Certain passages in the bible, or the Old Testament (The Torah for Jews) and the New Testament. have been used to condemn gay love and gay people. However, a deeper look at the Torah, when translating it in its original Hebrew, shows that this "condemnation" is not based on what has been said, but how it has been interpreted.
What exactly does the Torah say about gay love in its original Hebrew language? The answer is far more ambiguous than many think. We need to go back to the original sources, and go beyond the New Testament translations, which make assumptions about the meaning of certain terms which do not reflect the original context. Whenever a source document is translated into another language, meanings of words alter a bit to reflect current opinions and inclinations.
|One of the most Homoerotic Poems Ever Written|
In order to explain this, the Old Testament as recognized by Christianity is not a translation of the original Torah written in Hebrew about 2,500 - 3,000 years ago. What it is is a translation of the Septuagint, which is a translation of the original Hebrew document into ancient Greek about 2,300 years ago. Judaism has rejected the Septuagint translations of the Torah for over 1,500 years as being accurate.
The Old and New Testaments were written in ancient Greek, and then translated AGAIN into Latin, and then into other languages such as English (the King James Version of the Bible). Words change and lose their correct meaning when such translations occur, and entire translations lose meaning as a result.
Does the Torah condemn all same-sex relationships?
No it does not. Many Rabbis and other biblical scholars now think that the "prohibition" against same-sex relationship actually was a prohibition against the practice of temple prostitution which was prevalent in the pagan cultures that surrounded the monotheistic Hebrews. The story of Sodom and Gomorrah, used by certain religious conservatives, now is though of as a condemnation against child pederasty, not against same-sex loving loving committed relationships.
Some go as far as to say that there is no prohibition against committed same-sex relationships in the Torah, but against abusive same-sex relationships involving children and slaves as practiced in the Greek and Roman worlds. To read more, look here:
Judaism, unlike Christianity, does not require that an enjoyment of sex be procreative. Sex can be enjoyed on its own merits, and is not intrinsically dirty or evil. This is why anal sex is not specifically prohibited, for example. What is important is that it take place in a mutually loving relationship, and without abuse.
Some of the most erotic and wonderful poetry ever written concerning love between men can be found in the Torah, most notably the Song of Songs. Even Orthodox Jews recognize this and try to come to terms with this. What they do not do is say "well, they are really talking about heterosexual sex". The original Hebrew talks about love between men, and that is that -- no ifs, ands, or buts about it! Here are some of the highlights:
"The song of songs, which is Solomon's"
I hear my love, see how he comes
leaping on the mountains,
bounding over the hills.
My love is like a gazelle,
like a young stag.
Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth,
for your love-making is sweeter than wine.
In his delightful shade I sit,
and his fruit is sweet to my taste.
My love is mine and I am his.
My beloved is all radiant and ruddy, distinguished among ten thousand.
His head is the finest gold; his locks are wavy, black as a raven.
His eyes are like doves beside springs of water, bathed in milk, fitly set.
His cheeks are like beds of spices, yielding fragrance.
His lips are lilies, distilling liquid myrrh.
His arms are rounded gold, set with jewels.
His body is ivory work, encrusted with sapphires.
His legs are alabaster columns, set upon bases of gold.
His appearance is like Lebanon, choice as the cedars.
His speech is most sweet, and he is altogether desirable.
This is my beloved and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.