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If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention

Posted on 2004.28.11 at 11:05


robinhoo at 2004-11-29 09:50 (UTC) ()
Thanks, babe. :) *hugs you*

The Official Word regarding "abomination" -- nope, it's not the same as the word used for shellfish. The word in Leviticus 20:13 (and 18:22, which parallels 20:13 but is in apodictic rather than casuistic form) is to'ebah, and it's used 4 other times in Leviticus outside these two verses, all in chapter 18 and with reference to sexual wrongdoing (including incest laws and bestiality). It occurs 112 times in the Hebrew Bible outside Leviticus, but it's not limited to a sexual context outside Leviticus. Ezekiel often uses it in a sexual context, but that context is metaphoric and actually refers more to idol worship than anything else. (The word that refers to shellfish, in Lev 11:10, is sheqets, and it occurs 8 other times in Leviticus, always with reference to the laws of kashrut -- that is, laws regarding what it's not cool to eat. It occurs in 2 other places in the Bible, only one of which [Ezekiel 8:10] doesn't clearly specify the context of kashrut.) Although I haven't had a chance to do a careful analysis of how to'ebah is used throughout the Hebrew Bible, my quick look through its occurrences suggests that it occurs primarily in contexts wherein Israel is being differentiated from its non-Yahwistic (that is, not-Yahweh-worshipping) neighbours. In other words, Israel was given certain laws that defined them as "a priestly kingdom and a holy nation" (Exodus 19:6), set apart for the Lord from its Ancient Near Eastern neighbours (like Egypt, Canaan, Babylon, Assyria, and Persia). Leviticus is a specifically priestly book, reflecting the concerns of those who presided over Temple worship and cultic practice, and no study of the uses of to'ebah would be complete without a consideration of whether or not the word ever occurs in a text other than one which reflects such specific priestly/cultic concerns.

We know that homosexuality occurred to varying degrees in other Ancient Near Eastern cultures, such as the Hittite Empire and ancient Ugarit. Sometimes it was purely negative -- soldiers raping their conquered enemies as a final humiliation of war. But there is also evidence to suggest that some ANE cultures allowed for homosexuality. For instance, the Bible itself records references to male (and female) temple prostitutes, and other ANE evidence bears out the fact that Canaanite (and other nations') worship practices included cult-sanctioned prostitution of both women and men (the worshippers who would avail themselves of the prostitutes' services would've been exclusively male, as women were prohibited from extramarital sexual relations of all kinds, in pretty much every ANE culture). Also, some ANE law codes (including Lipit-Ishtar, I'm pretty sure, and possibly even the Code of Hammurabi, though I'm much less sure of that) contain legal prohibitions against only the passive partner in homosexual consensual encounters -- the active partner (that is, the fucker, not the fuckee :)) would receive no legal condemnation. We don't know to what degree homosexuality was accepted socially in the ANE, but it's reasonably clear that Israel's prohibitions against it were much more stringent than its neighbours'.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2004-11-30 18:50 (UTC) ()
Thanks, darling. Lots of good info. *hug*
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