söndag, augusti 03, 2008

A de-sexualised reading

As my Blog is suddenly functioning again, I think I will do what I intended from the beginning, make a coherent presentation the 10 Commandments and their importance in the Bible and in Theology generally: for they, not the laws of men, are God’s Law.

Much of the Bible, even the Sermon on the Mount in Matt 5-7, Mark 7 and the so called “Catalogues of Sin”, is structured according to the order of the 10 Commandments, the chiefest of them being 1 Cor 6:9-11 (because authentic).

What I am aiming at is a de-sexualized reading as if the Platonizing and Neo Platonist Academy hadn’t been, beyond Ancient Gnosticist teachings on the Sanctity of Sperm and Modern distortions.

For I believe that the Greek of the Bible (the Septuagint and the New Testament) is different from its accustomed readings, namely material, contrasting the later sexualization of the Scholastics, and later still, Modern Dynamic Equivalence.

This sexualization started pretty early in the first Millennium, Academics like the (later so called) Church “Fathers” quite naturally reading Bible Greek (Koíne) as their own Academic, but Bible Greek was a derivation/translation from Hebrew Theological Concepts (think active verbs) not Academic ones (abstract nouns).

In short it was material and above all specific – which also meant fewer meanings to a word. The traditional error of theology is to Generalise, but there is also in Academia a tendency to create congregational discipline; crowd control. Generalisations and Sexualizations are useful in that regard.

The best example to my mind is epithumía. Theologically it is about selfish Greed, disregarding Social, Collective, and even Cultic considerations. It is always Sexualized as “Covet”. But in Academic Greek it means simply “desire”; a n y desire, also sexual desire. However “Sex” is not a separate category in the Bible, distinct from ordinary Life; Lechaim, as it has become in especially Modern translations – maybe because sex is a Modern or late modern Concept... “Sex” was still un-heard of when and where I was a child (Sex meant “Gender” – and there was only one! ;=)

In Bible Greek epithumía speaks of material desire, the 10th Commandment is an instance of this theological/technical/material approach.

Oux epithumäseis tän gunaîka tou pläsíon sou, ouk epithumeseis tän Oikían tou pläsíon sou, oúte tòn agròn autoû, oúte tòn paîda autoû, oúte tän paidískän autoû, oúte toù Boòs autoû, oúte toû Upåzugíou autoû, oúte pantòs ktänous autoû, oúte pánta ósa tå pläsíon sou estí.

“Don’t want the Wife of your Neighbour; don’t want the House of your Neighbour; or his Field; or his Boys/Servants; or his Girl/Servant; or his Ox; or his Donkey; or any of his animals, or anything which belongs to your Neighbour.”

“The Wife of your Neighbour” refers to her Dowry and her Connections. Not to the unfortunate woman herself. It’s Material.

You may also notice that epithumeseis is a Verb. These words generally are in the OT, but nearly always become first Nouns, and then (2nd century) abstract (the influence of Philosophy?).

What I will be trying to do is a de-sexualized reading of the 3 central Commandments – the Cultic 2nd, the Collective 7th and the Social 10th – the 3 most frequent in the NT (some are declared no longer currant, such as part b. of the 2nd Commandment about Images (the Church declaring that God became visible in the Incarnation and that Christ accordingly may be pictured); or barely mentioned such as the 1st, the Great Commandment (Deuteronomium 5:6, quite forgotten in later traditions); some are only criticised “the Sabbath is made for humans, not humans for the Sabbath”).

In the de-sexualizing process I also restitute 6 Greek words as specific, theological/technical Concepts:

2nd Commandment porneía; sacral prostitution, 7th Commandment moixeía; deceit, unfaithfulness, 10th Commandment epithumía; regardless selfish Greed.

To this comes the words of the so called Catalogues of Sin akatharsía; cultic impurity, asélgeia; “ravings” i.d. taking part in Bacchanals, and finally koítän; the Bed – the only Bed there was to a House in Antiquity, often rendered by medical macaroni Latin coitus), and finally 6 infamous “clobber”-verses (Genesis 19:5, Judges 19:22, Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, the Letter of “Jude”, verse 7) – some of them traditionally mis-taken (Academy), some of them quite new (after 1970).

To be continued.

8 kommentarer:

revLois sa...

Welcome back, Goran!

Fred Schwartz sa...


Would it be a terrible imposition to then relate the OT 10 to the NT 2? Alos, relating how these are realtinoship issues and not mandates from on high (if that makes any sense.)

It is good to hear from you once again. I find your posts (where ever they may be to be fascinating). Live long and prosper!

Göran Koch-Swahne sa...

OT 10 and NT 2? Please explain, Fred!

Fred Schwartz sa...

I apologize for the cryptic quote. The relationship between the Old Testament 10 commandments and then the New Testament 2 great commandments -- love God and Love your neighbor (that's shorthand). You are so able to develop and relate various passages and I hope this is not an imposition.

Göran Koch-Swahne sa...

from Leviticus 19, the Jewish catechism... Yeah, I'll think of something.

There are radical changes in Lev 19 (think of how the 8th Commandment changes rom a court room setting to lying in general... Luther actually used several in his ditto.

Göran Koch-Swahne sa...

Tank you Lois!

Leonardo Ricardo sa...

Reverend Göran,

Thank you for "activating" again with your blog...you help me understand better...even though common sense and a common sense of decency seems to be the basis for almost everything, I like to see it SPELLED OUT!

Mil Gracias,


Anonym sa...
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