Originally posted by Rajk999
What is "...effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind ". Does that phrase refer to gays?
I just realised the word effeminate is in the Bible.
1 Cor 6:9-10 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit t ...[text shortened]... ]"...effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind ". Does that phrase refer to gays?
I am not an expert in Koine Greek, but I think the meaning is quite elusive. The Greek has oute malakoi oute arsenokoitai
which literally translates as 'the soft and those who sleep with men'. It is a curious expression. Malakos
, when normally referring to persons, means 'morally weak' or 'lacking in self-control' (see Liddell and Scott, 2c), not a homosexual (I believe in classical Greek, at least, thelys
would be the usual term for an effeminate man).
is also vague. This is a Pauline neologism not attested elsewhere in Greek. It is a compound of arsen
, the New Testament term for a man, and koitos
, a bed. Obviously Paul is not talking about any sexual relations with a man since Paul condoned married life. This must refer to some illicit sexual activity. But is it prostitution or homosexuality? The gender of arsenokoitai
is not indicated (it is a first declension, which generally contains feminine nouns, but the -ai
ending is simply a result of the nominalising -es
morpheme), so Paul could be referring to any illicit sex more severe than fornication or adultery.
Nor is the Latin clear either. Jerome's translation in the Vulgate is a simple example of word-for-word substitution: molles et masculorum concubitores
('the soft and those who sleep with men'.) Molles
in Latin could refer to a homosexual man but it could have any number of meanings. Nor does Jerome make any decision as to the gender of the arsenokoitai
: the gender of concubitores
could be masculine or feminine.
In short, the meaning isn't clear. Your translation for arsenokoitai
is, however, even more obscure and I don't countenance the expression 'abusers of themselves with mankind'. Arsen
never refers to mankind. Anthropos
is always the word for man, whether male or female.
Personally, I do not think that it is implausible that Paul is referring to homosexuals. The expression could be taken as an example of the rhetorical technique, hendiadys
, i.e. 'soft people who sleep with men'. That would then more obviously refer to the passive partner in a homosexual relationship. The meaning however is lost on us. Perhaps for the sake of modesty, Paul did not want to refer to homosexuality or prostitution explicitly. But what matters is the functionality, not the descriptive value, of the line: avoid illicit sex.