Leviticus 18 22

Jan 2015
937
England
The question has to be therefore why is 18.22 with its prohibition of homosexual practise so often referred to these days and not the others?

...

Do modern churches devote such time and energy condemning heterosexual sin? Thought not.

The righteous position is not to condemn homosexual behaviour by itself but all sexual misbehaviour outside of the sanctity of marriage. As I have said above no church will get many takers for that one in this day and age.
You're right, though I know that Jehovah's Witnesses do stick to all of that.
 
Nov 2016
1,140
Germany
There are only two places in Tanakh that forbid homosexual intercourse between men, Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13. In the older Deuteronium, only homosexual temple prostitution is forbidden (which was legal in the Israel of the First Temple), not normal homosexuality. Also in other countries of this time homosexuality was not necessarily highly regarded, but quite permitted and usual. Homosexuality was therefore legal in Israel until the time of the Babylonian exile, only from the time of the book Leviticus (probably originated in the Babylonian exile or later), this practice is forbidden.

The reason for this is unclear, but it seems probable to me that the aversion to homosexuality is closely related to the dogmatic commitment to patriarchal monotheism with a male god, i.e. the prohibition is a kind of defense mechanism against the still strongly felt but strictly suppressed homosexual desires of the Jewish dogmatists (Iakov Levi in ´Exodus and Intrauterine Regression´: "The Father imago, as apotropaic means (defense) against the regressive urge, condensed with and resulted in a strengthening of the homosexual libido").

Interestingly, a story in Genesis 9 (written not earlier than Leviticus) with Noah and his grandson Ham is interpreted by some scholars in a homosexuality context. I disagree, but I would like to discuss the problem.

20 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard. 21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. 22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. 23 And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness. 24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. 25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. 26 And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

On the surface, this narrative has an etiological function: it provides an explanation and a justification for the oppression of the Canaanitic tribes by the Israelites. However, another more important idea seems to be hold back in a huge narrative gap. This gap is the absence of any plausible reason for Noah´s excessive wrath. That Noah´s shame of being seen naked could be such a one, is no interpretative option. Before I present the most plausible interpretation, that is, Ham´s incestuous intercourse with his mother, some conventional solutions will be discussed which are based on the involvement of homosexuality.

In Midrash commentaries, several rabbis have endeavored to lift the veil by speculating whether Noah has been homosexually violated or even castrated by Ham, what are the mostly accepted interpretations because they seem to sufficiently explain the degree of Noah´s excitement. A more modest psychoanalytical interpretation sustains that it is Noah who feels a homosexual desire and whose sense of guilt, that is, the aggression of his super ego, becomes projected on Ham and, particularly, on Canaan. Of course, a psychoanalysis of the narrative is not based on any historicity of the figures, but intends to reveal the unconscious factors in the development of the legend which is presumably the final written version of an oral tradition.

Surficially, it overcomes a moral conflict by justifying the enslavement of the Canaanites; under the surface, however, it tries to get a handle on a psychological conflict in the Israelite society which was not entirely resolved and which was charged with anxiety to a degree that even its mention seemed to be taboo. The homosexuality interpretations mentioned above suggest an unsolved conflict between homosexual desire (maybe in the form of an unconscious homosexual aspect of prophetic Yahwism, which strictly excluded the veneration of goddesses) and the Israelite prohibition of homosexuality. In contrast to the ´natural´ gender pluralism in polytheism which granted and even promoted a libidinous inclination for goddesses, prophetic Yahwism allowed solely for a religious libido which is directed at a masculine god, what possibly resulted in an unconscious sense of guilt.

While latent homosexuality is most probably intrinsic to Yahwism (see my Levi quote above), the rationale for Noah´s punishment of Canaan is nevertheless better explained by the mother incest interpretation. Firstly, it should be noted that Noah´s wife, wherever she appears in Genesis, is not worth being mentioned by name, she is referred to only as Noah´s ´wife´, that is, she is practically erased as a person. Considering her state as sort of second Eve, this is most noteworthy. (Though even the original mother of mankind is named only at the end of the Eden narrative.). Secondly, she is not mentioned in the scene which shows Noah lying nakedly in his tent. Even so, her absence in the tent is impossible (where else should she be?), moreover, the drunkenness motif in the narrative clearly indicates Noah´s intention to produce offspring according to the divine command to "be fertile and increase" in Gen 9:1. The following narrative gap could be filled with this reconstruction:

Due to his drunkenness, old Noah is not capable of having intercourse. Young Ham enters the scene and sees his mother lying beside her impotent husband what causes Ham to take over his father´s procreative function. By this, he even adopts Noah´s position as the family´s patriarch. When Noah notices what has happened, Ham cannot be the object of his curse since curses can be put only on subordinated people; Ham, however, is patriarch now. Therefore, the curse passes over to Ham´s son Canaan.

This reconstruction is strongly supported by the definition of "the father´s nakedness" as the mother´s nakedness in Leviticus 18:7a:

Your father’s nakedness, that is, the nakedness of your mother, you shall not uncover; she is your mother – you shall not uncover her nakedness.

This ´uncovering of nakedness´ is according to the preceding verse 18:6 a euphemism for incestuous intercourse:

None of you shall approach anyone near of kin to uncover nakedness.
 
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Moros

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
3,097
The list before Leviticus 18:22 is aimed at only men, and gives the women they are forbidden to have sex with. The verse after Leviticus 18:22 forbids both men and women from having sex with animals. So where are the laws forbidding a woman from having sex with certain men?

I wonder if Leviticus 18:22 is actually aimed at women, and is saying that a woman mustn't have sex with men who are in the same context as the women in the previous list. The literal translation of the verse is apparently " “and-with a male not you-will-lie lyings-of a woman.” If the 'lyings of a woman' refer to the previous list of forbidden 'lyings' with a woman, then the verse seems to say you shall not lie with a man who is in a similar relationship to you as the women already listed.

Leviticus 18:22 could therefore have nothing to do with homosexuality, but is about extending the sexual taboos to include the female behaviour as well as the male.
 
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Tulun

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
3,880
Western Eurasia
The list before Leviticus 18:22 is aimed at only men, and gives the women they are forbidden to have sex with. The verse after Leviticus 18:22 forbids both men and women from having sex with animals. So where are the laws forbidding a woman from having sex with certain men?

I wonder if Leviticus 18:22 is actually aimed at women, and is saying that a woman mustn't have sex with men who are in the same context as the women in the previous list. The literal translation of the verse is apparently " “and-with a male not you-will-lie lyings-of a woman.” If the 'lyings of a woman' refer to the previous list of forbidden 'lyings' with a woman, then the verse seems to say you shall not lie with a man who is in a similar relationship to you as the women already listed.

Leviticus 18:22 could therefore have nothing to do with homosexuality, but is about extending the sexual taboos to include the female behaviour as well as the male.
it uses masculine verb (don't lie...), semitic languages make difference in conjugation between masculine and feminine, so it clearly address males. I really don't see the point why try to twist it, it seems quite clear, it is telling to guys to don't have sex with other guys. It was also understood the same way in the last thousands of years by those who used the Bible as reference... until now in the 20-21th century, when it suddenly became untrendy and then some groups try to reinterpret it to fit to the spirit of the age.:rolleyes:
 

Moros

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
3,097
it uses masculine verb (don't lie...), semitic languages make difference in conjugation between masculine and feminine, so it clearly address males. I really don't see the point why try to twist it, it seems quite clear, it is telling to guys to don't have sex with other guys. It was also understood the same way in the last thousands of years by those who used the Bible as reference... until now in the 20-21th century, when it suddenly became untrendy and then some groups try to reinterpret it to fit to the spirit of the age.:rolleyes:
It was never part of the 10 Commandments, so regardless of how it is interpreted, any emphasis based upon it as a universal law of God needs to be viewed with suspicion.
 
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