From Library Journal
Helminiak, a Roman Catholic priest, has done careful reading in current biblical scholarship about homosexuality. While cautioning against viewing biblical teaching as "the last word on sexual ethics," he stresses the need for accurate understanding of what the biblical "facts" are and concludes that "the Bible supplies no real basis for the condemnation of homosexuality." Using the studies of Yale historian John Boswell (Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe, LJ 7/94), New Testament seminary professor L. William Countryman, and others, Helminiak examines the story of Sodom (where the sin was inhospitality), Jude's decrying sex with angels, and five texts-Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, Romans 1:27, I Corinthians 6:9, and I Timothy 1:10-all of which, he concludes, "are concerned with something other than homogenital activity itself." Highly recommended for all libraries.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Believing that the translation of the Bible they use consists of the inerrant word of God, some Christians cite a handful of passages to justify their condemnation of homosexuality. But historical biblical scholarship holds that these believers' conception of inerrancy is naively based, for English versions of the originally Hebrew and Greek scriptures are rife with problematic translations. Some scholars further maintain that the supposedly antihomosexual passages are not blanket condemnations of homosexual persons and acts. Indeed, in some cases, these verses aren't about homosexuality at all; they meant quite different things to those for whom they were first written, peoples whose social conceptions of sexuality were vastly different from ours. Helminiak provides cogent, accessible precis of these revisionist findings on the Bible's six major passages and few minor references that seem to denounce homosexuality. The Bible does not condemn gay sex as we understand it today, he concludes; those who seek to know outright if gay or lesbian sex is good or evil . . . will have to look elsewhere for an answer. An extremely valuable contribution to popular gay and biblical studies. Ray Olson