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Love Lost in Translation: Homosexuality and the Bible Paperback – 6 Jun 2013

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Product details

  • Paperback: 786 pages
  • Publisher: Trafford (6 Jun. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1466987901
  • ISBN-13: 978-1466987906
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 5 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,091,212 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

K. Renato Lings holds degrees in Spanish, Translation Studies, and Theology. In addition to studying Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Nahuatl (Aztec), he has written and taught extensively on biblical interpretation, translation, and issues relating to gender and sexuality.

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Format: Paperback
As a gay man, academically interested in History of Ideas I had pre-determined my approach to homosexuality and the Bible. This approach had two distinct streams to it.

Firstly, taking Paul's powerful mission of inclusion best argued in his attitude towards circumcision as my guide, I thought it unlikely that Paul would have in mind excluding various classes of people from Gods Grace by merely drawing attention to them from time to time in short lists of unapproved bad behaviour. I understand Paul as saying that (a) it's the behaviour not the person that Paul disapproves of, and that (b) Paul is driven by his sense of imminent parousia and he therefore focusses on matters of pressing immediacy in his letters, he does not make wide social comments about systemic injustice or institutionalised attitudes to the human condition and finally (c) therefore there must be something in these lists of bad behaviour that points directly to events right in front of Paul, and so perhaps it is the slave boys offerings sexual favours in the bathhouses that upsets him*.

Secondly, I take seriously Cyril Rodd's admonition in 'Glimpses of a Strange Land'. Is it reasonable to scrutinise an occasional letter written two thousand years ago and in another country (almost another world) in order to find 'excuses' to disadvantage, disenfranchise and abuse anyone today? If the Ancient Near East generally didn't like 'queers' is that sufficient reason for us to dislike them too? Rodd does not say, but he forces me to say, should I take Paul's message to be a call to a better place or a return to a worse one?

And so I started to read 'Love Lost in Translation' without much hope of finding something that would give me a new way of understanding the issue.
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This is a scholarly and careful piece of research into the languages of Hebrew, Greek and Latin, used in many editions of the Bible. Each story that is generally assumed to deal with, or comment on homosexuality - or homoerotic relationships as linguist Renato Lings prefers to call them - is examined in detail. Mistranslations are identified, which he demonstrates occurred early and have become part of Christian church traditions. Each chapter is clearly presented and can be understood by the lay and clerical reader. It demonstrates meticulous scholarship by a painstaking linguist: clearly referenced and including discussion of earlier research. Highly recommended to all who are vexed by the questions and opinions that arise regarding homosexuality and the Bible and a must for all ordinates.
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Format: Paperback
Love Lost in Translation: Homosexuality and the Bible
I have studied and read many books and articles on the topic of the Bible and Homosexuality and have been amazed at how much this book was able to teach me. On first appearances the size of the book may look very daunting but Renato Lings deals with the topic in such a straightforward way that reading is easy. It accomplishes what many authors fail to achieve, the dissemination of in depth knowledge in an accessible format.
The formula of stating what will be covered in each chapter, covering that topic and then summarising what was covered makes it very easy to follow the discourse even though Renato takes us back to the original languages and cross references various sources to put everything into context.
Unlike many books on this topic, this is not apologetic in style as Renato clearly states his findings and always leaves the reader to make their own conclusions.
Regardless of your opinion on homosexuality this book is a must read.
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Format: Paperback
Having read the entire book I am deeply impressed at the quality of Ling's research and the thoroughness with which he has treated the subject. Whilst some will not wish to agree with his analysis for a variety of reasons, Ling's provides compelling evidence that many translations of the Bible (especially those regarded as 'popular') are flawed in their approach to the matter of homosexuality due to the way in which translators view the subject. His painstaking research into texts reveals the prejudice with which motivate some, if not many, translators.
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Why is this issue so important?: young non-believers ....when asked to express their personal impressions of Christians in the United States..... the majority said that they found Christians to be (a) anti-gay, b) intolerant, and (c) hypocritical. This survey succinctly reflects how the current negative attitude towards homo- and bisexuality inherited from medieval theology is perceived by non-Christians. In a number of cases, this perception is accurate...., the rejection of homoerotic relationships ranks as fundamental doctrine, having virtually become the touchstone of Christian orthodoxy.

We forget, at our peril, that most Christian scholarship and teaching is not based on the original text of the Hebrew bible. For Christians, it was the Greek translation, the Septuagint. This is quoted in the New Testament and was translated into the Latin Vulgate. So the whole edifice of Christian teaching is based on a translation of a translation so it shouldn't be surprising to discover that Judaism sees things very differently (e.g. they have no notion of `original sin') and that modern translators read this teaching back into their work on the Hebrew texts. (The protestant notion of `scripture alone' was not a reference to supposed inerrancy but to the aim to disentangle teaching from the Latin and based on the original languages only - but they were too imprisoned in a mind set that made them unable to about reading into the texts their inherited presuppositions.)

Older translations like the KJV tried to find equivalent words whereas more recent translations follow the `dynamic' approach whereby the general `meaning' is conveyed - but if you are reading into it your own particular `meaning' then your translation isn't even worthy of being called a `paraphrase'.
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