The book of Leviticus from the Hebrew Bible is often referenced when discussing the LGBTQ+ community and related topics. This project offers historical, literary, and etymological analyses of Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, exploring cultural and thematic similarities between Leviticus, the Avestan Vendidad of ancient Persia, and the Book of the Watchers in 1 Enoch. The influential views of other ancient Near Eastern cultures and the growing Persian culture during the time of the Exile establish a tolerant cultural background for the Levitical authors and for the Hebrew Bible. Moreover, the exilic priests who finalized the laws within Leviticus did not perceive gay orientations or identities as contemporary cultures often do. The paper argues that the verses are concerned with specific sexual acts between male-bodied individuals, in particular circumstances, rather than with a sweeping indictment of gay orientations and identities. More broadly, the paper suggests that enforcing secular laws based on singular, unintelligible religious laws and ignoring the historical context of the original texts has led to immeasurable violence condemned in other parts of the Bible.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.