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Journal of the American Academy of Religion LXIV/2

Ancient Bisexuality and the Interpretation of Romans 1:26-27*
Mark D. Smith
I T IS WITH genuine trepidation that I enter the arena to contend with those who have been grappling with the issue of the ordination of selfaffirming homosexuals1 for the better part of two decades. Nearly all major Christian denominations have struggled with this question, in one form or another, and the future promises no respite.21 do not intend to add fuel to homophobic fires, nor do I wish to lend credence to those who would make theology the feeble puppet of cultural whim. Rather, I hope to lift the current dialogue to a higher level by paying close attention to recent studies of ancient sexuality which have raised our awareness of the cultural attitudes and assumptions that characterized the world of the first Christians and influenced the writings of the New Testament.
Mark D Smith is Associate Professor of History at Albertson College, Caldwell, ID 83605-4494 *I would like to express my appreciation to Dr Denny Clark and Dr Tom Schmidt for their generous guidance and criticism 1 1 employ the term "homosexual" with some misgivings This etymological anomaly, built of mixed Latin and Greek roots, is the creation of the past century Ancient Greeks and Romans had no equivalent term Further, this term is very problematic when used to define persons, groups, or lifestyles I therefore agree with Boswell (1980 41) that is better to avoid its use whenever possible, though I do not think his substitution of "gay" helps to alleviate the problems I have here employed "homosexual" in a very specific and limited sense, to refer only to the behavior of engaging m sexual activity with persons of the same sex "Bisexuality" refers to the practice of one person, either male or female, engaging in sexual activity with both men and women 2 For the debates through the early 1980s, see Scroggs 1983 1-16 For the continuation of dialogue, see PCUSA, ELCA, 1993 and 1994, cf Fulkerson



Journal of the American Academy of Religion

Most scholars agree that one of the more important issues in the modern debate is the portrayal of homosexuality in the Bible. All of the biblical passages that have been purported to mention homosexual activity pose significant interpretive difficulties.3 The clearest, at least at first blush, is Rom. 1:26-27, which is widely considered the linchpin of the discussion: "For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural (para physin), and in the same way (homois) also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error" (NRSV). A cursory reading of this text has led many interpreters to believe that Paul considers homosexual behavior to be sinful. A cursory reading, however, is not sufficient for understanding Paul's meaning, for many have come to quite different conclusions. If there is any hope of resolving these differences of opinion, it is important to understand the place of these verses in the argument of Rom. 1:18-3:20 and the ancient assumptions about sexuality that lurk behind them. I do not wish to indulge in yet another lengthy discussion of the structure of Paul's argument, which has been done admirably by several scholars (Hays; Scroggs 1983: 109-118; Furnish: 72ff.; Schmidt: 64-85). Some basics, however, cannot be avoided. Vv. 26-27 are an integral part of the structural unit of 1:18-32, tied together by the device of a threefold "exchange," followed in each case by the phrase "God gave them up"(w. 23-28). In Paul's treatment of the causes and effects of idolatry, his argument progresses from a discussion of idolatry in general as distorted worship, to sexual sin as distorted use of the body, to various social sins as distorted relationships with others and the world. Paul is using this exploration of human evils as a rhetorical tool to prepare for his transition in 2:1: "You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else"(NIV). Although this may be a reference to Jews, it is not necessarily so. Paul explicitly places Jews in the same boat at 2:9. The point of Rom. 1:18-3:20 is that all are sinners; none has a right to treat another as morally inferior before God. It would be a mistake, however, to conclude that Paul's words in 1:18-32 are merely rhetoncal and not a reflection of his ethical ideals. This passage is not devoted to ethical admonition, for Paul's point is primarily theological. But, the ethical standards implicit in 1:18-32 are nonetheless Paul's and not a mere rhetorical flourish, as he makes explicit in 2:1: the person who is inclined to judge the sinners of ch. 1 is guilty of "doing the very same things" (NRSV). All, Jews and Greeks alike, are under the power of sin (3:9, 23).

3 The number of pasages in the Bible that deal with homosexuality is disputed The twelve most commonly cited are Gen 19 4-11, Lev 18 22, 20 13, Deut 23 17, lKmgs 14 24, 15 12, 22 46, 2Kings 23 7, Judg 19 22-30, Rom 1 26-27, ICor 6 9-10, lTim 1 8-11

Smith: Ancient Bisexuality


The vices catalogued in 1:18-32 are, in context, merely symptoms of a more systemic infection, the most primal of all sins: "they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator"(l:25 NRSV). The vices of ch. 1 are, therefore, not causes but effects, illustrative of the behavior of all people who have, in myriad different ways, turned away from God. But, for Paul, these are vices nonetheless, empirical evidence of human sinfulness and the human need for God's grace. Paul is not engaging m an exacting examination of each type of sin, but rather pointing up the desperate situation of an unredeemed humanity Paul is expressly condemning each of the vices listed, but he does not elaborate on them, and he does not treat any one as more heinous than the rest. Most of the recent discussion of this passage has centered around the two most important scholarly works published on the subject: John Boswell's Chnsanity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality and Robin Scroggs's The New Testament and Homosexuality. Boswell argues that "the persons Paul condemns are manifestly not homosexual: what he derogates are homosexual acts committed by apparently heterosexual persons."4 Therefore, according to Boswell, those who are homosexual by orientation and engage in homosexual acts are not included in Paul's denunciation. Boswell's work is an important scholarly contribution that has helped push discussion onto a higher plane. His interpretations of biblical texts, however, including Rom. 1, have been justly criticized, both because of his anachronistic importation of the modern concept of an inherent sexual orientation (something no ancient Greek or Roman was familiar with)5 and because of his lack of sophistication in matters of

4 Boswell 1980 109 is not unique in offering this problematic mterpretation His discussion depends heavily on Bailey 157, cf Edwards 98-99 'Boswell (1980 109) asserts that the concept of sexual orientation was commonplace among Greeks and Romans, though he does not provide any documentation in support of this assertion There are, however, four sources that appear to imply that a person's attraction to persons of the same sex may be a life-long condition determined before birth In passages that we will discuss in more detail below, both Aristophanes (in Plato's Symposium 189c-193d) and Phaedrus (in his ber Fabularum 4 16) offer mythological accounts of the origins of human sexuality, in both cases sexual propensities result from divine activity Since, however, both texts were intended to be humorous, poking fun at those who continue to engage in homosexual behavior as middle-aged adults, it is unwise to treat them as serious philosophical explanations of sexuality, especially since their assumptions and myths are not corroborated elsewhere (cf Halpenn 18ff) In addition, Brooten (1990 83) cites two astrologists who treat homosexuality as foreordained and unalterable behavior (Vettius Valens, Anthologien 1 1 13, 2 17 66, Ptolemy, Tetrablos 3 13 160, cf 4 5 187f ) Since, however, all things are foreordamed for the senous astrologist, homosexual behavior is no more, and no less, determined than, for instance, the person one might marry None of these sources can be considered representative of a general attitude in the Greco-Roman world, and none adequately parallels the modern concept of sexual onentation Ironically, the modern concept and language of an inherent sexual onentation has recently made its way into American courts, at the same time that some in the modern Gay Rights movement have come to reject the concept as oversimplified and demeaning (e g , Kelly), cf Schmidt 131-59


Journal of the Amercan Academy of Religion

lexicography. Most recent scholars agree that Boswell's interpretation of Rom. 1:26-27 is untenable.6 More important and more significant is the work of Robin Scroggs. 1 do not believe it is possible to lavish too much praise upon Scroggs for his contribution to the modern discussion. His irenic tone, linguistic and literary sophistication, and clarity of presentation make his work a model of biblical and historical scholarship with a practical edge. He has the knack of asking the right questions and pointing his audience in the right direction for answers. Scroggs proposes the parameters for precisely how the discussion of biblical texts can be used to illuminate the modem practical and political debate within ecclesiastical bodies: one must: 1) do the work of exegesis to understand the meaning of biblical statements in their historical and literary context; 2) compare the specific meaning of the texts with the major theological and ethical themes of the Bible; and 3) determine whether the cultural context addressed in the text bears a reasonable similarity to the modern context in which it is to be applied (1983:123). With these parameters in mind Scroggs turns to the exegesis of Rom. 1. He argues that this passage must be interpreted in light of what Paul knew of the sexual practices of the Greco-Roman world, for he could only condemn behavior with which he was familiar. How can we know what Paul may or may not have known? Scroggs displays his penchant for looking in the right places for answers by embarking upon a lengthy examination of homosexual practices in the ancient world (leaning heavily on the first edition of Kenneth Dover's magisterial work) and the attitudes toward such practices among Jews (17-98). After analyzing his collection of evidence, Scroggs concludes that the only "model" of homosexual relationships in existence in the Greco-Roman world was pederasty, literally, "the love of boys," which he defines as a "relationship between a male adult or older youth, and a boy or younger youth. One partner, almost always the older, assumed the role of the active partner; the other, almost always the younger, that of the passive"(18, 34-35, 139). If Paul knew only the "model" of pederasty, his words in Rom. 1 can only be interpreted as a proscription of that ancient practice, not as a condemnation of mutually consenting, adult homosexual relationships such as are widely publicized in modern American culture (42-43,126). Therefore, Rom. 1 (as well as all other alleged New Testament references to homosexual activity) speaks to the condition of a culture far removed from our own and is irrelevant to the modern debate.

6 See esp. Hays 184-215; cf. Wright 1984: 125-153; Scroggs (1983: 28 n. 39) responds, "This exegesis . . . seems forced to me;" cf. R. Goss: 92. Boswell has received high praise as an historian, much of which is warranted. It is important to note, however, that Boswell was a medieval historian. I have serious reservations about his argument that early Christians had a highly tolerant attitude toward homosexual practices. The evidence he cites does not support his conclusions. For further discussion, see Wright 1989: 329-334.

Smith: Ancient Bisexuality


Scroggs's book embodies every virtue save one, that of being right. His conclusions are flawed, primarily because of his selective use of the evidence for ancient homosexual practices. As a result, he does not adequately or accurately present the cultural climate of which Paul was a part and which formed the basis of what Paul knew and rejected. Whereas Scroggs has posed the right questions and presented the right parameters for answering them, he has not completed the task he set himself. In particular, there are three issues with which Scroggs has not adequately dealt: 1) the definition of pederasty; 2) evidence for nonpederastic homosexual practices in the Greco-Roman world; and 3) the evidence for and implications of ancient female homosexual activity A close analysis of these three topics will demonstrate that Paul probably knew more than Scroggs would have us believe. WHAT IS PEDERASTY? Expanding on the definition cited above, Scroggs clarifies his conception of pederasty: 1. In the typical romantic relationship, the beloved is most often a boy or youth around the age of puberty extending at times into the late teens. 2. The lover is most likely to be an adult, probably older than twenty years, the upper age extending indefinitely, at times to middle age and even beyond. 3. There are enough variations of the above to blur the focus of the picture. [There] may well be exceptions . . . Historical reality can never be completely captured by generalizations. 4. What does seem constant, no matter how much the typical age differential was modified in specific instances, is the acceptance of the roles of active and passive by the partners . . . 5. Apart from certain exceptions of an adult male prostitute who retains his passive (or perhaps also active) role well into adulthood . . . know of no suggestions in the texts that homosexual relationships existed between same-age adults. (34-35, emphasis his) Scroggs further suggests that, "if we interpret pederasty supplely enough to include the continuation of that model into these borderline cases [such as same-age youths as lovers and adults taking the role of beloved], then it is certain that pederasty was the only model in existence in the world of this time" (139, emphasis his). In addition, Scroggs claims that pederastie relationships were characterized by "inequality," "impermanency," and the potential for "humiliation": "Most forms of pederasty had at least the potential to create concrete relations that would be destructive and dehumanizing to the participants, particularly the youths. Given this potential and its frequent actualization, that early Christians should repudiate all forms of pederasty is not unduly surprising" (36-37,43, emphasis his). For Scroggs, pederasty is far more than a mere description of behavior; it is a sexual "model," a cultural construct which includes pat-


Journal of the American Academy of Religion

terns of behavior that are considered appropriate, concepts of normal and abnormal activity, and a cultural ideal of beauty. For the Greeks, pederasty was considered normal and, within certain legal and customary bounds, appropriate. The Greeks had no parallel to the modern idea that homosexuals should remain in the "closet." The Greek ideal of beauty was the youthful male (27-29). It is important to note the careful wording of Scroggs's definition of pederasty. Each step of the way, he leaves room for exceptions to his rule. What has he really said? There may be an age distinction, but maybe not. There will frequently be exploitation, but maybe not. He claims that he knows of no indications of homosexual relationships between same-age adults, yet he later adds a discussion of "adult ermenoi"adults who act as passive partners with other adults of the same gender, a practice he attempts to subsume under his pederastie "model"(135ff.). In the end, Scroggs's definition of pederasty leaves us with one irreducible characteristic: the active/passive distinction between sexual partners. Such a definition is extremely problematic for three reasons: It is inconsistent with his argument concerning Paul's meaning in Rom. 1; it does not correspond to the meaning of the term paiderastia as it was used among ancient Greeks; and it is a definition unique to Scroggsnone of the experts on the subject, including those upon whom Scroggs depends for much of his information, defines pederasty as broadly as he does. Scroggs's primary argument is that Paul only condemned pederasty in Rom. 1, and primarily its more dehumanizing characteristics (127-128). Assuming that this argument is true, based upon Scroggs's definition of pederasty, what does this conclusion mean? Presumably, that Paul only meant to condemn homosexual activities that included an active/passive distinction between partners. Such a conclusion is not very significant and does not support the application Scroggs makes of it. Active/passive distinctions between male homosexual lovers have been commonplace in every culture for which we have any evidence of homosexual activity in history, including our own. In fact, Scroggs has defined pederasty in such a way that the only types of homosexual activity excluded by his definition would be a pair of male lovers who regularly exchanged active and passive roles and types of female homosexual activity that do not require active and passive partners. Scroggs cannot both define pederasty in this way and also argue that Paul's proscription of such activity was a uniquely Greco-Roman phenomenon that cannot be applied to other cultures. Of course, Scroggs would not accept this sort of reductionism as an adequate representation of his argument. His treatment of the pederastie "model" as a whole is much more sensitive and nuanced than this caricature, but on those occasions when he presses the issue, by broadening his definition of pederasty and forcing what would otherwise be considered exceptions to pederasty into his pederastie "model," he is also, by implication, reducing his conclusions to such an oversimplification.

Smith: Ancient Bisexuality


Since this problem stems from the definition of pederasty, and since the Greeks coined the term, it is important to understand how they defined it. Paiderastxa is an abstract noun compounded opaides (boys) and a derivative of era (I love), meaning "the love of boys."7 Since the word means "love of paides" it seems on an etymological basis that it would be difficult to have anything called pederasty where paides were not involved. Greek usage of the term bears out this assumption: I know of no occurrence of paiderastxa or its cognates in ancient literature that refers to anything other than a love for paides. Love of youths for oneanother, or love of men for men, or love between women may share certain similarities with pederasty, but they cannot be termed pederastie, at least according to Greek usage.8 Not only does Scroggs's definition of pederasty not conform to Greek usage, his understanding is not shared by any other scholars in the field. Brandt consistently uses "love of boys" to express his understanding of pederastie attitudes and practices (435-456). Dover does not define pederasty explicitly, but he assumes throughout that the reader will understand that pederasty is love of boys. He never uses the term for anything other than love for a boy9 Marrou defines pederasty as a passionate friendship between "an adult man and an adolescent"(27). For Buffire, pederasty is "Vamour des garons."10 As is often the case, Cantarella is clearest on the subject. She defines pederasty as a cultural, educational, and sexual practice, in which men courted, guided, taught, and had (either anal or intercrural) sex with male paides (1992:136-42).H The paides, when they grew into young men, subsequently took on the active role with other boys until the former reached the usual age for marriage, or even later.12 Pederasty had its own customs and its own vocabulary:

7 Technically, paides can also in certain contexts refer to girls or slaves, but neither of these possible usages is relevant to the meaning of pederasty, which only refers to boys, cf Golden 309 The cognates, paukraste, paiderasts, paiderastxkos and paideros, also appear in Greek literature, though none of these forms is common 8 Boswell asserts that paiderastxa could be used in a broader sense among Greeks, but he offers no evidence that substantiates his claim, and he himself elsewhere uses "pederasty" in the same specific sense as other scholars in the field (30) 9 Eg 15-17, 50-52 et passim The same can be said of Flacire 62-63 10 "Quand un homme adulte aime, non pas un autre adulte, mais un adolescent, c'est un cas particulier d'homosexualit, la pdrastie Le pdraste, en vrit, c'est Vrostel'amoureuxd'un 'pals', d'un enfant, d'un garon non encore adulte" (9-11) 11 Intercrural or "between the thighs" intercourse is commonly depicted on Greek pottery 12 It is often asserted that, once married, most men abandoned homosexual activity (if not physical attraction to young males) for a common heterosexual existence with, perhaps, an occasional fling with a boy The type of evidence needed to confirm or deny this contention is rare Whereas it is true that we have very little evidence of married men courting boys, Cantarella points to the example of Sophocles, who appears to have continued pursuing boys, as well as women, all his life (41), cf Buffire 605 Was Sophocles exceptional or normal7 We cannot be sure, though the context m Athenaeus seems to lean toward the former (603f-604c) On the other hand, evidence of a man quitting a pederastie relationship at the time of his marriage is equally rare, though Catullus comes close (61) He recounts the marriage of Manlius Torquatus, at which time Manhus's boy sex-slave (concubinus) is


Journal of the Amecan Academy of Religion

Erasts is the young man, the lover and active sexual partner; ermenos or pais or paidika is the boy, the beloved and passive sexual partner.13 The cultural and educational aspects of this relationship should not be overlooked, for these are central to the probable origins of the practice, and prominent in many of the sources, especially Plato's Symposium. The erasts is expected to train his beloved in the ways of Greek adult life, including social, political, and military expectations.14 Scroggs correctly contends that there must have been some flexibility within the functional parameters of pederasty, but, given the specific signification of paiderastxa, there was not nearly as much as he suggests. According to Cantarella, pais (boy), in the pederastie context, may range from twelve to eighteen years of age. To be older was not to be a pais\ to be younger was considered too young for engaging in a pederastie relationship. The decisive point of transition from boy to young man appears to have been the sprouting of body hair. As this process varies among individuals and takes considerable time, the transition m pederastie roles also appears to have been somewhat flexible.15 At age eighteen, the youth reaches legal adulthood: he is an ephbos (adult citizen) or meirakion or neos (young man) and becomes a part of the political and military establishment (cf. Golden: 311). Neaniskos (youth) appears to be a non-technical term referring to the transitional stage between late childhood and early adulthood, roughly akin to our term "adolescent," though it seems to extend somewhat longer. According to Cantarella, "in some sources one is a neaniskos in the last years oipaideia [while still a pais]... In other sources, however, the condition of neaniskos arises only after the age of majority has been reached . . . up to twenty-five or thirty years of age"(30). As we should expect, during this transitional period considerable sexual experimentation takes place. It would be a significant stretch of the term, however, to use "pederasty" to describe a sexual relationship between two neaniskoi. The basic idea of an adult teaching a boy about the ways of the world would not fit with such a situation. It is simpler and less of a linguistic stretch to recognize that young men in Greek culture, as in many

distraught over the loss of his lover Catullus bids both of them pay homage to Talassius, the god of matrimony This relationship is not technically pederastie, but it might offer a hint of at least the potential impact of marriage on other types of homosexual relationships 13 Erastes and ermenos were also occasionally used for lover and beloved in non-pederastic contexts For further discussion, see Dover 15-17 Most scholars argue that active and passive sexual roles were seldom if ever interchangeable, though the nature of the evidence is such that we should be hesitant to draw undulyfirmconclusions Boswell (1994 56-57) calls this assumption a cultural myth In the extant literature, we usually get only one glimpse of a particular homosexual relationship We should hardly expect to be told, in such instances, whether the lovers involved ever changed roles On the other hand, I know of only one specific piece of evidence that strongly implies such a change of roles (Dio Cassius 59 11 1, see discussion below) 14 Cantarella 3ff, cf Marrou 26ff On the possible origins of pederasty, see Bremmer 279-298 15 Dover notes that there are a couple of references to a pais who is already hairy (85), cf Golden 321-324

Smith: Ancient Bisexuality


others, have found many and various ways of experimenting with their budding sexuality. Because Scroggs depends heavily on the first edition of Dover's work for his discussion of pederasty, he follows Dover in asserting that pederastie relationships were commonly based on inequality, impermanency, and fraught with the potential for humiliation, especially for the youth (Scroggs 1983: 36-37; cf. Furnish: 66-67). For Scroggs, the older, active partner is always the one attracted, the one who pursues and woos, and the one who derives most, if not all, of the pleasure from their sexual activity together. All the boy receives are a few gifts, a fleeting pride in his own beauty, and some educational benefits. Scroggs is partially correct, as is evident in two sources he cites (and one he does not), which describe the boy's sense of frustration and humiliation in a pederastie relationship.16 This picture, however, is one-sided. The source of the distortion lies in Scroggs's dependence on Dover's first edition. In the 1989 edition of his book Dover added a postscript that pulled the intellectual carpet out from under this portion of Scroggs's argument, by retracting his earlier opinion that the ueromenos does not derive pleasure from copulation"(204). The three texts that claim that the ermenos is dissatisfied with his sexual role are surely valid expressions of individual feelings, but such feelings are by no means universal. Rather, there is also evidence that at least several youths derived sensual pleasure from the pederastie relationship.17 Plato appears to concur with this judgment when he casts Alcibiades in his Symposium. The text of Alcibiades's speech revolves around his attempts, when he was a boy (renowned as the most beautiful and desirable in Athens), to seduce Socrates, many years his senior. Alcibiades was greatly disappointed when Socrates agreed to teach him, guide him, and even sleep next to him, but refused to respond to the boy's sexual advances. Alcibiades, the would-be ermenos, desired the pleasure of a pederastie sexual relationship and was not contented with a truly "platonic" relationship with Socrates (215a-222b). In addition to these four passages from literature, B250, a Black Figure vase dating to the sixth century BCE depicts lover and beloved engaging in intercrural intercourse; the boy has an erection.18 We should not, of course, ignore the fact that pederasty, by its very nature, is a relationship of unequal power. The man has a certain advantage over the boy, both in terms of size and status. Issues of consent and mutuality are, therefore, inherently problematic in such situations.
16 Plutarch, Erotikos 768; Plato, Phaedrus 240d; Xenophon, Symposium 8.21; cf. Scroggs: 37-38; cf. Dover: 52-53. 17 Aristophanes, Acharnians 591f.; Knights 963f.; Straton, Palatine Anthology xii. 7; Dover: 204; cf. Hupperts: 265. 18 Dover: 96f., 204. See the list of vases in Dover: 207-227.


Journal of the American Academy of Religion

Scroggs's language, at points, leaves room for this additional evidence by concluding that pederasty has the "potential" to be dehumanizing (43). When he claims, however, that this harmful potential was "frequently actualized]," and that the "majority of such relationships were characterized by lack of mutuality, both physically and spiritually" (43, 116,126), he has imposed an interpretive burden that the evidence cannot bear. Of the many extant testimonia of pederastie relationships, we have only three instances where such dissatisfaction is expressed. As Dover came to recognize, the evidence for exploitation of the ermenos by his elder lover is mixedsome relationships were surely dehumanizing, others were not; some may even have been both humiliating and pleasurable at different times. The important issue here is the use Scroggs makes of this concept of the dehumanizing potential of pederasty. If the majority of pederastie relationships were exploitative, Paul could condemn them for that reason and not because of their sexual preferences or practices. But if, as the evidence seems to show, at least some (and perhaps many, though we do not have enough evidence to determine relative frequency) pederastie relationships may have been mutually satisfying and pleasurable, Paul would not have that reason to condemn pederasty as an institution or its practitioners as a whole, as Scroggs suggests. It is much more probable that Paul was following the lead of his Jewish forebears, condemning homosexual activity, not because of its potential for dehumanizing relationships, but because males engaged m sexual activity with other males.19 But is it altogether clear that Paul was only condemning pederastie practices? That depends on what Paul may have known of non-pederastic homosexual activity, which can only be determined by an analysis of the evidence.

NON-PEDERASTIC HOMOSEXUAL PRACTICES IN THE GRECO-ROMAN WORLD The primary burden of Scroggs's argument is to demonstrate that Paul only knew of the pederastie "model" of homosexuality, which is, therefore, the only thing he condemned.20 There is no question that pederasty appears commonly in art and literature, and Scroggs has done a commendable job of documenting that fact. He also appears to have rec-

19 As Scroggs implies without explonng the implications (116, 89), cf Hugghins 129, cf Schmidt 39-63 20 Note the progression in Scroggs's language "The likelihood is that Paul is thinking only about pederasty"(l 16) "There was no other form of male homosexuality m the Greco-Roman world which could come to mmd"(116) "Paul thinks of pederasty, and perhaps the more degraded forms of it, when he is attacking homosexuality"(117) "Paul [m Rom 1] has to be thinking about pederasty"(128) Only the first statement is defensible based on Scroggs's argument The latter statements stretch well beyond even Scroggs's own evaluation of the evidence, making his case seem much more certain than it is

Smith: Ancient Bisexuality


ognized that exceptions to this "model" form the Achilles's heel of his argument, so he added Appendix A, "On the question of nonpederastic male homosexuality"(130--139). Here he discusses three general slogans, depictions on vase paintings (nine examples, all relegated to a single footnote), and fourteen examples of what are allegedly exceptions to pederastie practices in ancient literature. Unfortunately, Scroggs spends much of this appendix conquering a meager battalion of straw men. The general slogans beg the question, and many of the literary references refer to men involved in slavery and homosexual prostitution, none of which is relevant to the issue at hand. Scroggs rightly dismisses them, but he has proved nothing by doing so. The only significant portions of this appendix are: "Homosexuality between youths of approximately the same age" and "Adult Eromenoi." These sections offer genuine exceptions to pederastie practices that are worthy of further analysis. Even here Scroggs offers only a few of the many examples in literature, thus giving the misleading impression that such exceptions were rare. The primary weakness of Scroggs's analysis of this issue lies in the chronology of the evidence. He does not reckon adequately with the fact that pederasty was most common among the social elite in some Greek city-states during the archaic and classical periods400 years and more before Paul. From the time of the Peloponnesian war (431-404 BCE), evidence for pederastie practices declines considerably, though other homosexual practices continue unabated (Robinson and Flunk: 35-37; cf. Cantarella, 1992:64). Cantarella demonstrates that in the Roman Republic, pederasty was considered the "Greek vice," which true Romans reviled, but that did not prevent them from engaging in other forms of homosexual activity21 By the early second century BCE Rome had passed the Lex Sca[n]tinia and the edict De adtemptata pudicitxa which made pederastie behavior, and even the attempt to seduce a freeborn boy, liable to criminal prosecution.22 By the time of the Principate, pederasty becomes extremely rare in the sources, while at the same time there appears to be a significant increase in homosexual activity among consenting adults (Cantarella, 1992:155). Boswell correctly notes that, "the stereotyped roles of lover' and 'beloved' no longer seem to be the only model for homosexual lovers."(1980: 81). If pederasty ever served as a sexual "model," it could
21 Especially the use of boy slaves and male prostitutes (97-98) I do not, however, think Cantarella's stereotypical use of male machismo adequately explains Roman sexual practices in the Republic Cf Kroll 145-78, cf Veyne 22 Cantarella 118-119 For dissenting opinion, see Lilja 112ff,131 Despite these legal stnetures, some Romans continued to succumb to the "Greek vice" dunng the last two centunes BCE, though evidence for pederastie relationships in Roman literature is not common in any period Whether it ever became socially acceptable, as Cantarella contends, is debatable, since only a handful of elite, philhellenic poets in the late Republic and Augustan age manifest such an attitude Catullus, Vergil, Horace, and Tibullus, all express attraction to both boys and women in varying degrees (Lilja 51-81, cf Cantarella 120-150) MacMullen (484-502) argues that only among the Roman social elite is there any evidence of a tolerant attitude toward pederasty


Journal of the American Academy of Religion

only have been during the classical age of Greece. Very little remains of the assumptions and practices that helped form that "model" in the century in which Paul lived. Behaviors that may have been considered exceptions to the pederastie rule in classical Greece, are not exceptions at all as we approach the common era. It is important at this point to analyze the evidence, from both Greek and Roman sources, for male homosexual practices that fall outside the realm of pederasty. Taking our lead from Scroggs, let us begin with evidence from the vase paintings collected by Dover. R27 and R59 depict two boys, one somewhat taller than the other, in an erotic embrace.23 R196 and R637 show boys courting one another. In R200, one boy caresses another reclining next to him, as is common in heterosexual scenes. A squatting boy in R223 pulls another boy down on his erect penis. In R243, three boys attempt trilateral sexual exploits. R954 portrays one boy mounting another (as is common in heterosexual scenes). B696, C74, ON 16, and R1167 may depict similar themes, but they are unclear.24 Scroggs knows of no comparable depictions of two adults engaging in homosexual activity. Hupperts, however, has discovered in his study of Attic Black-Figure vases, at least twelve homosexual scenes involving two or more bearded men.25 From such evidence he concludes, "I think I have shown enough vases to justify my conclusion that paederasty wasn't the only form of homosexual practice in Attica of the sixth century. According to the vases boys, youths or men of equal age could have been involved in a love affair" (263-264). This artistic evidence is cause enough for us to suspect that homosexual activity involving two boys or two men was more than just an exceptional phenomenon. The literary evidence for non-pederastic homosexual practices is both more common and more significant than Scroggs implies. Perhaps the best example comes from Plato's Symposium. Although Scroggs cites this passage, he does not do justice to the implications of Plato's description of the relationship between Agathon and Pausanias. Pausanias became "lover" of beautiful Agathon when the latter was about eighteen (Plato, Protagoras 315d-e). He remains so in the Symposium, which is set in 416, over twelve years later, i.e., Agathon in this text is about thirty-one, the owner of the house which provides the setting for the dialogue, and a victorious tragic poet. When Agathon moved to Macedonia (c. 411-405),

23 Boys are differentiated from men in the iconography of this period by the boys appearing without beards, cf Hupperts, cf Golden 318ff Scroggs cites only Dover R27, 59,196, 223, 243, 547, 637, 851, and 954 (133) I do not consider R547 and 851 to be relevant, for they do not depict any explicitly homosexual activity 24 Dover refers to the subjects on these vases as "youths " He is probably correct, if he means by that term to identify these as older paides or neaniskoi Hupperts 261-262 E g , Beazley, #246,84, 242,34, 243,44, 240,22, 240,21, 240,17, 239,10, 247,95, 102,98, 102,100, Mommsen #67, 110, Dover B634, New York Metropolitan Museum #56 171 24

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Pausanias seems to have followed him there (Dover: 84). Plato uses this relationship both as a source of good-natured humor and to make an important philosophical point in his Symposium. The focus of Pausanias's speech is that his relationship with Agathon is superior to common pederasty (and to heterosexual relationships), precisely because it has endured and is based on their loving regard for one another's souls (180c185c). Even though Agathon is once referred to as neaniskos (198a), a probable reference to his youthful beauty, his relationship with Pausanias is between consenting adults whose age differential is by now irrelevant, who have chosen to continue mutually loving each other, in spite of the possibility of cultural censure.26 The only possible residue of pederasty that remains between these two is Agathon's practice of shaving and, as many presume, his passive role in intercourse (though we have no specific evidence of this). In a later tradition Plutarch describes the love of the tragic poet Euripides for Agathon, who was then well advanced in years.27 To term either of these a pederastie relationship is a serious stretch of the evidence and the language. In addition, Plato recognizes that there are other exceptions to pederastie relationships. In the Euthydemus, Ctesippus and Cleinias, both young men, are lovers.28 Similarly, in the Charmides, Charmides, a young man himself, is said to be the ermenos of other youths.29 Xenophon, Plato's fellow follower of Socrates, includes three exceptions to the pederastie "model." In the Memorabilia, he refers to men "using men [not youths or boys] as women."30 Menon, a youth in the Anabasis, is depicted as having a barbarian ermenos, Ariaeus, who is a bearded man older than himself.31 The age and role reversal clearly move this relationship out of the realm of pederasty. Such a relationship could only be initiated by mutual consent. In his Symposium Xenophon portrays Critobulus and Cleinias, two young men well endowed with body hair, as lovers.32 It is important to note that, all of these examples date from the heyday of pederasty: classical Athens. In subsequent centuries, as references to pederasty decline, the proportion of exceptions (if they may be termed exceptions at all) in the sources increases.
26 Aristophanes heaps abuse on Agathon as his stereotypical effeminate character in his Thesmophorlazusae 27 Plutarch, Erotikos 770c, cf Cantarella 39 If there is any historical basis for this anecdote, Agathon's relationship with Eunpides probably would not have taken place except after c 411, when he was still with Pausanias, and before Eunpides's death in 406 28 273a-274d Ctesippus, the erastes, is described as neaniskos and neos Cleinias is a meirahon 29 154a-d His lovers are termed paides and neaniskoi Charmides is described as meirakwn and neaniskos 30 2 1 30 All translations are my own unless otherwise indicated 31 2 6 28 Scroggs cites this example, but dismisses it by notmg, "The two were probably not significantly different m age, since the greater the age differential was, the harder it is to understand Menon taking the active role"(134) This relationship is only hard to understand if we insist on imposing common pederastie assumptions 32 4 23, 8 2 Critobulus, still an ermenos himself, has begun to feel "desire for others [ e , boys or youths] "


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Aristotle describes the relationship between Philolaus and Dioclese who set up a single household together and remained together throughout their lives; they even made arrangements to be buried side-by-side (Politics 2.96-7 [1247a]; cf. Boswell 1994: 60). Plutarch describes the famous Sacred Band of fourth century BCE Thebes, which became the military powerhouse of Greece. One qualification for membership in this elite military corps was to become the homosexual lover of another band member, on the assumption that lovers would fight morefiercelyfor each other.33 There is no evidence that there were any pre-adolescent members of this group; we must assume that they were all of prime fighting age. Pederastie practices would be unlikely in such a context, because they all must fight side-by-side as equals. Plutarch portrays Pelopidas as married at the same time that he was captain of the Sacred Band and, thus, attached to a male lover (Pelopidas 18-20). Epaminondas, the great Theban military leader, was so attached to his lover, Caphisodorus, that the two fell together at the Battle of Mantinaea and were buried together like a married couple (Plutarch, Erotikos 761d; cf. Boswell 1994: 88). Achilles Tatius depicts two pairs of young men as lovers.34 Evidence for non-pederastic homosexual relationships increases as we widen our scope to explore Latin literature. Caligula, Roman Emperor from 37-43 CE, is said to have been attached to Lepidus as both lover and beloved.35 Caligula also used Lepidus's wife as a concubine (when he was not busy seducing the wives of senators). Seneca, the contemporary of Paul and one time tutor to the emperor Nero, describes a slave whose master keeps him shaved, though he has reached manhood. Interestingly, Seneca claims he must "divide his time between his master's drinking bouts and his lust . . . in the bedroom he must be a man, at the feast a boy"(Epistuae Morales 47.7; cf. Scroggs: 138). Presumably the master enjoys the passive role in intercourse, at least some of the time, and the clean-shaven slave takes the active role. Suetonius notes that the shortterm Emperor, Galba, loved mature, vigorous men (Galba 22; cf. Cantarella 1992: 160). Xenophon of Ephesus in his second-century CE novel, Ephesiaca, introduces Hippothoos, a truly versatile man who is consecutively in love with a male of his own age, an older woman, and a younger man.36

Erotikos 761a, cf Quaestionum Conviviahum 618d, Pelopidas 18 1-2 Leucippe and Qxtophon 1 7, 2 33-34 Scroggs mentions this second-century CE text, commenting that, based upon the terms used to desenbe them {neos and meirakion), there may have been some age differential between these youths, but it was not likely great (134) 35 Dio Cassius refers to both of them as trastes and ermenos (59 11 1), in this case calling into question the active/passive distinction commonly attnbuted to ancient homosexual lovers, Suetonius (Caligula 36) offers a Latin version of the story in more general terms Paul could not have been familiar with either source, but stones of Caligula's sexual exploits were probably widespread in his own time 36 SeeDalmeyda,cf Boswell, 1980 86


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There are a few cases where two males appear in our sources who are said to be married to other males.37 The best-known example comes from the prolific pen of Cicero. In his Philippics Cicero castigates Marcus Antonius by bringing up his past relationship with Curio, with whom he joined "in a stable and permanent marriage."38 Cicero implies that Antonius played the role of wife, though he was two years older than Curio. Cicero also notes that Catilina who fomented the notorious conspiracy in 63-62 BCE had a boyfriend-wife called Gabinius (Post reditum in Senatu 4; cf. Cantarella 1992:108). The Emperor Nero had his slave, Sporus, castrated and dressed m feminine clothes. The two were then married with full nuptial ceremonies. The prodigious Emperor later married another man, Doryphorus; in this case Nero took on the role of wife. There is no mention of Doryphorus being a slave.39 Scroggs rightly argues that poor Sporus had no choice in the matter, as he was a slave, but seen against the background of other homosexual marriages, it does not seem quite the aberration we might otherwise be inclined to think. Martial discusses two different homosexual marriages between two men.40 Juvenal describes, with a note of horror, a marriage ceremony in which a young man of the dlustnous Gracchus clan was given as wife to another man, complete with gown and veil. For Juvenal this is a supreme example of the decline of Rome from its glory days (Satires 2.117-42). The Emperor Elagabalus marned Zoticus, an athlete from Smyrna, and then required all his courtiers to marry men if they hoped for advancement.41 In the fourth century CE a law issued by Constantius II and Constans prohibits a man from marrying a man "as if he were a woman."42 Whether the same thing is meant by "marnage" in all these cases in unclear, as is also the legal status of such unions, but the existence of some form of homosexual marriages cannot be doubted, and none of them can be termed pederastie m any meaningful sense (Boswell 1994: 3-107). In sum, the extant sources for Greco-Roman homosexual practices demonstrate many exceptions to pederasty and a decline in the prominence of pederasty m the last three centuries immediately preceding Paul. Very few references to specifically pederastie activity occur in the literature and art of the last century before Paul's era. Considerations of space prevent us from exploring the evidence for homosexual use of male

Boswell (1994) explores the evidence for and implications of such practices, cf Dalla Philippics 2 18 44-5, " m matrimonio stabili et certo collocami " Cicero claims that Antonius did it for money 39 Suetomus, Nero 28-39, Dio Chrysostom 21 6-8, Tacitus, Annals 15 37, cf Scroggs 1983 137 As with Caligula, Paul would not have known these sources, but he could have been familiar with stones about Nero 40 Martial 1 24, 12 42 At least one of these included a public weddmg ceremony 41 Lampmdius 10-11 This third century CE text only demonstrates the continuity of a trend after Paul's time 42 Theodosian Code 9 7 3 Translation by Boswell 1994 85-86



Journal of the American Academy of Religion

slaves (which was commonplace) and the role of male homosexual prostitutes (both active and passive) for which there was apparently a viable market.43 Suffice it to say that they only offer a yet more varied picture of homosexual life in the ancient world, and none of these can be construed to conform to the "model" of pederasty. FEMALE HOMOSEXUALITY IN ANCIENT LITERATURE AND ART Beyond the male exceptions to pederasty, the evidence for female homosexual activity is of great significance for evaluating Scroggs's argument. Scroggs seems to have been aware that his treatment of female homosexuality in the main part of his text was insufficient. He therefore added an appendix on "Female Homosexuality in the Greco-Roman World."44 In this brief section he discusses ten literary references and two depictions of female homoeroticism on vases. He then concludes that, "perhaps . . . male society did not think female homosexuality important or interesting enough to worry about" (144). In another context he claims, "I had to conclude that our sources did not permit us to make any certain statements about female homosexuality"(126). On the contrary, several certain statements can be made about female homosexual practices. One is that considerably more is known about homosexual activity among ancient women than Scroggs seems to recognize. Secondly, a closer analysis of the evidence and its implications opens a significant breach in Scroggs's entire argument.45 Let us first examine the evidence that Scroggs includes and then proceed to evidence he does not. Scroggs begins his discussion with the lesbian par excellence in popular circles: the seventh-century BCE lyric poet from Lesbos, Sappho. She is the only female author to discuss her own romantic impulses, and, thus, the fragments of her passionate poetry are invaluable. Unfortunately they do not tell us about her personal sexual practices, so it is not entirely certain that she actually indulged in homosexual activity. But she does reveal plenty about her sensual desires, which are mostly directed toward other women, perhaps including her students.46 Many scholars have concluded that Sappho's passion was not confined to erotic lan-

Scroggs discusses these m some detail (e g , 1983 38-42, Appendix A) Scroggs 1983 Appendix B, 140-144 Tnbades is the usual Greek term for Lesbians "Lesbian" referred to those who dwelt on the island of Lesbos and, based upon the islanders' reputation, the term could function as a code word for sexual licentiousness of all sorts See Brooten 1985b 61-87 In deference to modern usage while maintaining consistency with my references to male homosexual activity, 1 will use "lesbian" to refer to females who engage in sexual activity with other females *5 As noted by Wright 1989b 295 46 On the life and work of Sappho, see Gentili, cf Brooten 1985b, cf Cantarella 1992 80, cf Dover 173-179


Smith: Ancient Bisexuality


guage but was representative of her sexual practice. There is also some evidence that Sappho was married, which may make her, technically, a practicing bisexual (Cantarella 1992: 78-79). Scroggs's second example of female homosexuality is Aristophanes's ribald and humorous speech in Plato's Symposium (189c-193d). The comic poet explains that love (eros) came into being because -humans were created originally like Siamese twins joined front-to-front. Some had two sets of male genitalia, some two sets of female genitalia, and some one set of each. Zeus then bisected these awkward creatures, thereby sentencing them to spend their lives searching to reunite with their original other half. "All the women who are sections of the [original double] woman have no great desire for men, but rather, are attracted to womenthis kind of women are called woman-lovers."47 One of the most difficult problems with interpreting Plato, and in particular this speech, is Plato's playful and subtle use of irony and humor. To derive philosophical or historical conclusions, without corroborating evidence, from a passage intended to generate laughter would make a mockery of any scholar. It is best to be cautious >vith this passage. What can be said with certainty is that Plato was familiar with some form of female homosexuality. This judgment is confirmed by the next passage cited by Scroggs, from Plato's Laws. Here, in language remarkably similar to that employed by Paul in Rom. 1, Plato condemns both female and male homosexual practices as contrary to nature (para physin):*8 "When the natural forms of female and male come together for procreation, the pleasure in this act appears to have been given them in accordance with nature, but the immoderate pleasure experienced by males in intercourse with males or * by females in intercourse with females seems to be contrary to nature, a most shameless act"(636c; cf. Dover: 186; cf. Scroggs: 131,141). Plato condemns both male and female homosexual activity, because both circumvent the "natural" function of sexuality: in this context, procreation. Whatever else may be said about this passage, it is clear that Plato was aware of female homosexual practices and greeted them with disapproval. Pseudo Phocylides is, much like Plato, aware of female homosexual activity and does not approve of it. "Transgress not for unlawful sex the natural limits of sexuality. For even animals are not pleased by intercourse of male with male. And let not women imitate the sexual role of men."49 On the subject of female homosexual practices Plutarch shares the same generally disapproving attitude as Plato and Pseudo Phocylides as

47 191e; hetairisinai,"woman-lovers" is an uncommon synonym for trbades. Scroggs (1983: 141) contends that these are women who use non-male means to reach sexual orgasm, such as the olisbos (ddo). 48 See Boswell 1980: 13-14 for a discussion of sexual "nature" in Plato; cf. De Young. ^Maxims lines 190-192. Translation by Van der Horst: 101, who dates the work to between c. 30 BCE and c. 40 CE; cf. Easton: 222-228; cf. Scroggs 1983: 96-97, 131-132.


Journal of the American Academy of Religion

he raises the issue in his Whether Beasts Are Rational: "Until now the desires of animals have not involved intercourse of male with male or of female with female. But such activities are common among your noble and good people"(990d; cf. Scroggs: 131-132, 141-142). Plutarch's Life of Lycurgus is less a biography of Lycurgus than a review of the political and cultural institutions of Sparta. Plutarch claims that pederasty was widely practiced there and that so also was female homosexuality. Scroggs correctly points out that this reference is unique in referring to homosexual relationships between Spartan women and girls, in a clear attempt to parallel the male institutions of pederasty (Lycurgus 18.4; cf. Scroggs: 142). Cantarella, however, notes that this is a description by a man of relationships he does not understand and does not like. That he should describe these relationships in male terms is not entirely surprising, but it is nonetheless distorting.50 It is highly improbable that there was a female parallel to pederasty, for there is no other evidence of such a practice. In any case, Plutarch was well aware of the existence of female homosexual activity in Sparta and beyond. Clement of Alexandria was a Christian scholar in the late second century CE and, thus, was himself probably influenced by Paul. Clement castigates women who "play the man against nature, both being married and marrying women"(Paidogogos 3.3.21; cf. Scroggs: 47, 142). Clement not only knows of the existence of female homosexual practices but of women who were public enough about it to be "married" (whatever that may have meant). The value of this text for understanding Paul is slight, except as it confirms the continuation of female homosexual activity in the Roman provinces. Pseudo Lucian, in an attempt to discredit male pederastie practices, suggests that the logical corollary of male homoerotic attitudes and practices should be the acceptance of female homosexual activity, including the use of the olisbos to enhance sexual pleasure. The satirical tone of this passage clearly implies that such acceptance of female homosexuality would be abhorrent (Erotes 28; cf. Scroggs: 47,142). Lucian of Samosata was a satirist of the second century CE, again nearly a century after Paul. In his Dialogues of the Courtesans Lucian introduces us to Megilla who claims to have been married to another woman and to be able to satisfy female desires as well as a man. She then seduces Laena, whom she loves "as a man"(5). One of the great Latin poets and mythographers of Rome in the Augustan age, Ovid wrote about one Iphis who was raised as if she were a boy because her parents had wanted a boy. She subsequently fell in love with a woman, Ianthe, and bemoaned her fate because of the unnaturalness of her passion (Metamorphoses 9.666-797).

50 Cantarella 1992: 84. Herodotus, Thucydides, and Xenophon, who were in a much better position to know and evaluate Spartan institutions, mention nothing of a female version of pederasty.

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In addition to these ten literary references, Scroggs notes two examples of vase paintings that depict or imply female homosexual activity. An Attic red-figure vase dating from the classical period depicts one woman caressing another's genitalia (R207; cf. Scroggs: 143 n. 13). On another, dating from the same period, is portrayed a double olisbos (R223; cf. Scroggs: 141). The normal olisbos does not necessarily imply homosexual activity, but the double sided article was clearly meant for two women to use together for mutual stimulation. When these pieces of evidence are placed before the reader, it is difficult to see how Scroggs can conclude that the evidence does not permit any certain statements about female homosexuality. Although we are left wishing we knew more, the evidence cited by Scroggs is surely sufficient to determine certain patterns and attitudes. Before drawing any conclusions, however, it is important to discuss a number of pieces of evidence, not included by Scroggs, that may help illuminate our understanding of female homosexual practices. Let us begin with one additional reference to evidence found on pottery. An Aegean vase from Thera, dating to c. 620 BCE, depicts two women of equal height in a typical courting position, one touching the chin of the other.51 Beyond vase paintings, there are at least seven other literary references to female homosexual activity that Scroggs does not mention. Alemn, the Spartan poet, celebrates the love between two girls, Agido and Hagesichora, which in Cantarella's opinion, is tantamount to recognizing this as an "official union."52 In his third century BCE Epigrams, Asclepiades censures the behavior of Bitto and Nannion, two women who defy the laws of Aphrodite, joining in sexual activities "that are not seemly"53 Seneca the Elder recounts the case of a lawyer who caught his wife in bed with another woman and killed both of them (Controversiae 1.2.23; cf. Brooten 1985b: 66). Phaedrus, who flourished around the same time as Seneca, explains the origins of tribades and effeminate boys: Prometheus got drunk while creating humans and in the process mistakenly placed male sexual organs on females and vice-versa. "Hence lust now enjoys perverted pleasure"(Liber Fabularum 4.16; cf. Brooten 1985b: 66; cf. Hallett: 209-227). Martial, who wrote during the same era, introduces us to two tribades. Philaenis is described as a "lesbian of lesbians" (tribadum tribas), an insatiable nymphomaniac who "sleeps with boys and . . . screws eleven girls
51 CE 34. The same courting position appears on vases portraying both heterosexual couples and males courting males; on occasion, the other hand is shown extending to caress the genitals of the courtee. The equality of height may imply that the women were of equal age and social status. 52 "Louvre Parthenion," Fr. 3; cf. Cantarella 1992: 81-82. ^Epigram 7; cf. Gow and Page: vol. 1, In. 838-841; cf. Brooten, 1985b: 65-66; cf. Dover: 172.


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a day." Similarly, when Martial addresses Bassa, a woman whose chastity he once admired, he recoils in disgust when he discovers that her "monstrous lust imitates a man."55 Iamblicus composed his novel Babyloniaca in the second century CE, of which only a fragment has been preserved in a tenth-century epitome by Photius. Yet even this fragment is revealing since Berenice, queen of Egypt, is described as having married her female lover, Mesopotamia (Biblioteca 94; cf. Brooten 1985b: 69). References to female homosexuality in the Greek and Latin literature of the second century CE and beyond could be multiplied, but we have already ranged beyond Paul's era, and later authors simply reiterate the motifs already noted.56 Rabbinic literature offers some additional examples of female homosexual activity. Scroggs cites the Sifra, a rabbinic commentary on Lev. 18:3, in another context (81) without noting its reference to female homosexuality. The text applies Moses's warning to the Israelites (not to imitate the vices of Egypt and Canaan) to the particular vice of homosexual marriage, both male and female (Ahare Moth, perai 9, par.8; cf. Brooten 1985b: 64). Similarly, the Jerusalem Talmud includes a typical debate between the schools of Hillel and Shammai over whether female homosexual intercourse invalidates virginity and thus disqualifies such women from marrying priests.57 What may we conclude from the evidence regarding female homosexual practices? Although examples do not appear in literature or art with the frequency of male homosexual activity, they are prevalent enough to be worthy of notice. The evidence shows that female homosexual practices were known, perhaps from Sappho's time until well after Paul's, in Greek and Latin literature, in eastern provinces and Italy, and even among Jewish rabbis. Since all the texts written by men sound at least some note of disapprobation, it is probable that the only universal social rule imposed by this patriarchal culture on female homosexual activity is "don't do it." Admittedly, the male lens through which we are forced to look distorts our

54 "Pedicat pueros tribas Phloems undenas dolat in die puellas," Epigrammata 7 67, 70, cf Brooten 1985b 67 "Philaenis," in Martial, may hearken back to another Philaenis, who was renowned as the fourth-century BCE author of a book of "obscene postures," referred to as the "tablets of Philaenis" by Lucan m his Mistaken Critic (24) Aeschnon (Epigram 1), however, denies that she wrote the book, attributing it instead to one Polycrates (see Gow and Page vol 1, In 1-9) Cf Ps Lucan, Erotes 28, cf Athenaeus 5 220 f, 10 457d, cf Polybius 12 13 1, cf Clement of Alexandria, Protrepticus 53p Note that Martial's identifying her as a tribas did not preclude her having intercourse with males the "lesbian of lesbians" appears to be a practicing bisexual Cf Hugghms 190-191 55 1 90 "Inter se geminos audes commitere cunnos mentiturque virum prodigiosa venus " The meaning of "Venus," m this context, is unclear Similar instances may occur in Seneca, Epistulae Morales 95 21 and Juvenal, Satires 2 47-49 and 6 306-48, but the language is too allusive to be certain 56 See additional examples collected in Brooten 1985b 69-70 57 Y Gittin 49c, 70-71 Shammai disqualifies them, but Hillel permits them to marry a priest Cf Scroggs 1983 80, cf Brooten 1985b 64-65 Note the bisexual assumption underlying this controversy

Smith: Ancient Bisexuality


understanding of the true inner dynamics of female homoeroticisman understanding that might be corrected if only we could discover a few more sources from the pen of a woman to offer a more balanced picture. But in the absence of any such discoveries we must conclude that female homosexual practices took many forms, from an almost violent nymphomania to bisexuality to homosexual marriage. It is probable that there was no female parallel to pederasty (with the possible, though doubtful, exception of Plutarch's Spartan women). From what we can tell from the available evidence, the most prevalent form of female homosexual practice involved mutually consenting women of roughly equal age. How does this information help us understand Paul's reference to homosexual activity in Rom. 1? The most important point is that Paul includes female homosexuality in his proscription (the only biblical reference to such activity) and links it to male homosexuality by the word "likewise" (homois). Scroggs overlooks two crucial implications of Paul's inclusion of female homosexuality in Rom. 1:26-27. First, this reference helps us determine just how much Paul probably knew of the homosexual practices of his own culture. If there are so few extant references in ancient literature and art that Scroggs can conclude that the issue and practice were uninteresting and largely irrelevant to most Greeks and Romans, it is intriguing that Paul considered it important enough to include in his general condemnation. It begins to appear that Paul was probably well-informed, even about less common sexual practices. Second, there is little indication in the sources that female homosexual practices were shaped by the customs of pederasty. Rather, most of the evidence we possess offers us glimpses of relationships between mutually consenting women. Even if Scroggs's argument that Paul only condemned pederasty among males could withstand critical scrutiny, the same qualification cannot be applied to female homosexual practices. What may we conclude from this survey of ancient homosexual practices? The picture that emerges is characterized by great diversity. If we could take the time to include evidence for heterosexual activity, it would become clear that, if there was any sexual "model" in ancient Greece and Rome, it can best be described as bisexual.58 This concept has been admirably captured in the title of the most important recent contribution to the subject, Cantarella's Bisexuality in the Ancient World. Our modern use of the English language has served to distort the issue. We tend to speak of heterosexuals or homosexuals, gay or straight. The Greeks and Romans had no such language at their disposal. From their point of view humans are simply sexual, and they have expressed that sexuality in many differ-

58 Scroggs apparently recognizes the importance of bisexuality in antiquity without exploring its implications as a model or the problems it poses for his conception of a pederastie model (1983 27, 145-149), cf. lilja: 9


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ent ways, with their own sex or the opposite or, perhaps more commonly, if pederastie practices tell us anything, with both at different times, maybe even at the same time (Halperin: 41ff.). Not that all practices were deemed equally acceptablethey had laws regulating sexual behavior,59 as well as lively disagreements over the relative merits of different types of sexual activity.60 My primary conclusion is that the bisexual "model" that characterized the Greco-Roman world admitted of a plethora of sexual practices and attitudes, as different as human desires and the potential for human creativity, from multi-party orgies to platonic love, from pure heterosexuality to true bisexuality to committed adult homosexual marriage.61 In fact, however, I am not sure that a sexual "model" is a useful construct; as far as the evidence is concerned, only sexual attitudes and behavior can be evaluated. As far as attitudes are concerned, women were expected to be chaste, for all the usual reasons in patriarchal societies. Men were quite free (at least according to the male authors who discuss such things) to use slaves or prostitutes, male or female, and to engage in homosexual affairs before, instead of, and, perhaps, in addition to marriage. Greeks, in the classical period, seem to have favored homosexual relationships with boys, whereas homosexual relationships between adults could serve as the butt of ribald humor such as in the plays of Aristophanes (e.g., Frogs 52; Clouds 961-1103; cf. Cantarella 1992: 4 4 46). Romans, though they made laws against pederasty, did practice it on occasion, and, although many frowned on male adults filling the passive role in a homosexual relationship, such strictures seem not to have eliminated such behavior, especially as the scope of homosexual activity expanded in the early Empire. When it comes to sexual behavior, there are only a limited number of options, and the evidence demonstrates that the Greeks and Romans were busily engaging in almost every form of expression known to us, with perhaps some variation in emphasis. Scroggs is correct that pederasty was a different cultural expression common among classical Greek males (though something similar is by no means foreign in our culture). He was wrong, however, despite his disclaimers to the contrary (116, 126, 139), to use Procrustes's bed to force almost all ancient homosexual practices into his "model" of pederasty. CONCLUSIONS What has all this haggling over ancient history to do with Paul's meaning in Rom. 1:26-27 and its implications for the modern denomina59 60

See Cantarella 1992: 27ff., 104ff.; cf. Dalla: passim; cf. Cohen. Scroggs includes a useful discussion of these debates (1983: 44-65). 61 Cantarella expresses dismay at the oversimplification of Scroggs's conclusions (1992: 232 n. 112).

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tional debates? Scroggs rightly suggests that three separate issues must be addressed: 1) We must ascertain the meaning biblical statements uhad for the writers in their own, concrete situation"; 2) "The biblical statements must be consonant with the larger, major theological and ethical judgments which lie at the heart not only of Scripture but of the historical church throughout the ages"; 3) "The context today must bear a reasonable similarity to the context of the statement at the time of writing"(123). What was the meaning of Rom. 1:26-27 for Paul's immediate audience? Scroggs's most crucial argument is that, even though Paul used general language to proscribe both male and female homosexual practices, "Paul thinks of pederasty, and perhaps the more degraded forms of it when he is attacking homosexuality"(l 17). A key proof text, that Scroggs uses no fewer than five times in support of his contentions, is the parallel of Philo, who used general language similar to Paul's to condemn pederasty specifically (95,108,115,116,130): "But the entertainment recorded by Plato [the Symposium] is almost entirely connected with love; not that of men madly desirous or fond of women, or of women furiously in love with men, for these desires are accomplished in accordance with a law of nature (nomois physes), but with that love which is felt by men for one another (andrn arresin), differing only in respect of age . . . And, having corrupted the age of boys (paidkn), and having metamorphosed them and removed them into the classification and character of women, it has injured their lovers (erastas) also .. ."62 A closer look at this text makes it clear why Scroggs's interpretation of Rom. 1 will not work. Philo does use general language like Paul, and even many of the same terms, but he does not stop there. Since Philo's intent is only to condemn pederasty, he goes on to describe pederasty in specific terms (e.g., paidkn, erastas, and his mention of age differential), so that there can be no mistaking his meaning.63 This is precisely what Paul does not do. Scroggs's interpretation of Paul depends upon Paul's ignorance of any exceptions to pederasty. Suppose I had become frustrated with studentathletes cutting classes, and decided to censure such behavior by writing a letter to the editor of the student paper. If I proceeded to write that, "we have a major problem on this campus with student-athletes," my words should be justly criticized for overgeneralization. My language would only be excusable if my entire knowledge of student-athletes consisted of those who cut classes. But if I knew of any student-athletes who did not cut classes, it would be sloppy, misleading, and irresponsible for me to use such general language when I only intended to censure a particular type of student-athlete. If Paul knew only of pederasty, his lack of clarifiPhilo, Vita Contemplativa 59-62. Translation from Yonge: 703. Philo surely knows that many other types of homosexual activity are practiced among his contemporaries. The fact that he has chosen to single out pederasty for particular censure may well be somewhat anachronistic, stemming from his immersion in the works of Plato.
63 62


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cation could at least be attributed to his lack of knowledge of his world. If, however, Paul knew of even one exception to pederasty, the excuse of ignorance is lost. If he knew of several exceptions to pederasty, his use of general language becomes dangerously misleading, for his sloppiness would unwittingly condemn all homosexual practices, including those he might consider acceptable, when he only intended to censure pederasty. Paul could easily have been as precise as Philo, but it appears that he chose not to be. We cannot, of course, be certain what Paul knew, but ancient historians can be little concerned with certainty; we can only discuss probability. We cannot be sure what, if any, of the evidence we have examined might have been known to Paul. Rather, the evidence offers a picture of the cultural milieu in which Paul lived. Considering the weight of the evidence for non-pederastic homosexual practices in his world, among both men and women, the declining prominence of pederasty, and considering that Paul was a widely traveled Roman citizen, who spent considerable time in Macedonia and Achaea, including Corinth (which was renowned for its sexual creativity), it is most improbable that he would have been ignorant of at least some exceptions to the proposed pederastie "model." In fact, it is highly probable that he knew that bisexuality was the standard "model" for sexual behavior among his contemporaries. Considering Paul's highly developed sense of his apostolic mission and the authority and responsibility that went with it, it is difficult to imagine him using such irresponsibly vague language in Rom. 1 if he intended only to censure one form of homosexual behavior. But the evidence that places the matter beyond any reasonable doubt is Paul's reference to female homosexuality. If he knew anything about female homosexual activity and proscribed such behavior, it is most unlikely that he could have been ignorant of exceptions to pederasty. If he knew about tribades who, as it appears from the evidence, often engaged in relationships of mutual consent without reference to active/passive distinctions or age differentiation or exploitation, it is extremely improbable that he was referring only to pederasty when he proscribed male homosexual practices. The parallels of language and the close linkage between Paul's references to male and female homosexual behavior do not permit such an interpretation which brings us back to our starting point: What did Paul mean? I believe that the only interpretation that does justice to the literary and historical context is that Paul probably did know of at least several different types of homosexual practices among both men and women. He used general language in Rom. 1, because he intended his proscription to apply in a general way to all homosexual behavior, as he understood it. In context, then, homosexual activity, in all its manifestations (as understood by Paul), is evidence of God's judgment on human sinfulness, deriving from the most primal of all sins, "worshipping and serving created things rather than the creator"(v. 25). But homosexuality is only

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one such evidence; it is intimately linked to the catalog of vices that follows, including covetousness, malice, strife, deceit, gossip, and haughtiness (w. 29-31). Paul's proscription must be taken in the context in which it is presented. For him, humanity is full of corruption, as is evident in the lives of all persons, and Paul (as well as other biblical authors) does not place any special emphasis on censuring homosexual activity; rather, the opposite is the case. Paul devotes many more pages to the unjust use of money than to homoerotic activity. Nevertheless, I do not think there is any avoiding the conclusion that Paul considers homosexual behavior to be sinful. Once we have ascertained the meaning of this particular text in context, it is important to understand its relationship to other relevant texts in the Bible and to the major theological themes of the Christian faith. The implications of this study are revealing for the interpretation and application of other biblical passages. If Paul, in Rom. 1, has censured homosexual activity in general terms, it appears that he has in fact reaffirmed the Levitical tradition based on Lev. 18:22 and 20:13; these texts should, therefore, no longer be consigned to the ethical backwater of an archaic Hebrew purity code, as has too often been the case (Brooten 1990: 83). In addition, if Paul has reaffirmed the Levitical tradition, this understanding sheds light on the problematic neologism, arsenokoitai ("those who lie/sleep with males"), which appears in 1 Cor. 6:9 and 1 Tim. 1:10, in both cases in the context of a catalog of vices.64 As for the theological implications of Rom. 1,1 would suggest that there is much more work to be done, both on the broader hermeneutical questions, and on how Rom. 1 fits into the larger picture of biblical sexuality and such important themes as marriage, love, and justice.65 There is also practical work to be done on how the grace and love of God and the compassion of the Christian community may be extended to those who consider themselves to be homosexuals.66 How this study of Rom. 1 should be applied to the modern situation brings us to Scroggs's third parameter: does the cultural context Paul

64 There can be little doubt that Scroggs is correct m interpreting this term, whose first appearance m Greek literature is probably I Cor 6 9, as an attempt to render the language of Lev 20 13, "If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination"(NRSV), into Greek (83, 106-107) Zakar miskeb in the MT becomes in the LXX arsenos koiten, which Paul or some Hellenistic Jew before him simply combmed mto a smgle word I do not, however, concur with Scroggs's contention that the New Testament references to this term are meant to apply only to those who engage the services of male prostitutes Cf Whght 1984 129 It may not be precisely correct to translate arsenokoitai as "homosexuals," largely because of the confusion inherent m the modem usage of the term, but the inclusion of "lying with males" m a list of vices rests on the same assumptions as Paul's condemnation of homosexual activity in Rom 1 (see Petersen 187-191) 65 For further discussion, see Deming, cf Schmidt, cf Furnish, cf PCUSA, cf Cosby 66 Useful contributions have been made m this area by Scanzom and Mollenkott, and ThorsonSmith Most such publications are quite biased For a more balanced approach, see Siker, cf Schmidt


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addressed bear a reasonable similarity to that of twentieth-century America? I think we must answer, "yes," with significant qualifications. The kaleidoscopic picture that emerges from the ancient evidence sounds strangely familiar. Indeed it should, since the results of one of the most important studies of modern American sexual behavior, by Alfred Kinsey and associates, concludes that modern male sexual practices cannot be bifurcated into heterosexual and homosexual. Such categories probably do not exist in any pure sense. Rather, American sexual behavior should be viewed as a continuum: on one extreme is the pure heterosexual, who has never had a homosexual thought. On the opposite extreme is the pure homosexual, who has never had a heterosexual desire. Between these extremes lies the bulk of modern American sexual behavior, with the majority of people limiting their sexual practices to the opposite sex, and a minority of people limiting their sexual activity exclusively to the same sex. We tend to forget the significant number of people who are either predominantly homosexual with occasional heterosexual encounters or vice versa. The pure bisexual, who has no preference one way or another, lies in the center of the continuum. We may argue about the percentages of each, the reasons for such behavior, or the problem of Kinsey's sample and techniques, but the basic conception is still a sound representation of modern sexual behavior.67 I have no doubt that Greeks or Romans would agree that Kinsey's continuum also represents their behavior, albeit with some differences in cultural expression. We have our Man-Boy Love associations, our bathhouses, our bisexuals, and our committed monogamous homosexual relationships,68 as well as our faithful and less-than-faithful heterosexual marriages. On the one hand, then, we must conclude that there are significant similarities in the cultural expression of sexual activity between Greco-Roman world and our own. On the other hand, we must be careful not to minimize the remaining cultural differences. The Greeks 69 idealized youthful male beauty; we do not. Many Greeks and at least some upper-class Romans were widely tolerant of male homosexual activity, within certain limits;70 our culture tends to treat homosexuality as one of the more heinous of evils, perhaps as a result of our medieval European

67 Kmsey et al eh 12 The basic outlines of this continuum have been confirmed and applied to females by more modern research In the most thorough and systematic study to date, Laumann et al claim that, among Americans, 9% of men and 4% of women have engaged in any type of homosexual activity since puberty, 1 3% of women and 2 7% of men have been homosexually active in the past year, 0 6% of men and 0 2% of women have been exclusively homosexual since puberty While most people limit their sexual activity to contact with the opposite sex, there is a significant number of people who engage in bisexual activity, even if they do not identify themselves as "bisexual" (283-311) 68 The prevalence of such committed, monogamous relationships has been exaggerated in popular circles For further discussion, see Schmidt 100-108, cf Laumann et al 69 For fuller discussion, see Brandt 416ff ,cf Buffire 123ff 70 For a discussion of legal limitations, see Cantarella 1992 27ff, 97ff, cf Cohen, cf MacMullen

Smith: Ancient Bisexuality



heritage. Women in Greek, and to a lesser extent in Roman, culture were held in extreme subjugation to their male superiors (see Pomeroy; cf. Cantarella 1987), a far cry from our cultural assumptions and practices. Our conceptions of romance, dating, and the meaning of marriage are to a large extent foreign to ancient cultures (Boswell 1994: 3ff.) Pederasty, in our culture, would be translated as sex with a minor and prosecuted as Lewd and Lascivious Conduct or Statutory Rape. If bisexuality was considered "normar in Greco-Roman culture, it is not in ours, which emphasizes heterosexuality as the only "normal" sexual option. The distribution of sexual activity along Kinsey's continuum may have looked somewhat different for ancient people than it does for modern Americans. Perhaps homosexual activity was more widespread among Greeks and Romans, as a result of the relative acceptability of such behavior in their cultures (though the evidence is by no means sufficient to make any judgments about relative frequency). These are legitimate distinctions between two cultures, and I have no doubt others could be added. For our present purposes, however, do these cultural differences render Paul's derogation of homosexual practices irrelevant to the modern situation? I do not think so. In Rom. 1 Paul is not interested in censuring sexual "models." Rather, he is concerned to offer evidence of attitudes and behavior that represent the distorting effects of godlessness. The attitudes and behaviors censured by the general language of Rom. 1:26-27 are common to all cultures regardless of their relative acceptance within any particular culture. It is important, however, to be very circumspect in making such a judgment for, as far as we know, Paul never faced what many churches are facing today: people who claim to be committed, selfaffirming homosexuals and also committed Christians. How would Paul respond to such people? Perhaps he would react as he did to the work of the Spirit among gentiles and retreat from his Jewish assumptions. Then again, perhaps he would respond as he did to the Corinthian Christians, for all we know committed church members, who were engaging the services of prostitutes, to whom Paul responds: "Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Should I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!" (1 Cor. 6:15 NRSV). The modern situation is paralleled in both scenarios, but not perfectly in either. For Paul, all are sinners in God's sight, and all sinners may receive forgiveness through God's grace. But Paul is also not afraid to rebuke what he considers sinful behavior and call people to repentance. Based on my understanding of his view of sexuality, especially his discussion of marriage and celibacy (1 Cor. 6:12-7:40), I suspect that Paul would not condone modern homosexual activity any more than he did its

This understanding is, 1 think, one of the most valuable contributions of Boswell's study, 1980: 333ff.



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ancient counterpart, but he would never set it apart as an issue of great moment. For Paul, homosexuality was a minor issue (as far as human sinfulness can ever be a minor issue). That our culture has separated out homosexuality as it has, and that there are not similar debates within ecclesiastical bodies about the ordination of those who are unrepentant in their covetousness, is evidence of the perversity of our culture. For too long, Rom. 1 and other biblical texts have been used to persecute and discriminate against people who engage in homosexual activity. Such an application is unacceptable. I suspect that ecclesiastical bodies would be more faithful to the spirit, and the letter, of the Bible if they were to spend considerably more effort dealing with materialistic values among American clergy rather than turning a telephoto lens on homosexual activity. If the current discussion of the moral qualifications for ordination is to be meaningful, biblical and ethical principles need to be applied consistently. Beyond these issues, I believe the present study raises two questions that are crucial to the larger survival and meaning of Christian churches in our culture. What is to be done with Paul? And how should churches respond to modern American culture? The first question raises the problem of what exactly does biblical authority mean for the denominations that profess belief in it? Scroggs rightly points out that it is unacceptable simply to throw Bible verses around without doing the often strenuous work of exegesisa point well taken. But once scholars or ministers have done their best to understand a text and its cultural implications, what should they do with it? In particular, now that we have determined that Paul probably proscribed at least all forms of homosexual behavior with which he was familiar, many of which are widely practiced today, how should church leaders respond? The time has come to move beyond the simple and often patronizing comments about how New Testament references to homosexuality have been misinterpreted for centuries and are irrelevant to the modern situation. It is no longer possible, as has too often been the practice, to hold up copies of Boswell's or Scroggs's books as if they have put the question to rest. Rather, it appears that although many texts have been misinterpreted and misapplied, Rom. 1 is relevant to the modern discussion. It is no longer possible to remove Paul from the discussion by arguing that he has nothing to contribute. If that is so, it is necessary to face one of the most controversial ecclesiastical questions of the last century: once carefully interpreted, was Paul correct, on an ethical level? Does Paul's perspective represent the word of God to churches? What is meant by such a statement? Or is Paul's understanding of right and wrong behavior (once carefully interpreted and applied) merely one among many voices seeking to interpret the will of God throughout the ages? Or is he simply out-of-date or homophobic or blinded by patriarchal assumptions? What is the meaning of Paul's authority for churches today?

Smith: Ancient Bisexuality


Brooten proposes one solution: "The churches and theology have the task of thinking through the implications of the fact that Romans 1:26 cannot be extricated from its immediate context or from pauline thinking about women and men. In Paul's eyes a woman who physically expressed love for another woman was repeating the pattern of idolatry, that is, of estrangement from God . . . If one declares Rom. 1:26 (and 27) not to be normative for theology, one cannot adopt the rest of Pauline theology and theological anthropology"(1985b: 81). Comstock is a little more clear, if somewhat less gentle: "Not to recognize, critique, and condemn Paul's equation of godlessness with homosexuality is dangerous...Passages [like Rom. 1] will be brought up and used against us again and again until Christians demand their removal from the biblical canon or, at the very least, formally discredit their authority to prescribe behavior" (43).72 Soards agrees with Brooten and Comstock on the basic issues at stake, but draws very different conclusions: "If I believe that Paul is correct in Romans 1 about God . . . and I do; and if I believe that Paul is right in Romans 1 about the human situationthat we are all powerlessly in bondage to the distorting power of sinand I do; then, I am unable to find a persuasive argument that undermines Paul's diagnosis of homosexual activity. In fact, I believe that by refusing to say a biblical word about homosexual activity in the world today the church has taken the easy path, not the high road . . . "(64). Scroggs, in his most recent foray into print suggests that the concept of biblical authority be abandoned altogether and replaced with the idea of the Bible as "foundational document"(1995). What other perspectives might be worthy of consideration? If biblical authority means anything in modern churches, now is a prime opportunity to bring clarity to the issue. The second issue that desperately needs to be addressed is the relationship between Christians and the culture they live in. Throughout the ages, one of the strengths of Christianity has been its ability to adapt to cultures without becoming merely the by-product of any particular culture. This strength, however, has also been the source of much controversy Broadly speaking, many Christian churches have adopted an antagonistic stance toward modern American culture, which they view as bent on destroying all that Christians hold dear. Many other ecclesiastical bodies have made it their practice to baptize any movement that becomes popular in our culture. Our culture has spawned a new movement calling for "Gay Rights." How should an ecclesiastical body respond? Based on what principles? In what ways might the Bible inform ecclesiastical responses? My hope is that there will be a few more scholars out there


Williams (53) calls Rom. 1 a "text of terror."


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like Robin Scroggs, who are willing to ask the tough questions and do the difficuljt work of digging for answers, willing to take risks for the sake of asking, seeking, and knocking at the door of Truth.

Bailey, D.S. 1955 Beazley, J.D. 1956 Boswell, John 1980 1994 Brandt, P. (Hans Licht) 1932 Bremmer, J. 1980 Brooten, Bernadette 1985a 1985b Homosexuality in the Western Christian Tradition. New York: Longmans. Attic Black-Figure Vase-Painters. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe. New York: Villard. Sexual Life in Ancient Greece. Trans, by M. Freese. London: Routledge. "An Enigmatic Indo-European Rite: Paederasty." Arethusa 13: 279-298. "Patristic Interpretations of Romans 1:26." Studia Patsca 18/1: 287-291. "Paul's Views on the Nature of Women and Female Homoeroticism." In Immaculate and Powerful: The Female in Sacred Image and Social Reality, 61-87. Ed.by C.W Atkinson, C.H. Buchanan, and M.R. Miles. Boston: Beacon. "Paul and the Law: How complete was the Departure?" Princeton Seminary Bulletin, Supp. 1: 71-89. Eros adolescent. La pdrastie dans la Grce antique. Paris: Belles Lettres. Pandora's Daughters: The Role and Status of Women in Greek and Roman Antiquity. Trans, by M.B. Fant. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Bisexuality in the Ancient World. Trans, by C. Culleanin. New Haven: Yale University Press.

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Smith: Ancient Bisexuality Cohen, David 1987 Comstock, G.D. 1993 Cosby, M.R. 1984 Dalla, Danilo 1987 Dalmeyda, G. 1962 De Young, J.B. 1988 Deming, W 1990 Dover, Kenneth 1989 Easton, B.S. 1932 Edwards, G.R. 1984 ELCA 1994 1993 Flacire, R. 1962 Fulkerson, M. 1995 Furnish, Victor 1985 "Law, Society and Homosexuality in Classical Athens." Past and Present 117:3-21.


Gay Theology without Apology. Cleveland: Pilgrim Press. Sex in the Bible. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. "Ubi venus mutator" Omosessualit e diritto nel mondo Romano. Milano: A. Giuffre. Xnophon D'phse: Les phsiaques. Paris: Socit d'dition "Les Belles Lettres." The Meaning of 'Nature' in Romans 1 and its Implications for Biblical Proscriptions of Homosexual Behavior." JETS 31/4: 429-441. "Mark 9.42-10.12, Matthew 5.27-32, and B. Nid. 13b: A First Century Discussion of Male Sexuality." NTS 36: 130-141. Greek Homosexuality. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Tseudo Phocylides." Anglican Theological Review 14:222-228. Gay/Lesbian Liberation: A Biblical Perspective. New York: Pilgrim Press. Human Sexuality: Working Draft. A Possible Social Statement of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Amenca with Accompanying Documents. Minneapolis. The Church and Human Sexuality: A Lutheran Perspective. Chicago. Love in Ancient Greece. Trans, by J. Cleugh. New York: Crown. "Church Documents on Human Sexuality and the Authority of Scripture." Interpretation 49/1 January: 46-58. The Moral Teaching of Paul. Nashville: Abingdon.


Journal of the American Academy of Religion Gentili, . 1984 Golden, Mark 1984 Ta veneranda Saffo." In Poesia e pubblico nella Grecia antica. Roma: Laterza. "Slavery and Homosexuality at Athens." Phoenix 38/4: 308-324.

Goss, R. Jesus Acted Up. San Francisco: Harper. 1993 Gow, A.S.F., and The Greek Anthology: Hellenistic Epigrams. CamD. Page, eds. bridge: Cambridge University Press. 1965 Hallett, J. 1989 "Female Homoeroticism and the Denial of Roman Reality in Latin Literature." Yale Journal of Ccism 3/1: 209-227. J 00 Years of Homosexuality and Other Essays on Greek Love. New York: Routledge. "Relations Natural and Unnatural: A Response to John Boswell's Exegesis of Romans 1. " Journal of Religious Ethics 14: 184-215. "An Investigation of the Jewish Theology of Sexuality Influencing the References to Homosexuality in Romans 1:18-32." Ph.D. dissertation, Southwestern Baptist Seminary. "Greek Love: Homosexuality or Paederasty? Greek Love in Black Figure Vase-Painting." Proceedings of the Third Symposium on Ancient Greek and Related Pottery: 255-268. "Queer Brains." Off Our Backs 21/10: 10.

Halperin, David 1990 Hays, Richard B. 1986

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Sexual Behavior in the Human Male. Philadelphia: WB. Saunders Co. "Rmische Erotik." Zeitschrift fur Sexualwissenschaft und Sexualpolitik 17/3: 145-178. The Social Organization of Sexuality. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

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MacMullen, Ramsay "Roman Attitudes to Greek Love." Historia: Zeitschrift 1982 far alte Geschichte 31/4: 484^502. Marrou, H.I. 1956 Mc Neill, John 1993 Mommsen, H. 1975 PCUSA 1991 Petersen, WL. 1986 Pomeroy, Sarah 1975 Robinson, D.M., and E.J. Flunk 1937 Scanzoni, L., and V Mollenkott 1994 Schmidt, Thomas 1995 Scroggs, Robin 1983 1995 A History of Education in Antiquity. Trans, by G. Lamb. New York: Sheed and Ward. The Church and the Homosexual. Boston: Beacon. Der Affecter. Mainz: Verlag Philipp Von Zabern. Presbytenons and Human Sexuality 1991. Louisville.

"Can ARSENOKOITAI be Translated by 'Homosexuals'." Vi&liae Chsanae 40: 187-191. Goddesses, Whores, Wives and Slaves. New York: Shocken. A Study of the Greek Love Names. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press. Is the Homosexual My Neighbor? San Francisco: Harper.

Straight and Narrow? Compassion and CXarity in the Homosexuality Dbate. Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press. The New Testament and Homosexuality. Philadelphia: Fortress. "The Bible as Foundational Document," Interpretation 49/1: 17-30. Homosexuality in the Church: Both Sides of the Debate. Louisville: Westminster. "The Biblical Understanding of Homosexuality." ReNews: 6-1-6-4.

Siker, J., ed. 1994 Soards, Marion 1993


Journal of the American Academy of Religion Thorson-Smith, S. 1993 Reconciling the Broken Silence. Louisville. The Sentences of Pseudo-Phocylides, Studia in Veteris Testamenti Pseudepigrapha, 4. Leiden: E J. Brill. "Homosexuality in Ancient Rome." Western Sexuality. Ed. by Aris and A. Bjin. Oxford: B. Blackwell.

Van der Horst, PW. 1978 Veyne, Paul 1985

Williams, R. Just As 1 Am: A Practical Guide to Being Out, Proud, 1992 and Chnstian. New York: Crown. Wright, David E 1984 1989a 1989b Yonge, CD., trans. 1993 "Homosexuals or Prostitutes? The Meaning of ARSENOKOITAI (I Cor. 6:9,1 Tim. 1:10)." Vigfliae Chnstianae 38: 125-153. "Early Christian Attitudes to Homosexuality." Studia Patnstica 18/2: 329-334. "Homosexuality: The Relevance of the Bible." Evangelical Quarterly 61/4: 295. The Works of Philo, New Updated Version. Peabody MA: Hendrickson.

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