James Version)

"9Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

10Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 17th, 2007 09:15 pm (UTC)
Paul didn't like sex in general, but he wasn't as bad as Saint Jerome, who classed passionate sex *within marriage* as adulterous. (You could have it, but you better not enjoy it.) The church has hardly been uniformly anti-homosexuality, though: Montaigne went to a brother-making ceremony in Rome in 1578, and concluded that all involved -- including the priests officiating -- understood this ceremony to legitimize gay sex between the men made brothers.

Surprised you list Moses as the sole author of the Torah, though, since you're hardly what I would call a literalist with respect to the bible. I don't have an opinion on this issue, but you might add this book to your list: it's an interesting overview of the controversies (some people even think a woman may have been one of the authors of the Torah): http://www.amazon.com/Who-Wrote-Bible-Richard-Friedman/dp/0060630353

More on same-sex unions in the pre-Modern church: http://members.aol.com/DrSwiney/unions.html; Amazon sells the (dry, scholarly) book Morgan mentions.
Jan. 18th, 2007 05:39 pm (UTC)
oh, i didn't know about the controversy over who wrote the pentateuch. why am i not surprised that it's controversial? the book looks very interesting.

i wonder how a man is supposed to have sex without enjoying it?
Jan. 17th, 2007 10:14 pm (UTC)
I still find it ironic that people who want to believe the literal word-for-word truth of the Bible aren't doing everything in their power to read/follow the original Hebrew. It's well known that many thoughts are not quite equivalently expressible in translation -- often a single word in the source language can only be accurately translated by describing it with an entire phrase, sentence, or even paragraph. (This is part of why English is happy to simply adopt terms from other languages -- we can, for example, understand what is meant by esprit d'corps, but there's no pure-English way to state it so succinctly.)

Of course, true fundamentalists simply posit that translations are also a divine miracle, so that this book is actually translated perfectly even though perfect translations are impossible (and numerous vagaries of translation have been specifically identified within the Bible already)... :P
Jan. 18th, 2007 05:45 pm (UTC)
your second paragraph, about the perfection of the translation into english, was exactly what Knowing the Bible 101 had to say about the subject. i'm glad to have read it, just for the sake of finally learning how they were explaining away the flawed translation process. it still makes me sigh from the bottom of my lungs. blatant, willful ignorance is such a turn-off.
Jan. 18th, 2007 07:29 pm (UTC)
Indeed -- willful ignorance is really one of only a handful of things that I actually find offensive.
Jan. 18th, 2007 09:06 am (UTC)
Also important to why I stopped practicing catholicism is that for all the importance that is put on the New Testament, and love and forgiveness, it's always the OLD testament that they turn to to ban things...
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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