Theses Master's

Legacies of Homosexuality in New Testament Studies: Arsenokoitai and Malakoi, Fornicators and Sodomites, in the History of Sexuality and Scripture

Bratnober, Caro

This paper will seek to address what, if any, ethical and moral proscriptions about homosexuality can be found in the Bible. The argument is shaped by addressing the legacies of the historiography of homosexuality, exploring the ways in which homosexuality has been studied in the fields of history and New Testament studies. What Paul is thought to condemn, in those passages cited by those who seek "homosexuality" in the New Testament (particularly Romans and 1 Corinthians), is more accurately described as specific forms of exploitative sexual exchange, operating within institutions and structures of slavery within the Roman Empire. This paper maps the timeline of the historiography of New Testament and "homosexuality" studies alongside the development of the organizations of the Religious Right that appeared in the early 1980s, demonstrating the parallel developments of scholarly and political discourse on homosexuality during this time, paying particular attention to the timeline of what came to be called the HIV/AIDS epidemic. This paper will argue that the focus of HIV/AIDS discourse on gayness and homosexuality in the early stages of the epidemic was directly related to the neglect and lack of care resources directed at other marginalized groups severely affected by the epidemic, and address the harmful legacies of this period in the history of the study of "homosexuality" in the New Testament.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Union Theological Seminary
M.A., Union Theological Seminary
Published Here
January 29, 2019


Thesis submitted in fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts, at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York, April 2017