central market photos

My Photo

December 2009

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    

images of Jesus

« two for a benny | Main | rilke thoughts »

August 30, 2006


R. Mansfield

The context comes out of Greek literature of the period. μαλακός is the passive (effiminate) partner in a homosexual relationship and ἀρσενοκοίτης is the dominant partner. You have such a variety of translations on this because (1) some translators have not accessed the larger world of Greek writings or (2) it's obviously a difficult meaning (on both counts) to get across in the English because in our language/culture we don't generally make the distinction.


Rick, the clarity with which you interpret these terms is your own. There is no broad consensus. Malekoi simply means 'soft' - and it was taken/used by the church fathers to mean 'soft-willed' or 'soft in character/morals'. There were Greek words that clearly referred to homosexuality and were in common usage in Paul's day. These were not they. The broadest consesus that I can find re these two terms is that they may have referred to sexual trading/abuse of young boys. While it is difficult and probably foolish to try to argue from absence, still one would think if it was Paul's wish to specifically name [practising] homosexuals he would have used the common terms - subtlety is hardly his trademark.

R. Mansfield

In my reading, the more difficult term is the first. The second, ἀρσενοκοίτης, is not so difficult. It may have its best rendering in our cultural understanding in the TNIV, "practicing homosexual." Although there is also some value in the CEV as it better captures the Greek understanding of someone who engages in activity as opposed to being identified with the activity itself.

The comments to this entry are closed.