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What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality
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What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  402 ratings  ·  31 reviews
Does God's word in the Bible really condemn homosexuality?...... Top scholars--like the late John Boswell of Yale, Daniel Boyarin of Berkeley, Bernadette Brooten of Brandeis, L.William Countryman of the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, Victor P. Furnish of SMU, Saul M. Olyan of Brown and Robin Scruggs of Union Theological Seminary--show that those who per ...more
Paperback, 152 pages
Published May 1st 2000 by Alamo Square Press (first published 1994)
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Jun 23, 2008 Heather rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: christians and faith-based queers :)
granted this is a 13-year old review BUT...this book was pivotal for me. i was deeply faithful, attending a baptist college, and coming to terms with my orientation. thank goodness for the library staff's foresight in adding this to their collection. the critical, reflective analysis here made a difficult transition much easier. highly recommended to anyone struggling with this particular issue.
I know this book has been around awhile now, but I've only just discovered it...and now that I have, my thought is, "Finally!" An intelligent response to the fundamentalists who believe that their "The Bible says it's wrong" argument is the final word on sexual morality. The book offers a summary of biblical scholarly study that argues that the meaning of oft-quoted passages is not as clear as the Falwells of the world would have you think. First of all pointing out that the meaning of some word ...more
I am reading this less for myself than for my Christian parents who I am currently in the process of coming out to. (I say "in the process" because I literally am in an awkward half-out-of-the-closet-but-not-really limbo. It's weird. And complicated.)

I've been convicted for a while you can be of the Christian faith AND be gay, but I am reading books on the subject in the hopes of further clarifying my position. The object also is to hopefully someday give such books to my parents.

That being sai
One of the most honest examinations of the Bible and homosexuality I've read yet.

The book doesn't try to define exactly what the Bible does say on homosexuality, but rather what it doesn't. Sometimes Helminiak will come right out with his criticism of bad exegesis, i.e., in helping put to rest that useless myth about Sodom being destroyed for it's homosexual populace. It wasn't; only the more virulent anti-gay lynch mobs out there still insist it was. Other times, the author recognizes uncertain
Collin Flake
I opened this book expecting a scholarly, if brief, overview of the defense of homosexual relationships based in scripture. But it turns out the title of Helminiak's book, complete with italics and all, is not simply a clever, trite way of drawing in readers to a serious analysis, but rather an indicator of the obnoxious tone of the entire book. Helminiak's hermeneutical analysis is shallow, condescending, and unoriginal. While the basic argument in this debate are framed for the reader, they ar ...more
with a forward written by Jon Spong, this book offers an incredible insight to the variance of a literal and interpretive understanding of the Bible. Offers the perspective of a large movement of ivy league scholars digging into every aspect of the Bible....primarily into the context of when the Bible was written and how the message translated then opposed to how it translates in our current society. Wait for it...polar opposites. Surprised? You shouldn't be.
I have to say after reading this years ago it helped me grow closer to God and now that I attend a gay church i'm able to let go the old teachings about homosexuality and know that God makes no mistakes and that he doesn't hate me. Going to a Bible study about homosexuality in the Bible in recommended this book to the other ppl attending, I hope it helps them the way it helped me.
I thumbed through this book a couple of times and have been disappointed every time. The book isn't scholarly at all. It really doesn't dive into the issues in depth. Being an older book it uses some arguments that have been thoroughly debunked. I would recommend you leave this one on the self.
Julie Morrow
So far, I feel the writer is very informed. He has obviously done his research by studying the etymology of the old Hebrew and Greek words in an attempt to extrapolate the original meaning of biblical texts that have often been utilized to condemn homosexuality.
Great for anyone who doesn't want to read through John Boswell's scholarly efforts. You can be gay and Christian, if that's an issue for you.
Jean Marie Angelo
This is a short book, but a ponderous read. I have to rate it hightly because it is the first book to my knowledge that tackled to a broad audience the perceptions and misperceptions about scripture and homosexuality. This was a game-changer for many of the LGBT Christians who I knew. Helminiak tackles the passages are are pulled out routinely to zap us, passages in Genesis, Leviticus, and Romans, among them. The author, a former Roman Catholic priest, makes the case that numerous translations t ...more
A very interesting read; it challenges the "traditional" views dominating the current ideas and beliefs of conservative Christianity. Although I am no scholar, the argument presented is persuasive. Hopefully this book will supply understanding and give a new perspective to individuals who find it difficult or impossible to accept one’s sexual preference.


“Custom was turned into the law of God. A matter of mere social inconvenience was turned into a matter of morality.”

“In all those case
Paul Froehlich
Daniel Helminiak analyzes all seven Biblical texts on homosexuality. He concludes his analysis this way: “The Bible takes no direct stand on the morality of homo-genital acts as such nor on the morality of gay and lesbian relationships.” Christians of good will can disagree, but they must refute Helminiak’s scholarship if they hope to persuade.
Jul 25, 2007 Kaye rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Christians
Shelves: religion
The author does a good job of picking apart the few phrases throughout the bible that seemingly condemn homosexuality. In many of the cases, the writer (of the particular book within the bible) seems to be making a point of something not being socially acceptable, rather than sinful. In some interpretations, phrases such as "unnatural relations" have been later edited to mean homosexuality, when the actual word could be more directly translated to "not in the usual way." So, does not in the usua ...more
Rodney Farrell Sr
Written by a Catholic priest, Helminiak, cautions readers not to view Biblical teachings as the definitive understanding of sexual ethics. He believes an accurate and thorough study of scriptures will reveal "the Bible supplies no real basis for the condemnation of homosexuality."

As an Anabaptist, an evangelical and a Mennonite I wanted to further understand the Biblical perspective of same sex relations. Helminiak discusses the often used Bible references cited as prohibitions to homosexuality
Dale Rosenberg
Another source for my David and Jonathan paper. Shallow and poorly sourced.
This book is written from an historical academic perspective by a former Catholic priest. Brief & to the point, Helmeniak delves into the most ancient biblical translations that are closest to the original Aramaic. I got to see him speak, and I actually enjoyed his speaking style better than the book, but still a good read and a good recommendation for Christians, especially Catholics, who would like to know more about what the Bible REALLY says about homosexuality.
Zero vi Britannia
Jul 26, 2013 Zero vi Britannia marked it as to-read
Shelves: lgbt
Top scholars such as Yale history professor John Boswell and New Testament professors L. William Countryman of Berkeley and Robin Scroggs of Union Theological Seminary show that those who perceive Bible passages as condemning homosexuality are being misled by faulty translation and poor interpretation.

I told you so! Don't wanna brag, but you already know. Oh oh oh!
Natasha (Diarist) Holme
Apr 21, 2012 Natasha (Diarist) Holme rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Homophobic Christians and people who need to deal with them
Shelves: lgbt, lesbian, sex
A nice try and some interesting arguments. It's always good to have more means of parrying the blows of homophobic Christians. But I can't help feeling that if the Bible really were the word of God, it would be much clearer and kinder to gay people, and that the better solution would be to leave the Bible behind.
Emma Ziegler

Great read, very thoughtful analysis of passages usually taken at face value. The writing style wasn't my favorite and at times his suggestions seemed to be stretching the scripture a bit, but overall it was one of the best engagements with this topic that I've read.
Talyseon Talyseon
This volume saved my faith. It helped reconcile me and my church. It is the best book I have read in the past 20 years. Check out my full review: What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality
Laura Helmick
This is a really great look into the passages of the Bible that pertain to the current debate on homosexuality. A must read for anyone who wants to know more about this current hot button issue.
Dobra książka, wszystko z wyjaśnieniami kontekstu itp. Początkowo chciałem dużo przytoczyć ale to chyba nie ma sensu, najlepiej przeczytać całość, bo kilka zdań tu nic nie wyjaśni :)
Christopher Broadwell
Quick read providing alternate exegesis (to be sure, more historical-critical) on the typical "texts of terror." Helminiak is a boss, though more-so in other texts.
Very clear interpretations that run counter to the traditional clobber passages. One of the things that helped reconcile my sexuality and faith.
Virgowriter (Brad Windhauser)
Very interesting, well reasoned examination about what the bible does and mostly doesn't say about homosexuality.
A really good start for someone who is really wanting to seek a wider view of what the Bible says about Homosexuality.
Pretty much the best introductory book on the subject that I've read.
Anthony Venn-Brown
Daniel tackles these issues intelligently and with personal insight
Malcolm McPherson
homosexuality, christian, bible, gay, lesbian
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