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For Theology Nerds Only

More later

by Anonymousreply 27January 23, 2023 3:29 AM

Ha! I see what you did there, ElderLez.

by Anonymousreply 1January 21, 2023 6:38 PM

Thanks, ElderLez. I've been enthralled with the subject (as an lifelong atheist in Mississippi - imagine what that's been like!)

by Anonymousreply 2January 21, 2023 6:47 PM

If only I were an IT nerd! I am trying to link to pages 116 and 117 of “Veiled and Silenced” by Alvin Schmidt, but DataLounge won’t let me.

by Anonymousreply 3January 21, 2023 6:47 PM

* as A lifelong atheist in Mississippi

by Anonymousreply 4January 21, 2023 6:47 PM

Oh my goodness R2, that must have been a struggle!

While I am theologically Lutheran, this is a space for people of all or no belief to discuss Judeo-Christian theology. I am starting with sex cause this is DL, but other topics are welcome.

I’m sure that we’ll be crashed by some snarkiness in true DL fashion.

Anyway if anyone wants to google those pages of that book it gives a great breakdown of how the Biblical writers would have understood reproduction. And to understand sex in the Bible, you have to start with the understanding that they defined sex as ejaculation which is different than how we define it now.

by Anonymousreply 5January 21, 2023 6:56 PM

I'll be sure to look it up - thanks ElderLez.

As for Mississippi atheists, good lord. I got old (67) and stopped giving as much of a fuck... Just in the last year, I've alienated my husband entire family (and he was the youngest in a family of 7 -- his father was one of 16!! so we're talking hundreds of people lol). I have no family, so that's good...

But I also alienated a fairly long-term friend, who just sort of choked it down for THREE years, with occasional passive-aggressive digs, and now she and her family won't come near us any more. My guess is they made a New Year's resolution to avoid the.... INFIDEL !!! Sometimes I think about all that when I'm walking from my house to my car because I'm afraid I'll be assassinated. Joking (mostly). Happily, may back yard is fenced so I can putter around there and avoid people.

I am looking to check out the only Unitarian Church within 50 miles - I went to the one in my city but it closed down due to lack of interest. Oh well. And this is a fucking university town - which is the only reason we're here. Honestly, I believe it's gotten WORSE since we moved back home from Florida -- in 1990. We had a Democratic governor whose wife was a teacher and they wanted investment in our schools.... and since then, MAGA times 1000 jerks in every office (except Bennie Thompson, chair of the judicial review thing, from the Delta where 80% of the population is black.)

Sorry to ramble -- I have a lot to get off my chest. All this has given me a goddamned nervous breakdown (excuse my language if you're a believer ahem)

by Anonymousreply 6January 21, 2023 7:08 PM

Looks like I might be able to post from my desk top.

Hey, the bad language is OK. I plan on posting some NSFW links because to really understand what the Bible says about sex, you need to talk about things that you don't talk about in church.

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by Anonymousreply 7January 21, 2023 7:18 PM

Oh and I loved our Attorney General in 1990 - Mike Moore - a Democrat who was the first to successfully sue the cigarette manufacturers and got a big settlement that politics assured Mississippi residents would be put in a fund to help our 50th place education system. Probably some of the money Brett Favre pilfered from the state, though I think that money was intended for single moms to help take care of their children (well of course, millionaire times a lot Brett needs the money more than our 50th poorest population, right?

It's been bloody hell here in Saudi Mississippi. The only thing I can say is the winter weather is nice - a Scottish friend of mine said it was like an English spring.

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by Anonymousreply 8January 21, 2023 7:21 PM

* politicians assured....

I'm so addled I can't type. Well, who wouldn't be?

by Anonymousreply 9January 21, 2023 7:22 PM

I did not know about AG Moore, but am a big Benny Thompson fan.

Infant sacrifice link below. This is all kind of background context for understanding what certain scriptures mean.

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by Anonymousreply 10January 21, 2023 7:26 PM

I'm sorry to spam it up about Mississippi when it's not a "theology" type subject.

But I think in a way it IS. Mississippi is the way it is because of the overarching important of religion - specifically Southern Baptist, but all the crap ones too - "non-denominational" (ha!), Pentecostal, Church of God whatever whatever -- oh and we have two breakaway groups, a southern Methodist (not affiliated with those liberal United Methodists - and the Presbyterian Church of America (instead of USA). Both groups separated from the main ones because they loved slavery and hated Civil Rights - some of them still argue that slavery was good for those useless Africans ... I lived next to one who kept trying to get us to go to his weird-ass "Methodist" church....

I swear I need to write a book. Just to get it off my chest.

But anyway I'll try to stay to the real subject - theology. I love trying to shoot it all down.

by Anonymousreply 11January 21, 2023 7:29 PM

A little about Asheroth.

(Astarte or Ishtar in to the East and Southwest, kinda of like a mash-up of Persephone and Aphrodite)

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by Anonymousreply 12January 21, 2023 7:42 PM

And this is kind of a ridiculous list, but just skip to # 1.

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by Anonymousreply 13January 21, 2023 7:47 PM

I'll be gone a while but I'll check on all that, ElderLez, when I get a chance. Thanks for the links.

by Anonymousreply 14January 21, 2023 7:48 PM

Autodidacts and ironical twats have so many opinions, as is their rite.

by Anonymousreply 15January 21, 2023 7:50 PM

True enough fellow nerd at R15 punny insult well landed.

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by Anonymousreply 16January 21, 2023 7:55 PM

ElderLez: On 𝐆𝐫𝐨𝐰𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐮𝐩 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐂𝐡𝐮𝐫𝐜𝐡, reply 53, you said,

[quote]The Bible is very clearly against anal sex with temple (make and female) prostitutes (which was considered at the time a form of child sacrifice) as a method of worshipping fertility gods and (primarily) goddesses.

I replied,

[quote]Mmm, it's a theory. But have you ever done a deeper dive into its 'prooftexts'? For instance, where does it specifically talk about "anal sex"? Have you looked into the so-called 'temple prostitutes'? Who's a "fertility god"? Which "goddesses"? And 𝑤ℎ𝑜 exactly was demanding and receiving child sacrifices?

To which, you answered,

[quote]Yes actually Poisoned Dragon I have. I can post a series of links later if you’d like, assuming you and OP don’t think it would derail the thread. (see link below)

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by Anonymousreply 17January 21, 2023 8:13 PM

The link you provided notes that "ASHTORETH" was a "Canaanite goddess." What it doesn't mention is that Yahweh was also a constituent of the Canaanite pantheon, one of the '70 Sons of El,' and a 'fertility god' as well. The goddesses mentioned in the bible - Ashtoreth (actually Astarte; your article explains 'Ashtoreth' as a Hebrew alteration of the name), Anath, and Asherah - were once consorts of Yahweh, and acceptable objects of worship with Yahweh.

The distinction between 'Canaanite' and 'Hebrew' in the Iron Age was kind of a false one, being that they were one people, sharing a common ethnicity, language, culture, and religious ideas. The insistence that the Canaanites were foreigners worshipping 'strange gods' was a form of religious propaganda disseminated by the 'Deuteronomists,' a 'Yahweh-Only' sect which gained predominance after Israel shook itself free from Seleucid/Syrian control, in the 2nd century BCE. The Deuteronomist point of view came to shape the Jewish bible, but traces of the older views are still discernible in its texts.

A common trope among biblical authors was to set 'historical' stories farther back in the past than when they occurred (for example, the Book of Daniel, set in the 6th century BCE, but written in the 2nd century BCE). Hence, the 'cleansing of the temple' set during the so-called 'Divided Monarchy', where all the paraphernalia of Canaanite worship were removed from the temple (the Asherah poles, shrines to the Canaanite pantheon, the 'Chariots of the Sun,' the housing of the 𝑞𝑒𝑑𝑒𝑠ℎ𝑖𝑚, etc. cited in 2 Kings 23), ostensibly back in the 7th century BCE, 𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑢𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑦 occurred subsequent to the overthrow of Seleucid influence after Antiochus' desecration of the Temple in the 2nd century. Judaism underwent a rather quick makeover from polytheism to monotheism, and what had recently been a religious norm - the worship of the Canaanite pantheon - suddenly became proscribed.

by Anonymousreply 18January 21, 2023 8:16 PM

[quote]ElderLez, reply 60 on 𝐆𝐫𝐨𝐰𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐮𝐩 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐂𝐡𝐮𝐫𝐜𝐡: I’ll just add here though that in the biological understanding of the Old Testament era it was believed that every seminal emission included a fetus so every ejaculation that could not result in pregnancy was wasted. The sin of Onanism wasn’t male masturbation, but good old Pope approved withdrawal.

Quite - but with the caveat that there's considerable difference between the view of the authors of Genesis 38, where Onan is found, and the fixation of late medieval Catholicism through early 20th century religion on masturbation, which used the story of Onan to justify their views.

In the late Iron Age, when 'Genesis' was being put together, they didn't really have a "biological understanding," much less a value placed upon every seminal emission. If they had, it would have been more expressly defined in the Torah, rather than needing to be interpreted out of a reading of the story of Onan.

The story of Onan was crafted with the intention of reinforcing the already-existing custom of Levirate marriage, where a brother is required to step into a marriage to replace a deceased male sibling. Onan refused to fulfill that responsibility, and so Yahweh supposedly slew him. It was never intended to be a statement on seminal emissions, or any of the rest of what Christianity added to it.

If I step away from our discussion for hours or a day or so, don't lose patience. I just have stuff to do, and I need rest. I'm still interested in talking with you. Reply at your leisure, as it suits you.

[quote]Yes actually Poisoned Dragon I have. I can post a series of links later if you’d like, assuming you and OP don’t think it would derail the thread.

I said, "It might. Perhaps we can take this discussion over to the '𝐖𝐡𝐲 𝐝𝐢𝐝 𝐡𝐨𝐦𝐨𝐬𝐞𝐱𝐮𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐛𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐚 𝐬𝐢𝐧?' thread, which is more on-topic, and isn't currently in use."

[quote]OK - it will take me a while to read all that and now I need to get back to work so forgive my delay in posting, I will post eventually.

[quote]I’ll just add here though that in the biological understanding of the Old Testament era it was believed that every seminal emission included a fetus so every ejaculation that could not result in pregnancy was wasted. The sin of Onanism wasn’t male masturbation, but good old Pope approved withdrawal.

[quote]Can we use a different thread [R59]? I am trying to read the posts before adding anything and the idiocy is making my head hurt. I can create one if necessary.

I said, "Can't you just skip to the end, without suffering through the rest of the thread?

But if you would prefer to create a clean thread, by all means, do so. ;)"

And here we are.

by Anonymousreply 19January 21, 2023 8:22 PM

I will come back to the subject of sacred prostitution; I'm worn out today. Please bear with me.

by Anonymousreply 20January 21, 2023 8:43 PM

No rush! I’ll respond as well, but it will take some time.

by Anonymousreply 21January 21, 2023 10:00 PM

You know, churches bitch and moan about how to get the young interested and how to fill those pews again. And sacred prostitution is just sitting there, waiting. Why?

by Anonymousreply 22January 22, 2023 12:21 AM

I do think the ancient Israelites really were ancient Canaanites, and maybe should have just stayed that way. Could have prevented a whole lot of annoying shit about the One True God. The Exodus seems to have been complete bullshit, or camel shit.

by Anonymousreply 23January 22, 2023 12:32 AM

The traditional English rendering of the key passage in Deuteronomy 23 we're considering runs thus:

17 There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel. 18 Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the LORD thy God.

The ESV renders it, 17 “None of the daughters of Israel shall be a cult prostitute, and none of the sons of Israel shall be a cult prostitute. 18 You shall not bring the fee of a prostitute or the wages of a dog into the house of the LORD your God in payment for any vow, for both of these are an abomination to the LORD your God.

On the surface of it, that seems pretty straightforward, and appears to cinch the case for sacred prostitution. But one must bear in mind that, to the minds of the Deuteronomists, strict worshippers of Yahweh only, the worship of other members of the Canaanite/Ugaritic pantheon (Asherah, Baal, Chemosh, Astarte, Hadad, Shammash, Dagon, Anath, etc) was considered 𝑤ℎ𝑜𝑟𝑒𝑑𝑜𝑚, a form of prostitution (cf. Exodus 34:15, 16; Leviticus 17:7, 20:5,6; Deuteronomy 31:16; Ezekiel 6:9, 23:30, 𝑙𝑜𝑡𝑠 of others). They believed that 𝐼𝑠𝑟𝑎𝑒𝑙 belonged to Yahweh as his portion (Deuteronomy 32:8-9¹), considered more binding than a marriage.

Just because someone is 𝑐𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑒𝑑 a whore, does not mean that they are, especially when dealing with forms of religious invective. The sense is ritual, or metaphorical.

How does that pertain to us? Well, the translators of the KJV decided to characterize the males of Deut. 23:17 as 'sodomites,' linking them with the story found in Genesis 19, even though there is no etymological or textual reason for doing so. In Hebrew, the word used for 'cult prostitute' (male) is qā-ḏêš, and a 'cult prostitute' (female) is qə-ḏê-šāh. What these terms actually mean is "holy ones" (from 'Qadesh', 'holy'). These were nothing more or less than temple functionaries, priests and priestesses in the service of 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝐺𝑜𝑑𝑠. But because they served gods besides just Yahweh, the Deuteronomists called them 'prostitutes,' even though, strictly speaking, there was no sexual activity involved. And they slew them (2 Kings 23:7-20).

And because some 17th century translators chose to falsely equate them with those who have same-sex relations, people have been persecuting and killing us ever since.

¹ Of Deuteronomy 32:9, it should be noted that the Masoretic text was altered in order to remove references to divine beings other than Yahweh. There are a number of textual variants for this passage, but most tend towards "When Elyon gave the nations as an inheritance, when he separated the sons of man, he set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the Sons of El ('Benei HaʼElōhīm'; the latter is plural, meaning, 'the Gods'). For Yahweh’s portion was his people; Jacob was the lot of his inheritance”.

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by Anonymousreply 24January 22, 2023 6:29 PM

That's great R24!! Actually though the scripture I was leading to though was Leviticus 18:22 and the Hebrew word תּוֹעֵבָה (Toebah) that is generally translated as "abomination," which doesn't capture the fact that the word in Hebrew conveys the sense of a forbidden foreign cultural/religious practice.

by Anonymousreply 25January 22, 2023 9:51 PM

[quote]R25: Actually though the scripture I was leading to though was Leviticus 18:22 and the Hebrew word תּוֹעֵבָה (Toebah) that is generally translated as "abomination," which doesn't capture the fact that the word in Hebrew conveys the sense of a forbidden foreign cultural/religious practice.

You are quite correct.

Leviticus 18:22 / 20:13, however, read literally, don't appear to contain any direct references to 'shrine prostitutes,' as the modern bibles put it.

'Abomination' isn't what a lot of people assume it is. 'Sin' and 'abomination' are not interchangeable concepts, but come from two entirely different religious paradigms. In the Jewish testament, "sins" were offenses for which one could simply make a sin offering to make it go away. Note that the passages which speak of 'abomination' do not use the term 'sin' at all. 'Abomination' (Hebrew 'tō-w-‘ê-ḇāh') referred to a ritual or ceremonial infraction or taboo (typically used of idolatry, but also of breaking the dietary restrictions - Deut.14:3), pertaining to one's membership in the community; one's standing as an observant Jew. 'Abomination' was characterized as being something characteristically committed by the 𝑛𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑠 (i.e. gentiles, cf. Lev.18:24-29). Matters of ritual impurity were handled in various ways, depending on their severity. Some, like menstruation or handling a dead body, required a period of sequestration ('seven days,' or 'until evening,' respectively). Those characterized as 'abomination' - idolatry, blasphemy, dishonor of family or elders, violation of the dietary laws, breaking the Sabbath, etc. - mandated death; being "cut off from your people" was a euphemism for execution.

Christianity was totally different. Christians often completely misunderstand what they read in the Jewish Testament, coming at it as they do with Christian concepts of sin and the way it's expiated in Christianity (contrition, confession, penance, asking Christ for forgiveness). The majority of offenses characterized as 'abomination' typically do not rise to the level of what Christians would characterize as a sin (eating pork, wearing mixed fabrics, etc.). But when they read Jewish texts calling for the death penalty for such offenses, they conflate it with the Christian concept of sin (cf. Romans 6:23). But according to the New Testament, the concept of 'abomination' - ritual or ceremonial impurity - has no continued relevance for Christians, as spelled out in Acts 10:28, "He [Peter] said to them, "You know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with a foreigner or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean." So, even if it were the case that passages like Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 referred to same-sex relations (actually, being halakhic commentary on Deuteronomy 23:17-18, they are instead abstruse condemnations of idolatry), the distinction would be abolished for anyone except conservative. traditionalist Jews.

by Anonymousreply 26January 23, 2023 1:39 AM

Agreed that the purity code only applies to traditional Jews and I’d go further than that and say that it only applies to Jews in Israel (which is a pretty standard Reform belief) and even further than that and say that much of it including Leviticus 18:22 only applies to Jews from the priestly class in Israel while in Temple service. I think one of the main complexities with the discussion of how Christians misinterpret Hebrew scripture is the idea that there is a unified Jewish interpretation of Hebrew scripture. And that just isn’t the case. The what applies when discussion of the Pentateuch is very much in play amongst the different Jewish traditions.

by Anonymousreply 27January 23, 2023 3:29 AM
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