Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Hebrew abuse part 2

Another fun bit of Hebrew abuse came to me from someone who contacted me on the subject of whether homosexuality was Biblically permissible. I hesitated to respond to him, but then thought "what's to lose? He might repent!" and reminded him of the numerous passages explicitly banning such practices.

It turned out that he wasn't interested in listening to an argument, but rather in beating me down until I would superficially "agree" with him--a regrettably common postmodern tactic, I'm afraid. One of his arguments was very interesting, though.

More or less, argued that the word "abomination" in Leviticus 20:13 ought really be translated "idolatry." When I visited Brown-Driver-Briggs, of course, I found that it meant "abomination," derived from the verb "to abhor", and also learned that that's exactly how the Septuagint and Vulgate render the word. Again, my correspondent was someone who knew Hebrew better than the Alexandria rabbis, Jerome, or Luther!

But again, that's not the saddest, most darkly amusing part. The amusing part is that if one accepts this mis-translation, the typical pro-homosexual argument against the Levitical code is overturned. That argument is that certain practices were banned because they were part of Canaanite idolatry; abominable because of the practices of the conquered peoples.

However, if we state point blank that these practices are idolatry, we can no longer state that it is an abomination because of its connection with pagan practices. We must concede that it is an abomination because it is itself idolatry.

Once again, a strategic mis-translation turns out to backfire on those who made it. If we doubt the importance of learning something about hermeneutics, exegesis, and the original languages, the postmodernists are emphatically making that point for us.

2 comments:

Mark said...

:^) Thanks!

Steve said...

Good analysis Robert! Who needs Worldmagblog anyways?