A leading Bible scholar has claimed that passages in the Bible originally permitted gay sex – before passages were added calling it an ‘abomination’.

The extraordinary claim from Harvard fellow and Biblical scholar Idan Dershowitz calls into question the text of Leviticus that have been used to justify centuries of religious homophobia.



Leviticus 18:22 states: “You shall not lie with a man as with a woman; it is an abomination.”

Anti-gay protesters quote from Leviticus to oppose equal marriage (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty)

However, Dershowitz believes the Bible’s teachings on the subject may have once read very differently.

Writing in the New York Times, he explained: “Like many ancient texts, Leviticus was created gradually over a long period and includes the words of more than one writer.

“Many scholars believe that the section in which Leviticus 18 appears was added by a comparatively late editor, perhaps one who worked more than a century after the oldest material in the book was composed.”

He added: “There is good evidence that an earlier version of the laws in Leviticus 18 permitted sex between men.

“In addition to having the prohibition against same-sex relations added to it, the earlier text, I believe, was revised in an attempt to obscure any implication that same-sex relations had once been permissible.”

Dershowitz says the biggest clue about the shifting status of gay sex is in the incest laws of Leviticus, which details a list of relatives with whom you are not allowed to have sex, and shows “strong evidence of editorial intervention”.

More from PinkNews

Stars You Didn't Know Were Gay Or Bisexual The Stars You Didn’t Know Have An LGBT Sibling The Straight Stars Who Went Gay For Pay

The red flag is in passages forbidding sex with female relatives that bear clear signs they were originally meant to refer to male relatives as well.

Dershowitz explained: “The presence of an exception indicates the existence of a broader rule. For example, a sign declaring an office to be closed on Sundays suggests that the office is open on all other days of the week.

“Now, apply this principle to Leviticus 18: A law declaring that homosexual incest is prohibited could reasonably be taken to indicate that non-incestuous homosexual intercourse is permitted.

“A lawmaker is unlikely to specify that murdering one’s father is against the law if there is already a blanket injunction against murder.

“By the same token, it’s not necessary to stipulate that sex between two specific men is forbidden if a categorical prohibition against sex between men is already on the books.”

(ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty)

He postulates that when a later writer added the ban on gay sex, they revised the incest laws to cover the now-illogical injunctions, “that made sense when sex between men was otherwise allowed.”

Subsequent condemnations of homosexuality in the Bible are largely constrained to people quoting the rules set down in Leviticus

The scholar added: “One can only imagine how different the history of civilization might have been had the earlier version of Leviticus 18’s laws entered the biblical canon.”

Of course, plenty of other things accepted in the modern day are banned by Leviticus.




Read This: The Celebrities That You Didn’t Realise Are Gay