Bible Review 10:2, April 1994

Readers Reply

Bible Review

It’s an Abomination for Everyone

While I always find Jacob Milgrom’s scholarship compelling and profoundly human and wise, his recent column “Does the Bible Prohibit Homosexuality?” BR 09:06, is, for me, uncharacteristic of his outstanding writing.

Milgrom contends that the Torah’s laws are directed only toward Israel, and the Noahide restrictions are, for Milgrom, projections of the rabbinic mind upon ancient Israel. Consequently, he argues that Hebrew Scripture does not “prohibit” homosexuality to non-Israelites.

According to a literal reading, of Scripture, homosexuality is a to’evah, usually rendered “abomination.” The fact that Scripture does not directly address the non-chosen does not mean that God does not hold all humankind accountable for basic morality. By defining homosexuality as to’evah, Leviticus condemns it not only for Israel.

Milgrom’s attempt to ameliorate the plight of the homosexual is a reflex of his gentle humanity. The rabbinic sages taught that debates entertained for the sake of heaven will endure. So will Milgrom’s fine writing.

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