(This post continues a discussion on Samizdata. Like at CCK, Samizdata’s comment system works… sometimes.)
The reason I’m using “homosexualism” and not “homosexuality” is that the latter is so vague as to be meaningless. As John Derbyshire wrote, homosexuality sometimes is used to include
- homosexualism (male preference for sex with men over men)
- ephebophilia/pederasty (male perference for sex with youths)
- monasticism/faute-de-mieux (male sex with men as a substitute for women)
Monasticism clearly existed then, as it exists now in prisons. Likewise, we have detailed descriptions of ephebophilia from the Greeks (such as the Ganymede story).
Some quote from Leviticus
You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; such a thing is an abomination.
(or more literally)
And with a male you shall not lay lyings of a woman
as the very preceeding verse is a condemnation of rival religion ceremonies
You shall not offer any of your offspring to be immolated to Molech, thus profaning the name of your God. I am the LORD
And the very next condemns an obvious form of substitution
You shall not have carnal relations with an animal, defiling yourself with it; nor shall a woman set herself in front of an animal to mate with it; such things are abhorrent.
The context argues against knowledge of homosexualism. Additionally, as Hebrew boys became “men” at a young age, Leviticus 18:22 may be intended as a double-condemnation of monaticism and ephebophilia. Whatever its meanings, there’s no evidence in the chapter that shows knowledge of homosexualism.