Discussing "The Secret History of Leviticus" by Idan Dershowitz

(Kim O.) #1

I was recently given this article by a friend to defend that homosexuality.

I’m wondering if anyone can address the info they provide about Leviticus via the NY Times article.

And of course any further thoughts.

Thank you,

(SeanO) #2

@Koberheu Thank you for your question. I just want to say that this is very poor scholarship. All three stages of his argument are lacking solid evidence to back them up. On another note, I do just want to say that Jesus loves all people and desires them to find peace, hope, holiness and love through His blood shed on the cross, the power of His resurrection and the grace/empowerment of the Holy Spirit - no matter where they are at in life right now. May Jesus grant you wisdom as you talk with your friend and open their eyes to His love and kindness.

First, the author claims that Leviticus developed over time and that the explicit condemnation of homosexual sex found in passages such as Leviticus 18:22/20:13 were later additions. Next, the author claims that incest laws prohibiting sex with your mother/aunt originally also prohibited sex with the father/uncle. And, the writer claims, if there is a need to prohibit sex with a father or uncle then homosexual sex must have been practiced - the exception proves the rule.

The author of the article has zero - and I repeat zero - manuscript evidence to back up his claim. Nor does he have any good reason to twist the incest laws as he has done - parallelism is a very common structure in Hebrew writing and there is zero need to posit that the second half of these prohibitions was added later (nor is there any evidence). Lastly, even if the author could prove that sex with father/uncle was forbidden (which the author has no evidence for), it is a massive leap to then suggest that homosexual acts were common in Israel - again with zero evidence.

Here is a response to this argument just posted in Christian Post, whom I do not generally quote from, but it looks like they were the first to push a response out. I imagine more will be coming in the near future. Here are some quotes:

“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.”

“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.)”

Christian Post Article

(Kim O.) #3

Wow. Thank you so much. I will check out the Christian Post article as well. RZIM is amazing!

(SeanO) #4

@Koberheu Sure thing. Yes, @CarsonWeitnauer has built an amazing community here on Connect. Please feel free to ask any further questions for clarification. Blessings!

(Elizabeth C) #5

As a side note/maybe another question, it always fascinates me that everyone seems to claim that only the OT condemns homosexuality. In Romans 1:27, it states “(KJV) And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.”

(SeanO) #6

@LizMath Yes, there are many misconceptions floating around out there - here is an article from the Gospel Coalition going through a few of them in more detail. Also, a book by Sam Allberry to help us understand that God is not promoting hatred or hostility. Hope those are helpful in thinking through these issues in a deeper way and being able to dialogue graciously in love and truth with those who disagree.

(Carson Weitnauer) #7

Hi @Koberheu,

Thank you for this great question! Here is another resource that you might find helpful in response to this exact article:

I think he is very detailed and clear in explaining why it is unlikely that an earlier version of Leviticus permitted same-sex relationships.

(Carson Weitnauer) #9

14 posts were split to a new topic: A discussion on sexual immorality

(Ethan Thomas) #11

I have nothing more to contribute to this already well-fleshed out conversation, but I wanted to say Thank You to Sean. I’ve glanced this article making the rounds and I knew I would find a proper and scholarly refutation here. Bravo sir!

(Kim O.) #12

That is excellent. Especially mentioning dignity. Honor so needs to be restored in our cultured.
Thank you so much I will save in this thread and revisit.