Man sues Bible publishers over references to homosexuality

Actually, what I think he is saying is that the Bible doesn’t really mean homosexual when in I Corinthians 6, homosexual is listed. As I understand it, from this USA Today article, he is arguing that the publishers used the term homosexual in the translation with intent to harm him as a member of that class. I think Zondervan and Thomas Nelson will prevail…

28 thoughts on “Man sues Bible publishers over references to homosexuality”

  1. Never mind.
    Brian, I apologize. I shouldn’t have been foolish enough to attempt to actually engage in a discussion here. I’m checking out. Please ignore my questions that I thought were somewhat connected to yours–and the topic. Jayhuck’s questions demonstrate how foolish mine were.

  2. You made a philosophical/metaphysical argument by saying “Wouldn’t God have known this? Wouldn’t He have seen the confusion He was causing the homosexuals of the time?” My point was also a philosophical/metaphysical one. Wouldn’t an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving God have seen the confusion He would cause his children throughout history by being vague, nebulous or silent on so many subjects? The questions you ask can be applied to several other issues as well. That doesn’t invalidate the questions, but it should drive home the point that the gay issue is hardly the only one that is fraught with problems where the Bible is concerned.
    We all know these things: the Bible was written by men, it was written at a particular point and at a particular time in history, etc. I don’t pretend to be a Biblical historian or scholar – far from it – but alot of our different perspectives on these issues have to do with interpretation.
    Here are a few more questions;, why wasn’t God absolutely and concretely clear on all these subjects that have divided Christians and set them up to war against each other? Could he not have foreseen the trouble His book would cause? Some things are clear and others are less-clear, why? How there are over 22,000 different Christians denominations with different beliefs?

  3. What were you trying to say then that you addressed to me in regard to my questions? “One could ask the questions you asked about many things–many things aren’t specifically addressed…” You didn’t attempt to answer the questions and that statement, in particular, seems to say that my questions venture into some nebulous zone of ‘many things’ that ‘aren’t specifically addressed’.
    You forgot the smiley face at the end of your command to ‘lighten up!”

  4. Jayhuck-
    I’d respond if only I could figure out what point you’re making. For one, though, why is your response an appropriate rebuttal to my comment but not to Brian’s as well?
    Brian presented a thoughtful analysis that raised a few questions; I responded with another point of view but it was also thoughtful and raised a few questions. I felt your response, given the tone of our comments, was dismissive.
    LOL. It’s perfectly fine to question the intended meaning of arsenokoitae based on how the word was used centuries later; it’s perfectly fine to suggest that ‘some scholars’ support this (who, how many, why); it’s also fine to suggest that it could mean ‘sex with young boys’ or ‘heterosexuals engaging in anal intercourse’ but MY questions are not valid.
    This entire thread was about that Holy book and the possible wrong interpretation of the words. A number of the comments went to the cultural context of the time. We should have posted your comment in the first spot and closed the discussion.
    Or is this when you say, “I wasn’t really trying to refute your statement, I just wanted to make sure you’re aware that….” If so, that’s as condescending as it gets.

  5. Eddy,
    It is a touchy subject and some of these things in the Bible speak more to the culture at the time than anything else. One could ask the questions you are asking about a number of things in the Bible – many things aren’t specifically addressed in that Holy book.

  6. Brian–
    If we follow the logic of your closing paragraph, it would seem that the Bible ignores ‘true homosexuals’ completely…simply doesn’t speak to them AT ALL. With heterosexuals, though, there’s advice on how to live, how to treat your spouse, even what specific sexual behaviors will keep you out of heaven. I wonder why an all-knowing and all-loving God would simply refuse to even speak a word of specific encouragement to someone He placed on such a path.
    I’d also wonder why anal intercourse with a woman would keep a person out of heaven but anal intercourse with a man would not. This seems particularly odd to me given that anally raping a vanquished male enemy was viewed as the ultimate in degradation. Wouldn’t God have known this? Wouldn’t He have seen the confusion He was causing the homosexuals of the time? Gee, culturally it’s major bad…and it’s bad to do it to a woman…but those ‘true homosexuals’ didn’t have any of those lust issues…they didn’t need any advisements, any restrictions, any admonishments.
    I agree, it is a touchy subject.

  7. This probably wont be responded to because this is so far after everyone else’s discussion but here is something I have found reading.
    In I Cor. 6:9 Paul lists the types of persons who will be excluded from the kingdom of God and for some he uses the Greek words malakoi and arsenokoitai. KJ translates the first “effeminate,” a word that has no necessary connection with homosexuals. The NIV translates the first “male prostitutes” and the second, “homosexual offenders”. The RSV in its first edition of 1952 translated both words by the single term, “homosexuals”. In the revised RSV of 1971, the translation “homosexuals” is discarded and the two Greek words are translated as “sexual perverts”; obviously the translators had concluded the earlier translation was not supportable.
    Malakoi literally means “soft” and is translated that way by both KJ and RSV in Matt. 11:8 and Luke 7:25. When it is used in moral contexts in Greek writings it has the meaning of morally weak; a related word, malakia, when used in moral contexts, means dissolute and occasionally refers to sexual activity but never to homosexual acts. There are at least five Greek words that specifically mean people who practice same-gender sex. Unquestionably, if Paul had meant such people, he would not have used a word that is never used to mean that in Greek writings when he had other words that were clear in that meaning. He must have meant what the word commonly means in moral contexts, “morally weak.”
    Arsenokoitai, is not found in any extant Greek writings until the second century when it apparently means “pederast”, a corrupter of boys, and the sixth century when it is used for husbands practicing anal intercourse with their wives. Again, if Paul meant people practicing same-gender sex, why didn’t he use one of the common words? Some scholars think probably the second century use might come closest to Paul’s intention. If so, there is no justification for translating the word as “homosexuals.” Other scholars see a connection with Greek words used to refer to same-gender sex in Leviticus. If so, it is speaking of heterosexuals given to such lust they turn to such acts.
    I don’t know, its a touchy subject.

  8. Sandra–
    Can you suggest a translation of the compound of ‘male’ and ‘sexual intercourse’ that wouldn’t be a stretch…if it’s not saying ‘homosexual’, do we have any inkling of what it is referring to?

  9. I have great trouble when liberties are taken with translation of the bible, and so does God. There will always be difficulties in translating one language into another, i.e. seven words all translated into one English word “sin”.
    The word in question is Arsenokoite which appears only THREE times in all ancient Greek texts. Here, in a companion list of sins in 1 Timothty 1:10, and by a later Greek Father who was commenting upon 1 Corinthians 6:9. This word appears to be a made up word by Paul who stuck together two other Greek words, Arsen” – male and “Koitos”-sexual intercourse. It is a strech to translate this into homosexual.

  10. I differ with Jayhuck on the amendment to Dave G’s post. NO, I don’t think Dave G meant to say ‘former practicing homosexual’; the Bible definition of what is a homosexual and psychology’s definition differ. Dave G was speaking to a Bible statement and about Bible times. I feel Dave G’s statement is more true to his intended meaning as it stands.

  11. Dave G. –
    No one can agree on the definition because its not so much an understanding of the different parts of the word, but how the word itself was understood, and how it may or may not be different from the way in which we see homosexuality today.
    I think you meant to say former “practicing” homosexual. Just because a homosexual isn’t having sex doesn’t mean they aren’t still a homosexual. FYI 🙂

  12. So what’s the best translation of the Greek word “arsenokoite”? –It is made up of two Greek words: “arsane,” meaning male, and “koite,” the root word for “coitus” –sexual intercourse; thus “male coitus.”
    Actually there are two words that Paul uses, referring to what gays today euphemistically call “bottom” and “top.” The latter is rendered “Sodomite” in current translations.
    But the clincher in the passage 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 is that even these are forgivable sins for those who repent and turn their lives around, acquiring a new life and identity as followers of Christ, for among those Christians to whom Paul writes apparently included former homosexuals.

  13. And BTW, I agree that the lawsuit is stupid. Maybe the words in question DO mean “effeminate” and “homosexual”. Some people say yes, definitely. Some say the precise meaning is unclear. Who really knows for sure? We can’t go back and ask Paul.

  14. Mary: You should know that even at my best to define and describe to you my definition of myself – even you took privilege with my words and used them to define something – something I never said>”
    Like what? What did I accuse you of saying that you never said? How you define yourself is your businees. I just want to understand what you mean. I am not trying to define you. I am trying to understand you, believe it or not.
    I have often asked to clarify what you meant by using certain terms, but I don’t recall using your words in some other way to “use them to define something”. If you are referring to the term “ex-gay”, I ALWAYS ask what someone means by this because it means so many different things.

  15. Ken,
    Let it go to trial so that a precedent can be made and get the decision into a ruling based on “evidence” no matter how ridiculous.

  16. Michael,
    You should know that even at my best to define and describe to you my definition of myself – even you took privilege with my words and used them to define something – something I never said. Just – letting you know. We are all doing it .

  17. Mary said in post 112002:
    He can’t dismiss it. I hope it goes to trial.
    Yes, the judge could. He could rule that the plaintiff has no credible evidence to show intent. And unless this guy as something significantly more than just the bibles they printed, I think the judge should dismiss it.

  18. Mary: True enough. That’s why I think it’s so important to explain what we mean when we use words in a particular or idiosyncartic way.

  19. I think the publishers should be able to translate the words any way they please — use languange in any way that suits them. EXODUS does it all the time.

  20. He can’t dismiss it. I hope it goes to trial. If the judge rules in favor of the litigant who brought the suit then we will have to stop such books as Mein Kampf, and A Scarlet Letter. The guy is essentially asking for a book burning.

  21. I would hope that the judge simply dismisses this case before it even goes to trial.

  22. I agree with you that he probably won’t succeed. However, it wouldn’t surprise me if these types of arguments are tested in the courts from various angles with increasing regularity.

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