I’m breaking this up in 2 parts. (Questions 1-4) and (Questions 5-7)
“Premarital virginity, for example, was incumbent only upon females; there is no indication that males were expected to be virgins at marriage, and there is no provision in the Hebrew Bible for lifelong virginity.” (reference Deut 22.13 – 21) –Oxford Companion
“Our faith space, personal and communal, can only be liberatory when it permits us to be fully human, sexuality and all.”–CAH
Incidentally, I also finished the book “God and Sex: What the Bible Really says” by biblical scholar Michael Coogan and thought I would tackle both the book and article in tandem.
It is no secret that I’m interested in the integration of sexuality + spirituality and the history of sexual mores within the context of religion.
The commentors over at the original post kinda scare me. Their venomous replies and comments about someone else’s body and sexuality were telling. I cringe when folks try to tell others what to do, “in Jesus’ name” because most times they look like ambassadors of doctrine rather than disciples of Jesus. Where’s the Love? lol.
So, after reading the post, the book, as well as what the commentors had to say, I had quite a few smarty pants questions.
Why are we so fixated with what we perceive as sexual ‘sin’?
“[Jesus] seems to have been more concerned with interpersonal dynamics and with humans’ relationship with God than with sexual mores.” — Michael Coogan
We, us in the religious community, place a HIGH premium on ‘sexual’ sin. We are overly obsessed and overly concerned with our sexual organs—and what other folks are doing with their genitalia. [Please, do a bit of research on the origins of our sexual sin obsession to check that out. Think Original Sin, etc]
In unrelenting and passionate terms, we list all of the sexual stuff that we believe God hates. Premarital sex and homosexuality are the biggest hot buttons. Then we try to back up our disdain for the hot buttons by misquoting and misinterpreting scripture.
We rattle off a sexual sin rule book–but how many of us even understand the original rules and codes [i.e. the original, cultural context and meaning of the Levitical codes, Paul’s letter to Corinth, Jesus’ teaching on divorce]
We boldly lament: God has to hate sex because…clearly it’s in THE BIBLE. And the bible is…[the infalliable, complete, word of God] the inspired word of God?
But, is that, really, the real deal???
Why do we make Human Stuff [morality], God stuff [holiness]?
Holiness: as defined as set apart by God? [Holiness is not a set of legalistic rules]
They are not the same thing. So, why do we do that?
What is the ‘sexual’ sin of fornication, really?
Welp, did you know there is no word in the original Hebrew bible that defines how WE presently define fornication. The original Hebrew and Greek words for fornication are Zanah and Porneia [where we get the word p0rn from] [Source Here] It’s original definition had to do with harlotry, idolatry [Here]
In fact, “When the writers of Scripture wrote of ‘porneia’ they did not have in mind singles sex, but the kind of temple prostitution that was rampant in Corinth and many other cities of the ancient world.” [Source]
The New Testament Canon preserves two of Paul’s letters to the Corinthians. Corinth was a rich and populous city that catered to pleasure-seekers and idolaters alike. Paul’s converts from the city represented a cross section of the populace. There were, “fornicators [prostitutes], idolaters, adulterers, sexual deviants, thieves, drunks, slanderers and swindlers” (I Corinthians 6:9-10). A smattering of more elegant types – Crispus, Erastus and Chloe – completed the picture.
Want to read more? [Here]
Hey, where are the male virgins in the bible? Oh wait, there were none. #swindle
“Premarital virginity was incumbent only upon females; there is no indication that males were expected to be virgins at marriage, and there is no provision in the Hebrew Bible for lifelong virginity.” (Deut 22.13 – 21 for reference) –The Oxford Companion to the Bible
Additionally, Mike Coogan wrote:
“We find frequent references [in the Hebrew Bible] to women who have not known a man, but never to a man who has not known a woman. In all of the laws concerning marriage and rape, a man’s previous sexual history is never an issue, only a woman’s.”
How is this even so? Why the pre-martial double standard?
Well, it’s because a woman was the property of the men in her life: her daddy then her husband. A woman’s untouched vajayjay was a premium. Nope, she did not own her body or her love box. Instead, it all belonged to her pops–then her hubby. And that hubby had to pay for her love [via a bride price, or a dowry].
I guess, there is no surprise there. Even in our modern day, western society, the woman’s sexuality is still a prize. [as it should be?]
As an aside, I always thought the evangelical father/daughter purity rituals were a little creepy. But after reading the book, I am disgusted with the idea that anybody, besides the woman who lives in her body, could own her sex. Gross.