New York Times Twists Leviticus 18 to Support Homosexual Activity
This month, America's newspaper of record — The New York Times — published an article suggesting that Leviticus 18, one of the clearest passages condemning same-sex activity in the Bible, was altered, and that the original version was pro-homosexual.
This was based on no groundbreaking archaeological discovery, no proof. But that's not how the article reads.
"There is good evidence that an earlier version of the laws in Leviticus 18 permitted sex between men," argued Idan Dershowitz, a biblical scholar and junior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows. "In addition to having the prohibition against same-sex relations added to it, the earlier text, I believe, was revised in an attempt to obscure any implication that same-sex relations had once been permissible."
In "The Secret History of Leviticus," the New York Times writer presented no evidence, but approached the text with an a priori assumption — that it was "created gradually over a long period and includes the words of more than one writer." On this basis, he deconstructed the text, suggesting an "earlier version" of Leviticus for which there is absolutely no evidence, save in his own imagination.
Dr. C. John "Jack" Collins, the Old Testament chair for the English Standard Version of the Bible, told PJ Media the New York Times article "sounds like a conclusion in search of an argument."
David Bennett, a fellow at the Oxford Centre of Christian Apologetics and author of the forthcoming book "A War of Loves: The Unexpected Story of a Gay Activist Discovering Jesus," explained that Dershowitz "assumes a textual history for which he has no actual evidence at all. It is at best conjecture, worst an eisegetical twisting of the text." (Eisegesis, as opposed to exegesis, is a process of interpreting a text like the Bible in such a way that your own presuppositions, agendas, or biases are read into the text.)
"There is an assumption in the article that same-sex activity was condoned before in Israel with no actual evidence of that being the case (archaeologically or otherwise)," Bennett noted. "This is an argument largely from silence — one has to construct a textual story that simply isn't able to be substantiated."
So what does Leviticus 18 say? The passage outlaws a whole host of sexual practices, listing various forms of incest, adultery, sacrificing children to Molech, and bestiality. Verse 22 states, "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination."
Dershowitz argued, however, that the "original" Leviticus 18 did allow for same-sex activity, and "can be uncovered with a little detective work." He argued that the "core" of the passage is the incest laws (verses 6-18), and that the phrase "uncover nakedness" just means a euphemism for intercourse.