Michael Brown on New York Times Op-Ed Trying to Create a New Version of Leviticus to Support Homosexuality

What do you do when the biblical text is against your position, explicitly so? What do you do when not one single verse supports your viewpoint? It’s simple. You create new verses out of thin air. You rewrite the Bible to your liking. That’s exactly what biblical scholar Idan Dershowitz has done.

In his New York Times op-ed piece, Dr. Dershowitz summarizes his 2017 academic article published in the journal Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel. (Is it any surprise that the Times decided to publish his piece?)

Dr. Dershowitz claims that, “Before Leviticus was composed, outright prohibitions against homosexual sex — whether between men or women — were practically unheard-of in the ancient world.” And he believes that Leviticus was “created gradually over a long period and includes the words of more than one writer.”

He then argues that “an earlier edition of Leviticus . . . may have been silent on the matter of sex between men.” (Note carefully: He means a non-existent edition of Leviticus. A Leviticus that is the figment of his own imagination. A Leviticus without a shred of textual, manuscript support in any ancient language at any period of time.)

Not only so, but Dr. Dershowitz even claims that, “there is good evidence that an earlier version of the laws in Leviticus 18 permitted sex between men.”

As someone trained in the same scholarly field as Dr. Dershowitz, I can say without equivocation that this is nothing more than scholarly fabrication and should be rejected as complete and utter nonsense.

Let’s remember that: 1) there is not one positive word in the Bible about homosexual practice; 2) every reference to homosexual practice in the Bible is categorically negative; and 3) every scriptural example of marriage and family is heterosexual.

How then does Dr. Dershowitz come to such outrageous conclusions?

He first observes that in the ancient Near Eastern world, “outright prohibitions against homosexual sex — whether between men or women — were practically unheard-of . . . .”

While it is true that such prohibitions are largely lacking in the surrounding, ancient world, there are some laws that prescribe harsh punishment for certain acts of male sodomy. So, this is an overstatement.

More importantly, it appears that homosexual acts were part of ancient Near Eastern idolatrous culture – in other words, part and parcel of the pagan culture which the Bible condemns. No wonder, then, that more emphasis was not put on prohibiting these acts. In fact, Leviticus confirms this, stating that sinful acts like these were widely practiced in the surrounding, ancient world. Israel was not to follow their example! (See Leviticus 18:1-3, 24-30.)

But that is not the heart of Dr. Dershowitz’s argument.

Using a “little detective work,” he claims to have discovered that the alleged “original” text of Leviticus 18 only forbade homosexual incest. All other homosexual acts were permitted.

Not only is this argument entirely without textual support (something that needs to be repeated over and again), but it makes for the bizarre idea that, in ancient Israel, men could have sex with as many men as they desired, without penalty, so long as they were not close blood relatives. Yet they could only have sex with the woman (or, women) they were married to, and at that, with certain purity guidelines.

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Source: Christian Post