1 April 2010

Arsenokoitēs and Androkoitēs

Musing on the term 'homophobia', which translates literally as a pathological revulsion against the same, without specifying what the same is, at first I thought that it was just another slavish English borrowing from the OTT American psycho-political lexicon. But further thought led me to the conclusion that the term may reflect a belief that the bitterest foes of gays (another Americanocution) are other gays.

There does not seem to be much difference among the teachings of Judaism, Christianity and Islam on the subject. All regard homosexuality as an offence. Paul of Tarsus (1 Corinthians 6:9) wrote for all of them when he wrote that 'neither fornicators, nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor effeminates, nor homosexuals' will inherit the kingdom of God.

That would appear to put most of us in the same bed, theologically speaking.

But Paul created the Greek neologism arsenokoitēs (arsēn: male; koitēn: bed) when the term androkoitēs already existed to describe homosexuality. And there's the rub. Greek culture was totally relaxed about sex between men, so when Paul invented the new term, he was seeking to strip the concept of the social acceptability implied by the word androkoitēs.

Makes you wonder about Paul's sexuality, doesn't it?

Paul was a rabbi, and his views coincide with the condemnation of Onan in Leviticus, which is actually about coitus interruptus, not masturbation. The offence, it seems, is having sex without the possibility of procreation, which makes the above-mentioned theological bed even more crowded.

All in all, therefore, it seems rabbits must be among the most blessed of God's creatures.

Since the vast majority of humans are not going to inherit the kingdom of God, perhaps we can all regard the whole subject of sexuality with some much-needed indifference. The gays could make a start by ceasing to pose as victims and just get on with celebrating their natures, like the lads in the above picture.

And, oh yes: can we have 'gay' back? It is a most inapt handle for the dreary moaners who claim to speak for homosexuals, and is a useful word with no satisfactory equivalent. Why not 'Andro' instead? Much classier.

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