Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Published Again--Journal of the American Academy of Religion-Queer Sects in Rom 1

My second research article came out this month in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion. The first, from winter 2011, was in Journal of Biblical Literature. It looked at the historical and linguistic context of Roans 1:26-27, proposing that Rom 1:26, the only alleged reference in the Bible to "lesbians", is not actually a reference of lesbians at all. The entire chapter is Paul's attack on non-Yahwistic religions, and many of the references can be interpeted as allusions to the goddess cults. This most recent article builds on that theory, but demonstrates that the first millennium church's interpretation of this passage shows little indication of a "gay or lesbian" interpretation outside of the goddess religions context.

http://jaar.oxfordjournals.org/content/current "Queer Sects in Patristic Commentaries on Romans 1:26–27: Goddess Cults, Free Will, and “Sex Contrary to Nature”?"
J Am Acad Relig (2013) 81 (1): 56-79.


This article provides evidence that Romans 1:26b–27 was interpreted by the early Christian church as a reference to the sexual practices of the goddess cults, and was used as an attack on polytheistic religions, not a reference to homosexuality. I clarify the rhetorical usefulness of the goddess cults for the early church in making the antipolytheistic case in relation to the Patristic contrast between free will and determinism. While the early church did not originally interpret Romans 1:26b as female homogenitality, a transition to this view is apparent as the Western Roman Empire began to collapse. A queer theory lens is incorporated into the discussion about Romans 1 by introducing cultural practices of gender, sexuality, and religion uncommon today.

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