Sunday, January 2, 2011

Thoughts on Romans 1:26-27

The architecture of Rom 1:21-32 is revealed in a three-fold iteration of the expression “παρέδωκεν αὐτοὺς ὁ θεὸς” in verses 24, 26 and 28. It is variously rendered as God giving certain people “up” or “over” to various dispositions.

Though Romans 1: 26-27 is consistently misconstrued to censure homosexuality, the real condemnation is of married couples who’ve embraced “πάθη ἀτιμίας” literally, “worthless passions.” The term, translated in the KJV as “vile affections” can also be translated “dishonorable affections.”

These illicit affections supplanted the authentic intimacy of “natural sexual relations,” “φυσικὴν χρῆσιν,” expressed between loving spouses. The women (v26) exchanged normal marital intercourse for autoeroticism – independent of the spouse. The men (v27) followed suit.

Also, the expression “men with men,” a poor rendering of “ἄρσενες  ἐν  ἄρσεσιν,” does not express co-agency, or co-participation, in the commission of illicit sexual relations. This would have been indicated by the preposition “μετὰ” (with) cf Matt 2:3, 2:11, etc. The idea conveyed is not unlike constructions in French such as, “Moi, je…” which utilize the “pronoms disjoints” to accentuate a point. This is an emphatic construction conveying the sense of efficient cause; cf Rom 12:21.

As Paul famously commanded spouses to yield to each other’s sexual needs in 1 Corinthians 7:3-4, Romans 1:26-27 is not a condemnation of homosexuality, but of wives and husbands who - in letting their natural, mutual affection grow cold - literally took matters into their own hands for solipsistic physical gratification.

© Copyright,  2 January 2011, ez duz it.

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