UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Possible echoes and reverberations : Paul's disapproval of homoeroticism in context: Romans 1:26-27 Edgington, Brad


A heated contemporary debate interminably swirls around two verses (1:26-27) in Paul's letter to the Romans. This debate is about whether or not Paul is condemning what we understand today as homosexuality. In order to enter into this debate, one must first endeavour to understand Paul's words within their original context. By using the historical-critical method, this study attempts to capture the (plain) sense of the verses in question within their original context. First, the paper explores and critically analyzes a wide range of sources that reveal the attitudes toward same-sex relations in both the ancient Greco-Roman tradition and the Jewish tradition. Both these cultures had a strong influence and Paul's choice of words and thought patterns. Next, the investigation moves forward to analyze aspects of Romans 1:26-27 and the larger context in which this passage is contained. The following thesis is put forth: although Romans 1:26-27 appropriates the conventional language of the Greco-Roman tradition, especially in its reference to "nature" (physis), Paul's opposition to homoeroticism is informed by a Hellenistic-Jewish worldview that is influenced by the priestly texts of the Torah and Greco-Roman philosophy. Together, these influences propel Paul to condemn all homoerotic acts because they run counter to God's intended order for humankind.

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