aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,

Slogging through

I've been reading The Bible and Homosexual Practice, by Robert A.J. Gagnon. It's the gold standard of scholarship on the subject. Gagnon is not an evangelical; while he assumes that Scripture is the primary source of Christian belief and ethics, his critical understanding of authorship and so forth is state-of-the-field among liberal scholars. This increases his credibility, since he can't simply be brushed off as a fundamentalist or an inerrantist.

Nor is his book a polemic. Very little rhetoric is in here. This is hard core exegesis of the texts, with comparison across time with what has been preserved from ancient Egyptian, ancient Near Eastern, Greco-Roman, Judaic and early Christian writings. Such stuff is not everyone's cup of tea, but, hey, this is my field.

But the last chapter, where Gagnon takes on what all the scholars say who interpret the Bible in order to excuse homosexual practice, is just mind-choking. We're no longer talking linguistics, literature, textual analysis. We're talking logic. Claim and counterclaim. Begging questions, missing the point, logical fallacies. And every. single. claim raised by the scholars who have sounded off on this must be picked apart and answered, in excruciating and repetitive detail. The mind reels.

Anyway, it's an important book. It's just not an easy read, especially the last chapter.

  • Mene, mene

    I have made the case before that church budgets are a very poor indicator of spiritual productivity. The actual work product of the church is the…

  • On Baptism, Part II

    In the first part of this essay, we reviewed the practice of baptism in the New Testament and the Early Church, up until the High Middle Ages. By…

  • On Baptism, Part I

    I come from a part of the country where Baptists and Restorationists (e.g., Campbellites, inter alia) form a big part of the religious landscape. I…

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.