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Just in Case You Don’t Have Enough Controversy in your Life

Ben Witherington has posted a response by Robert Gagnon to Jennifer Knust on the Bible and Homosexuality:

The Bible’s Surprisingly Consistent Message on a Male-Female Requirement for Marriage

Be sure to read Knust’s original article, “The Bible’s surprisingly mixed message on sexuality.”

My former teacher, David Garland, once said that he had more respect for someone who boldly stated “I think the Bible is wrong on this one” than for someone who tried to shoehorn it to say something it clearly doesn’t say. With all respect, I think Dr. Knust is guilty of the latter.



  1. BW16 says:

    There has been a great discussion on the post about the objectivity of queer Bible criticism. It turns out Ben3 dabbles in a bit of queer interpretation himself, by the looks of his latest post.
    With affection


  2. […] Holtz discussed homosexuality as God’s gift to the church. And in response to Ben Witherington revisiting an earlier exchange on homosexuality, Remnants of Giants offered an […]


  3. Gagnon declares a ‘surprising’ and ‘consistent’ biblical ‘message’ of a Male-Female requirement for marriage. I don’t think it surprising at all. Historically marriage was an alliance between households or lineages designed to guarantee property and progeny. Indeed progeny were themselves a form of property an attitude that persists through to this day. Given that the biblical texts come from cultures that understood marriage in that way then there is nothing surprising about such biblical ‘consistency’ With the exception of Virgin Birth, or more accurately, Virginal Conception, there was no way of envisaging an alternative. To argue form that though that there is some sort of divine imperative that only female-male and procreative relationships should be the affectional/realtional norm precluding all others is very blinkered to say the least.

    Furthermore the biblical texts record and celebrate other types of relationships such as the covenant love relationship of Jonathan and David, to give one outstanding example. When it comes to marriage the biblical texts reflect the world from which they derived but in the same way they present other affectional models too and in the Virginal Conception and some of the sayings of Jesus imagine alternatives to the marriage model of procreation and property and patriarchy.

    And yes, again reflecting the world from which they derived there are some biblical passages that denounce or pillory some forms of male male eroticism. I’m quite prepared to regard them as prejudiced, misguided, wrong myself and am not afraid to say so.


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