Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind

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From an essay on the possible origins of Western homophobia among the tribal peoples whose myths are recorded in the Old Testament. Probably struck me strongly because of yesterday's note about homophobic Christian Fundamentalist biblical literalism and theonomy.

Whereas the Greek term for the male genitals, medea, was an entirely neutral term having no positive or negative connotations, the Hebrew term for the male genitals, erva, means "hideous flesh." Virtually every psychologist, anthropologist, and student of comparative religion now recognizes that the Hebrew ritual ceremony of circumcision is a muted form of castration and a symbolic attempt at genital mutilation having virtually no justification in terms of hygiene. In Leviticus 15.16-18 semen is declared to be "unclean," and men are admonished to bathe after they emit semen, and any garments or the skin of other persons upon which semen has fallen are similarly considered to be "unclean."

Rictor Norton, A History of Homophobia, "1 The Ancient Hebrews" 15 April 2002

Nortonís essay is short and makes interesting reading. I donít have any guess as to the validity of his speculations.

Comments

Hang on a second.

That doesn’t explain why Muslims circumcise as well. One thing that might is that they’re both religions of the desert, and sand + foreskins don’t mix. Too practical ?

The religious aspects of circumcision, at least for the Hebrews of the bible and for Jewish descendants today, are based in “God” having commanded them to perform this rite - solely as a convenental identification of the males who were obedient followers of that faith. No other reasons were stated in the ancient texts.The oft-repeated “cleanliness” aspect of male circumcision is a myth - as any boy who has been properly instructed in personal hygeine can explain.

As for the homnophobic portions of old testament scripture - they appear to have been significantly altered from the original texts, and in some cases appear to have been inserted out of context. This would beg the question of a specific anti-homosexual agenda among the translators who worked for King James of England in 1611, and gave us what we generally call “the bible”.

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Thanks,
Richard

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