Monday, April 25, 2011

Genesis 19 and the Gate to the City of Sodom

Hi, JeremiahA--

Your assessment of Sodom’s gate in Genesis 19 is interesting.

However, Ray Vander Laan notes, “The gate was the center of city life in biblical times. Originally designed to defend a city against attack, this massive structure soon became a combination of community center, city hall, and marketplace…Lot sat in the gate of Sodom.”

Dr. Walter D. Zorn of Lincoln Christian University writes: “The biblical literature and ways of talking about war included the city gates. Note the following references. Ezekiel describes how Jerusalem’s gates were attacked by the Babylonians: “I have stationed the sword for slaughter at all their gates. . . . . to set battering rams against the gates, to build a ramp and to erect siege works” (Ezek 21:15, 22). Earlier Deut 28:52ff. had warned about this: “They will lay siege to all the cities throughout your land until the high fortified walls in which you trust fall down. They will besiege all the cities throughout the land the LORD your God is giving you.”

““To possess the gate” was to possess the city (Gen22:17; 24:60)”, according to Zorn.

The citizens of Sodom had every right to suspect the possibility that Lot’s unknown guests were enemy scouts who posed a real threat of military attack.

--ez duz it Copyright © 25 April 2011

Josephus - J.BJ 4.9.10§562 and Ἀσελγείας: More Nonsense from G. Thomas Hobson

Hi, JeremiaA--

You and G. Thomas Hobson refer to “Simon the Zealot” in Josephus.

If Simon was “the Zealot” why does Josephus write, “This success of Simon excited the zealots afresh; and though they were afraid to fight him openly in a fair battle, yet did they lay ambushes in the passes…” (cf. J. BJ 4.9.8§538ff)? The question is not rhetorical.

Josephus writes: “And thus did they roll themselves up and down the city, as in a brothel-house, and defiled it entirely with their impure actions; nay, while their faces looked like the faces of women, they killed with their right hands; and when their gait was effeminate, they presently attacked men, and became warriors, and drew their swords from under their finely dyed cloaks, and ran every body through whom they alighted upon.” (J. BJ 4.9.10§556ff). Notice that §562 reads “ἐμιμοῦντο καὶ δι᾽ ὑπερβολὴν ἀσελγείας.”

The word “ἐμιμοῦντο” is critical because Simon and his band “mimicked,” imitated and play-acted as ladies of commerce. They did so for one reason only. Despite your protestation, the male soldiers dressed - and comported themselves - as female prostitutes to allure and mortally attack their enemy. The events were not disparate, but concomitant!

The idea that soldiers dress as women to attack an enemy is not an ancient one. It occurs in our own time, as well. See the Fox News report: “U.S. Troops Kill Taliban Commander Clad in Woman's Clothing” at,2933,459025,00.html  

--ez duz it Copyright © 25 April 2011

G Thomas Hobson: His Anti-Gay Rhetoric and Misuse of Ἀσέλγεια Relative to Jewish Mishna

Hi, JeremiahA--

G. Thomas Hobson cites T. Levi 17,11 attempting to defame Gay persons by equating us to “licentious persons…the lawless, pederasts, those who practice bestiality.”

He says ἀσέλγεια “may have been used to refer to what were regarded as the most shameless violations of the sexuality taught in the Torah.” The key phrase is “may have been used.” Hobson doesn’t advance a definitive statement because he can’t.

For Jews, the clarifying teaching of Torah is made in Talmud. Mishna neither uses the term “ἀσέλγεια” nor does it discuss Genesis 19 in terms of homosexuality - another fact Hobson conveniently omits.

He says, “Jewish writers almost always use this word in its sexual sense” appealing to the pseudepigraphical “Testament of Levi” to make his case. However, T. Levi has never been embraced by the Jewish community and its attribution either to Jewish sources which have been emended by Christians - or solely to Christians who foisted as a forgery is highly debated (see J. Davila, 1997). In any event, Hobson fails to cite the primary source, much less the actual Greek quote. Given his record, I’m unwilling to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Frankly, I’ll have to wait until summer break to counter the misinformation in Hobson’s article.

Thank you though, for making me aware of the anti-Gay rhetoric of Hobson and “The Presbyterian Coalition.” It’s good to know one’s opponents.

--ez duz it Copyright © 25 April 2011

G Thomas Hobson and his (Disappointing) Article on Ἀσέλγεια (Aselgeia)

Hi, JeremiahA--

As a reputable, scholarly discussion of “ἀσέλγεια,” G Thomas Hobson was disappointing.

Significantly, Hobson opens his article with the statement that Mark’s use of ἀσέλγεια “could easily [be used] as a synonym for homosexual activity.” He did not, in the end, prove that Jesus definitively referred to homosexuality at all!

Though attempting to frame ἀσέλγεια as a synonym for homosexuality, Demosthenes doesn’t support Hobson’s cause. He “accuses a man of treating his slave-girl ἀσελγῶς by having sex with her openly at parties (Neaer. 59.33.1).…he also speaks disparagingly of a gang of men who violated all standards of wantonness (ἀσελγεστάτα) with the wife of a certain man (Vit. Apoll. 3.20.40).”

Hobson refers to the Aquilan and Symmachean retranslation (ca 125 CE) of the LXX to support his thesis that Hosea 7:14 leads to a Biblical condemnation of homosexuality (ἀσελγῶς ἐλάλησαν). Nonsense! The original LXX (ca 130 BCE) says (ἐν ταῖς κοίταις).

He appeals to the “OT Apocrypha” which the Jewish tradition rejects and from which Jesus never quoted.

To equate homosexuals with effeminacy, cross-dressing and extreme womanly lasciviousness (ὑπερβολὲν ἀσέλγειαν), Hobson cites Josephus - known for his inaccuracies and biases. Hobson conveniently omits the fact that they did so for military advantage: “while their faces looked like the faces of women, they killed with their right hands; and when their gait was effeminate, they presently attacked men, and became warriors.”

Inconsistencies in Hobson abound. I’m unimpressed.

--ez duz it Copyright © 25 April 2011

Saturday, April 23, 2011

2 Peter 2:7, The Town of Selge (Σέλγη) and its Supposed Moral Excellence

Hi, JeremiahA--

Why respond to yourself rather than to my comment along this thread? Doing so makes it difficult for me to respond in a timely way.

You say: ““In 2 Peter 2:7, Lot was “oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipld (sic) men.” The word for “sensual” does come from the name of a city whose citizens excelled in strictness of morals and, with the negative particle, is translated as “licentiousness,” sensual,” or “sensuality.””

Despite your unattributed quote of Thayer’s Lexicon, you haven’t demonstrated that the citizens of Σέλγη “excelled in strictness of morals.” Indeed, if the residents of Σέλγη excelled in “morals” as you and Thayer say, why are they and their affiliated tribes renowned for piracy? [1]

Furthermore, as Spartans, the citizens of Σέλγη openly embraced extramarital relations [2]

As I said in a prior post, there is nothing in the ancient sources that supports Thayer’s comment, or gives credence to the notion that Σέλγη was noted for its sexual primness, or the translation of “ἀσελγής” as having anything to do with the notions of “sensual” or, “sensuality.”

If you can produce primary source evidence from Classical Greek or first-century Talmudic literature to the contrary, please give it. Otherwise, your position concerning 2 Peter 2:7 doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

--ez duz it Copyright © 04-23-2011
[1] ΣΤΡΑΒΟΝΟΣ: Γεωγραφικών ΙB'  XII, 7, §3 - 
[2] ΞΕΝΟΦΩΝ: Λακεδαιμονίων Πολιτεία 1, §7-9,

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

2 Peter 2:7 and Genesis 19: Are "the wicked" only men? What's "ἀσελγείᾳ"?

Hi, JeremiahA--

When 2 Peter 2:7 speaks of the “wicked,” the word used is “ἀθέσμων,” a plural masculine genitive adjective and functions as a substantive masculine generic. It’s important not to conclude as you do when you write, “notice that only the men are mentioned.” It would be equally unjustifiable to conclude that the “sinners” or, “ἁμαρτωλῶν” for whom Christ died in Romans 5:8 are only “men” -- since “ἁμαρτωλῶν” is a plural, masculine, genitive adjective. However, using your reasoning, one would be forced to conclude that such is the case -- though it’s clearly not.

Genesis 18:20 is straightforward in its indictment: “the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and…their sin is very grievous” That’s it. The verse doesn’t mention anything about “sensual conduct” as you claim. Your citation of 2 Peter 2:7 translates “ἀσελγείᾳ” as “sensual.” Thayer’s lexicon explains it’s “the conduct and character of one who is ἀσελγής.” It is comprised of the alpha-privative and Σέλγη, a town in Pisidia settled by the Spartans and renowned for its industry, constitution, independence…and relentless military aggression. There is sufficient etymological, lexical as well as classical Greek and 1st century Talmudic literary witness to reasonably reject “unbridled lust,” “sensuousness” or “lasciviousness” as legitimate translations for ἀσελγείᾳ.

I’ll happily respond to your other questions once you do me the courtesy of refuting my arguments here as well as at  and not merely ignoring them or changing the topic.

--ez duz it © Copyright 2011

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Homosexuality in view of Genesis 19, Leviticus 18, Matthew 19:5 and Mark 10:7.

Hi, JeremiahA--

Concerning 2 Peter 2:7, you invite me to “notice that only the men are mentioned.”

While your preferred English translation may speak of “the sensual conduct of unprincipled men,” the Greek text says no such thing. It actually writes of “τῶν ἀθέσμων” or, “the wicked.”  It most certainly does not say “τῶν ἀνθρώπων” or, “the men” as you wrongly claim.

You imply that Lot did not address the women in Genesis 19, presumably vis-à-vis verse 7. To avoid repetition, please read my comment at:  

Though insisting “The men ignored women made available to them,” you failed to address the fact that the male and female residents of Sodom are part of this account.

Remember, the Jordan Valley city-states constantly warred for resources and regional supremacy in Genesis 14-18, thus setting the stage for Gen 19.

Joshua and other Biblical sources discuss military scouts entering rival towns to identify strategic weaknesses to facilitate armed attacks. Because of this, Genesis 19 is a Biblical condemnation of rape committed within a military context.

You ask me to “read Leviticus 18.” I have. Does righteousness truly come from observing the law?! Explain…

Regarding Matt 19:5 and Mk 10:7, is marriage is the only permissible condition under which a man may leave his father and mother? Explain…

--ez_duz_it © 2011-04-17

Were Women Included in the Genesis 19:4-7 Narrative?

Hi, DJ Green--

Referring to verse 4 you say “In the original Hebrew, the word for man both times is 'ish', whereas the word for people is 'am'.”

Though “men” appears twice, it isn’t the same word in Hebrew. The words “וְאַנְשֵׁ֨י” and “אַנְשֵׁ֤י”.are respectively transliterated “wə’anšê” and “’anšê;” not “ish” as you say. The two nouns are often used in Scripture to convey a collective sense referring to both genders. 

Though you say “the women are passive at best,” don’t forget they were part of the mob surrounding Lot’s house, alongside the men. Remember, it was “כָּל־הָעָם” (all the people) - women included - “מִקָּצֶֽה” (from every quarter) - who demanded from Lot to let them “וְנֵדְעָ֖ה” (know) his guests (v7).

Addressing the crowd, Lot uses the word “אַחַי” (’aḥay) not “אָח” (aḥ) as you say. Your presumption that the term “brothers” is exclusively used of men is incorrect. Cf Lev 10:6, 25:46; 1Kg 12:24; Neh 5:8, etc.

Lot, a foreign resident of Sodom, failed to allow the town elders to scrutinize his out-of-town visitors. To the townspeople, Lot’s actions exposed their entire community to military scouts leading to possible capture and subjugation, or even military annihilation.

Unsurprisingly, all the people, from every quarter of the town of Sodom, men and women, young and old, demanded to “know” Lot’s visitors. They wanted to sexually brutalize these potentially threatening visitors. Why? Rape is a potent assertion of power.

--ez duz it, © Copyright 17 April 2011