Clobbering back with the Clobber texts:
Taking the Bible Seriously - Are There Clobber Texts in the Bible?
Rev. Dr. Thomas Hanks
Deconstructing our homophobia: with Paul in Romans
|"I am not ashamed of Jesus' Good News to the poor, the oppressed and the marginalized, because
this Gospel communcates God's empowerment for the integral liberation to everyone who believes,
first for the Jews, then for the Gentiles. For in Jesus' Good News God's liberating justice is revealed,
a liberating justice that is by faith from first to last" (Romans 1:16-17a).
INTRODUCTION: Ideology, Propaganda and Biblical Interpretation
applied to any scholar or writer who seeks to question traditional homophobic interpretations
and translations. However, since Jacques Ellul's classic study in 1962, students of
propaganda remind us that "majority propaganda" (in this case heterosexist) is always much
more pervasive and likely to be much more insidious than anything various minorities manage
to come up with. A sober review of the history of interpretation and translation of the six basic
"clobber texts" studied thus far makes abundantly clear that vicious homophobia has been
operative in biblical interpretation -- and in half the texts (Jude 7; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Timothy
1:10; see Deuteronomy 23:17-18) even in the translation.
Two texts (Genesis 19 and Jude 7) present the sin of Sodom as involving cruel refusal of
hospitality and attempted gang rape of God's angel messengers; six texts in the Hebrew
Scriptures referring to male (cult?) prostitutes were mistranslated with the term "sodomite"; two
pauline texts (1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10) use a rare, euphemistic term ("male-
beds") whose meaning remains sharply debated even after decades of intensive study; and
two texts (Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13) prohibiting unprotected male anal intercourse, reflect the
patriarchal, procreation sexual ideology of a book neither orthodox Jews nor traditionalist
Christians use as binding or normative for modern life (especially in such minutiae). Jesus and
Paul both set aside the creation ordinance commanding procreation and one of the Ten
Commandments as not literally binding or normative for Christians (as well as countless other
teachings of the Torah); and Jesus never said a single word against any kind of same-sex
genital acts. When inspiring the Bible, if God really wanted to provide a clear, precise,
universal ethical absolute to condemn "homosexuality" (including lesbians, never referred to in
any of these texts), certainly this was a strange way to go about it!
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