“The Kingdom of God cannot be inherited by ἀρσενοκοῖται! (1 Cor 6:9)” : Who are they, and why is Paul condemning them?

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Nya testamentets exegetik

Abstract:

This paper will look at the interpretation and translation of ἀρσενοκοῖται (1 Cor 6:9) in the list of people who will not inherit the kingdom of God. The word is mentioned in 1 Cor 6:9-10, and it has been translated in ways going from “homosexual”, “men who lay with men” and “sodomite” to “a man who lets others use himself or who uses others for debauchery” and “pedophile”. By looking at the views on sexuality, and male same-sex sexuality in particular, pertaining the Greco-Roman society and the Jewish culture contemporary to Paul, and also paying attention to the textual context as well as the context of the congregation in Corinth, the study has its aim set on finding what the word might have denoted to the first readers in the congregation in Corinth, and to Paul. The goal, then, is not to find a translation of the word ἀρσενοκοῖται that is literal, but to find one that is as close to a dynamic equivalent as is possible. This goal will, hopefully, be attained by giving the translation to the modern reader that is the one most likely to connote the same ideas and emotional connotations as the Greek word did in its original context. As the meaning of words change with time and context, there is a need for a translation that can bridge the gap created by that shift of meaning. Building that bridge in the case of ἀρσενοκοῖται is the goal of this paper.

When the meaning, or meanings, that is found most likely to have been attained by the ancient readers is found, there will be a critical evaluation of some of the modern translations (and some a bit older) of the word in 1 Cor 6:9 to see if there already exists a translation that can be said to reach the goal of dynamic equivalence, given the meaning that is found most plausible in this paper. The study will argue that that is not the case, and therefore also propose a new translation, one that is argued to be closer to dynamic equivalence than those that has been evaluated. This translation is ”Men who sexually exploit men to gain social powers”.

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