"For 19 centuries two Greek words in the 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 passage referred to behaviors that any person was capable of participating in. Then, in 1946, those two words were combined to one word and came to mean a specific group of people—homosexuals. How did this happen?"
Why I'm writing 'Forging a Sacred Weapon'
Over the last several years while teaching, there has a point in my presentations where I talk about the 1946 Revised Standard Version of the New Testament. It was there, for the first time that the word “homosexual” appeared in any language or any biblical translation. Two Greek words, arsenokoitai and malakos, were combines as “homosexual.” I believed the word choice was ideological and cultural, rather than theological.
My friend Ed Oxford heard me say this several times and asked, “Kathy, would you like to prove that theory?”
So, in September 2017, Ed and I spent five days in the archives of Yale University. Dr. Luther Weigle, former dean of Yale Divinity School, had been the head of the RSV translation team and left all his papers to Yale University.
Amongst those nineteen boxes of papers and 22 rolls of microfilm, each with about two thousand sheets of paper, I found what I was looking for!
Rather than co-author an academic paper with a biblical scholar, I decided to write another book using the discoveries from the archives as a starting point. The book Forging a Sacred Weapon: How the Bible became Anti-Gay will be published in EWinter 2024
I will include the beginnings of patriarchy (another topic I’ve been thinking about deeply for a year) and the context of the translations of ancient and modern Bibles in relation to the Scriptures referring to same-sex behavior. Where applicable, the information will be set against a backdrop of what was known about human sexuality, procreation, and the roles of men and women. I will also include a history or the understanding of human sexuality from the 1860s to 1970 in great detail. Also, in the mix of influences, I will look at both the LGBTQ civil rights movement and the merger of conservative religion and politics.
I covered some of this in detail in my first book, Walking the Bridgeless Canyon, and will only cover what is necessary for this book to offer the needed background.
Look for the accompanying documentary 1946: The Translation That Shifted a Culture in early 2023 produced by Rocky Roggio.
As we all know, sometimes it takes a village.