“You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” (Lev 18:22, 20:13) – Come again?
This paper investigates Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 from the perspective of the hermeneutical implications of their historical context appropriated into a modern contextual understanding and possible application. To do this, four prominent historical theories (relating the ban to procreation, idolatry, against nature/the order of creation, and Canaanite practices) of the origin of the verses, and the ban therein, are chosen to be analysed. The analysis will be based on a theoretical framework which is modelled to present a theory of how historical knowledge and its derived hermeneutical implications enables a dynamically equivalent cultural appropriation. The investigation poses two questions – (1) what are the hermeneutical implications, and (2) what might a dynamically equivalent cultural appropriation into a modern context look like? In answering these question, it is found that when understanding the historical context as giving clues to the cultural world of the author and first reader(s), the four theories produce different results, but in none of them is it said to be either impossible or always possible to apply the ban. Further, even the group of people that are concerned by the ban differs. There is also a note of warning given, as these theories and others on the matter are very hard, if not impossible, to choose between, and therefore one has to motivate quite well why one selects one over the other in creating an interpretation and appropriation, since such a choice might, but should not, be more based on preference than on facts. Questions are in this paper sometimes posed but not answered, which runs in line with the overarching goal to rather draw some lines of interpretation than to hold an interpretation to be certain, while still exemplifying a transparent and theoretically well founded way to appropriate these verses.
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