Tuesday, March 02, 2004
What Nibley did not anticipate (to the best of my memory) is the role of the Angels with regards to sex. This is odd as he wrote practically an entire book on the subject (Enoch the Prophet). Yet it seems to me that the story and discussion in Jude really read quite well in light of I Enoch and some of its associated literature. Recall that Jude is the only other place in the NT where I Enoch is directly referenced, so we know those general topics were on the author’s mind.
Monday, March 01, 2004
The sin of S&G is that they want to transgress the laws of hospitality to strangers. In fact, this is the only sin that S&G are accused of committing in the Bible.
I think that if you look at the New Testament, the meaning of the sin of S&G has taken on a more expansive reading. For example, Jude warns a congregation in his epistle against "certain men crept in unawares" (Jude 1:4) and notes that they are "filthy dreamers" who are "Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the evengeance of eternal fire." (Jude 1:7) This passage seems to link S&G directly with "fornication" and "strange flesh" without any reference to hospitality or rape. Furthermore, even in earlier biblical sources, the S&G story may have a broader meaning. For example, Deut. 23:7 contains a prohibtion against "sodomites," although I confess that I do not know the underlying Hebrew word that is being translated here. It may have no connection to Sodom. An even weaker, but still arguable claim is the link that Jer. 23:14 makes between the adultery of Jerusalem and the sin of S&G, although admittedly the rhetoric of adultery in the prophetic literature is complicated.
Thus, while I agree with the Historian's basic textual reading of the Genesis narrative, I think that the broader biblical interpretation of this story is a bit more complicated that he makes it. However, he rightly points out that the biblical interpretation of the passage is also more multifaceted than the current rhetoric over SSM suggests.
The lesson from S&G is: don't have sex with angels, don't break the laws of hospitality, and don't rape people. I don't see anything about consenting males having sex in this story.