Milgrom on Leviticus 18:22

Finally, it is imperative to draw the logical conclusion of this discussion for our time. If my basic thesis is correct that the common denominator of the entire list of sexual prohibitions, including homosexuality, is procreation within a stable family, then a consolatory and compensatory remedy is at hand for Jewish [and, by extension, Christians?] gays: if gay partners adopt children, they do not violate the intent of the prohibition. The question can be asked: Why didn’t the biblical legist propose this remedy? The answer simply is that this option was not available, since Israel did not practice adoption.

[miškĕbê ‘iššâ] is a technical term. The plural is always found in the context of illicit carnal relations; contrast miškāb, the singular implying licit relations. Thus since illicit carnal relations are implied by the term miškĕbê ‘iššâ, it may be plausibly suggested that homosexuality is herewith only forbidden for only the equivalent degree of forbidden heterosexual relations, namely those enumerated in the preceding verses. However, sexual liaisons occurring with males outside these relations would not be forbidden. And since the same term miškĕbê ‘iššâ is used in the list containing sanctions (20:13), it would mean that sexual liaisons with males, falling outside the control of the paterfamilias, would be neither condemnable nor punishable.

Milgrom, Jacob, Leviticus 17-22: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary,New York: Doubleday, 2001. pp. 1568-1579.

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This entry was posted in bisexuality, Christianity, hebrew, homosexuality, Jacob Milgrom, Leviticus, Sexuality, theology and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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