In the discussion thread: Arkansas State Rep: ‘If Slavery Were So God-Awful, Why Didn’t Jesus Or Paul Condemn It?’ [View all]
Response to Warpy (Reply #80)
Wed Oct 10, 2012, 02:02 PM
happyslug (14,696 posts)
125. Paul attacking Women and Gay men?
Last edited Wed Oct 10, 2012, 05:18 PM - Edit history (1)
Paul's attack on Homosexual is in two passages and then used the following two words:
Arsenokoitēs (Arseno Greek for Male, Koties, Greek for sexual intercourse)
Malakos - This seem to have started out to mean a adolescent male who is the sexual object of another male but by the time of Christ had expanded to include any male who opt for a soft living as oppose to doing hard days work.
Arsenokoitēs is unknown from any Greek writing prior to St Paul. It is rarely used afterward. Thus its exact meaning is hard to determine. That it is a combination of two Greek Words for Male and Sexual Intercourse is clear, but Greeks had other more common words for what we call Homosexuality. Furthermore, even today, among the people of the Mediterranean, a man who has penetrates another male, but himself is NOT penetrated, is NOT considered a Homosexual. This concept also exists in American Prisons, where it appears to arise independently.
Arsenokoites is used in conjunction with the term "Malakos" and that combination may be the key to understanding why St Paul used the Term Arsenokites. In simple terms St Paul was condemning someone like Sandusky with the term "Arsenokoites". The term "Malakos" is also condemned, but it was a more used term among Greek Speakers, meaning male prostitutes or males who refused to do men's work.
Modern Scholars have pointed out the above and have pointed out that St Paul does not condemn Homosexuals but those Homosexuals who abuse adolescents AND males who refuse to work.
This actually makes sense, for the Ancient Greeks were known to accept Homosexuality more then the Jews and Romans and Paul was a master in the practice of Marketing, i.e. do NOT condemn something that will turn people off your message. This can be seen in Paul's visit to Athens, he does NOT condemn the idols all around him, he goes to the alter set aside for any god the Athenians did not know of and point out the Athenians have always Worshiped God based on that alter, they just have to accept the one true God. Paul does NOT Condemn the idols he still wants destroyed for that would turn the Athenians against him, instead he points out what they have in common with him and Jesus Christ. As I said, he was a master marketer of Christianity.
Thus St Paul had good reason to avoid Homosexuality as a subject, except when it was popular cause among the Greeks. Pedophiles and male's who did no work were NOT high on anyone's agenda, and thus could be safely condemned, along with "Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers...thieves, the greedy, drunkards, slanderers, swindlers...". No one liked any of them and thus all could be condemned.
On the other hand, the terms for violent crime is not mentioned in that sentence. Murder, Assault, Battery, and even rape are NOT mentioned. Fornication, being greedy, be a Drunkard, being a Slanderer, are NOT violations of the ten Commandments (and neither is Homosexuality).
One author pointed out in later books Arsenokoites is almost always listed among economic crimes. not sexual crimes, which implies it meant something of economic harm (i.e. using a slave as a sex toy even if the slave does not want to). This can be seen in the above quote, the ... is where the terms Arsenokoites and Malakos occurs. i.e. right between the sexual crimes and the economic crimes.
The same author points out that Makakos had by the time of Christ a long history of being used to any male who did NOT act like a regular male i.e. work hard outside the home. I.e. someone who did NOT work hard Physical Labor OR work hard at getting an education.
Thus St Paul did make two comments that MAY include an attack on Homosexuals, but some how he also wanted to restrict who he was condemning. The reason for the restriction may be due to concerns about how his message was being received the homosexuality but Paul did restrict his condemnation.
As to women. A Protestant minster once pointed out that if Paul knew what he letters were going to be used in later years, he would have been more careful what he wrote. Paul is noted for three comments on women, first in a letter Paul writes women should NOT be heard in Church, then in another letter he recommends a FEMALE Follower to a Church and to listen to her as if he was speaking, and third if you have to have sex, get married.
The comments reflect three different situations, the first, that women are NOT to be heard in Church, was in response to a problem that had arose among Early Christian Churches. Repeating the Last Supper had already become the focus of any meeting of any Christian Group. These started quite small, in the homes of Christians, then as the community grew Christian started to build larger buildings to hold such meetings. Unlike Pagan Temples, where the worshipers stayed outside the temple, gave their gifts to the gods to the Temple Priests who took the offering inside the temple and later came out and said it was acceptable (Thus Temples did NOT have to have room for all of its worshipers, but Christian churches did, this was the main difference between the two religious houses).
Anyway, as the Church became more and more Greek, the Greek Tradition (which was also a Roman and Jewish Tradition) that any teaching of anything was separated by sex. Among the pagans this had NOT been a problem for dogma could differ (and did) between the sexes. The problem with Christianity was dogma could NOT differ between the sexes for ALL members of the congregation participated in the repetition of the Last Supper (i.e. Both sexes at the same time, through as was traditional at that time, males on one side, females and young children on the other). Thus you had both sexes in the same room, hearing the same sermon from the same priest, but 1/2 of the listeners have been taught differently for their were women and had learned from women. Apparently some of the woman stood up and asked question about the mass, this disrupted the mass, but given the nature of the education system at the time, the only time and place they could ask.
It was this disruption Paul was saying Woman should NOT do. At the same time, it appears, the early Christians started to make sure Women and Men received the same lessons on the religion. Men would teach women of the doctrine (and in some cases, as when Paul sends a letter of Recommendation for a woman, for Women to teach men). Thus Paul's statement as to women being quite in mass became meaningless even as he lived, but it also reflects how revolutionary Christianity was, the teaching of women and men separately (except by family members) had strong roots in Roman, Greek and Jewish culture at that time. Christianity was one of the first attacks on that separate system (Please note, going to mass, men on one side, women on the other remained the norm till the High Middle Ages, when it switched to the modern concept of families staying together, an example of how hard and long it takes to change traditions).
As to women and sex, Paul seems to have a problem with the temptation of sex. He tells men to avoid women, for women will tempt them. This also followed traditional GREEK dogma, that women were weak for they needed sex, if a woman gave up sex that made her more like a man. I did not say I believed this, but it reflects Greek Dogma of the Classical and Roman Period. Thus the writing that women are evil and thus will tempt a man to break his vows, for having sex made a man weak. This dogma was still popular in the mid 20th century, when football players were told NOT to have sex with their wives the night before a game for it would make then weaker. Studies have long disproved this dogma, but it remained around till quite recently.
Thus, under the popular dogma of the time period to have anything to do with women made men weak and thus to be avoided. This dogma shows up in odd places in the bible but it exists and probably is the reason Paul never married, Unlike Peter and the Disciples (all of whom were married),
Paul was single and that permitted him to move about more then the disciples themselves. Peter and Paul both ended up in Rome, but Paul went to a lot of places in between. Paul was a well educated Jew, and thus could write (and did). Peter had some education and probably could read and write, but he appears to prefer to speak and thus we get most of what we know of Peter by the Writings in the Gossips and the Acts of the Disciples. The Acts of the Disciplines and the Gossip according to Luke are believed to have been written by St Luke, who also appears to be a follow of Paul, but had great respect for Peter.
On the other hand Paul's position that a person could be saved by faith alone, was rejected by the early Church (and remains rejected by the Catholic and Orthodox Churches to this day). Catholic (and Orthodox) Doctrine says to be "saved" you must have "Good Works", i.e. helping your fellow mankind. Thus the people who organized the modern bible put the Letter from St James right after the writings of St Paul to show that despite what St Paul wrote, Good Works were still required. Luther had a problem with St James and wanted it removed from the Bible for Luther believe a person could be saved alone but accepted the Catholic interpretation that St James rejected that concept (Thus Luther wanted to removed St James). Later Protestants kept St James letter in the bible, but said the Catholics were wrong in how they read St James, in recent decades some Protestant have reviewed this debate and started to state that Luther's and Calvin's view were wrong as to St Paul and St James (adopting a more Catholic view of both).
More on this Protestant Debate on Paul:
One of the problems with Paul is he was a Jew, living Under Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and finally dying under Nero as opposed to someone living 2000 years later. Rome was going through a strong period of Hellenization at that time which would continue for another 200 years. It would be stopped under Constantine but that stoppage would end with the Fall of the Western Empire around 450 AD. At that point the Empire, based from 450 onward survived mostly in the East and thus became a Greek Empire. In the West you saw a decline in Roman/Latin tradition after 450, then a return to Roman/Latin tradition after about 600 AD (With some Greek in between, but also a good dose of German/Gothic traditions coming in). For this reason Orthodox Priests wear beards (Greek Tradition), Catholic Priests are clean shaven (Roman Tradition).
Paul seems to be a speaker more to keep what is good about Judaism and to adopt what was good in Hellenism for he lived in this time of transition. Thus when Paul uses the term "Faith" he does NOT mean Faith alone but to follow the will of God (Faithfulness not Faith) even if that means doing what traditional Judaism rejected. Paul's sending a woman as if he himself had gone (Which was itself a rejection of long held Greek AND Jewish dogma), his attack on Pedophilia, which by then had long been a Greek Custom, shows his efforts to keep what is good and avoid what is bad in the time of transition. Thus Paul is more progressive to Women then most of the men of his time period, and seems to only attack Pedophilia when it comes to Homosexuals. Paul still falls into the common dogma of his time that relations with a woman weakens a man, but other then that he was quite progressive when it came to women. This may be a reflection of his Roman Citizenship (Roman's women had more rights then Greek Women) and his Jewish descent (Jewish women did not have the rights of Roman Women, but they had more rights then Greek Women) but his "attacks" on women are the common attacks of the time period, based on that popular dogma that when men and women had relations, that made men weaker.
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