Homosexuality and Romans 1

May 11, 2015May 11, 2015 J. R. Daniel Kirk

Over the past few weeks I have been taking occasional soundings into questions surrounding homosexuality in the ancient world.

Just to clarify what has not been clear to some: it is obvious to me that Paul did not approve of (some sort of) same-sex coupling. The question I have been probing is what did he not approve of, and why?

I regularly hear that the things Paul stood against were pederasty and temple prostitution. In a couple of previous posts (here and here) I questioned whether these forms of same-sex relations existed, and/or might have otherwise been the object of Paul’s scorn.

Last week I took up a third possible target for Paul’s same-sex polemic: slave sex. This was a ubiquitous reality in Rome. And, it was built on a system of social hierarchy that was deeply embedded in not only “pagan” Greco-Roman culture, but also early Judaism and nascent Christianity.

Jewish and Hellenistic

A couple of people have pushed back against the idea that we look to Greco-Roman context to understand what Paul might have been communicating. I get it. There is a theological bent to all of Paul’s thinking that has to be given some level of primacy. Paul as a Jewish theologian, engaging and working from the story of Scripture, needs to be a primary reference point.

To this I say yes. And no.

Read more at http://www.jrdkirk.com/2015/05/11/homosexuality-and-romans-1/


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