Re: Values Added: Sex and the Bible (David M. Carr & Jay Michaelson)
I thought this was a very good dv. I got the feeling that these two know how to read the Bible, whether or not their conclusions are true. I think their conclusions are likely to be truer, more accurate reflections of authorial intention, than those of a lot of competing ones. So I think what they are doing is probably important work, as things human go.
It is almost certainly true that the gay-friendly interpretation only became possible after sociological changes in contemporary societies had already occurred, and it is clearly a way of making it far easier that there be a GLTG synagogue, for example, but this does not really vitiate the truth-value of the interpretation, which has to be judged on its merits. The hypothesis that the ancient Jews of a certain period were far more horrified by male homosexual anal sex than by other forms of male homosexual sex seems quite plausible, but probably almost impossible to prove. There aren't a lot of vase paintings lying around. So it must come down to a few passages in the Old Testament, to very close readings of those passages, and then to comparison with what is known about this subject in other ancient cultures.
The texts are highly malleable, as Wonderment says, history proves this. I did not get the feeling, however, that the gay fellow was in the business of trying to distort the Old Testament to fit his purposes. To be blunt about it, if he is driven to have anal sex as an expression of love in a relationship that is important to him, he will, but he won't be thinking that this is something that an orthodox Jew, even under the gay-friendly interpretation of the relevant texts that he is helping to spearhead, should be doing. He probably is no longer Orthodox, however. So my guess is that he is trying to provide a correct interpretation and then picks and chooses what is most important for him.
The thing is, some people are moved very deeply by the poetic power of ancient texts, and I know why. These two guys want to preserve the power of the ancient texts in the contemporary world, and that's good. It beats video games. If they did not do what they do, would the religious yahoos stop doing what they do? Furthermore, it's good to have these people around to debate the religious yahoos, or to provide an outlet for people raised in orthodox traditions who can't take it anymore but do not want to forsake religion entirely.
Thanks for the Freud quote, florian. That was interesting. Freud is still talked about in France, but in the US he seems to be mostly dead, along with psychiatrists who perform talk therapy. What an incredible change in a single generation. When I was an undergrad, I had Norman O. Brown as a Latin teacher, and he was the rock-star on campus.
Last edited by ledocs; 08-04-2010 at 07:22 AM..