Journal Article

Queer Sects in Patristic Commentaries on Romans 1:26–27: Goddess Cults, Free Will, and “Sex Contrary to Nature”?

Jeramy Townsley

in Journal of the American Academy of Religion

Published on behalf of American Academy of Religion

Volume 81, issue 1, pages 56-79
Published in print March 2013 | ISSN: 0002-7189
Published online November 2012 | e-ISSN: 1477-4585 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jaarel/lfs086
Queer Sects in Patristic Commentaries on Romans 1:26–27: Goddess Cults, Free Will, and “Sex Contrary to Nature”?

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This article provides evidence that Romans 1:26b–27 was interpreted by the early Christian church as a reference to the sexual practices of the goddess cults, and was used as an attack on polytheistic religions, not a reference to homosexuality. I clarify the rhetorical usefulness of the goddess cults for the early church in making the antipolytheistic case in relation to the Patristic contrast between free will and determinism. While the early church did not originally interpret Romans 1:26b as female homogenitality, a transition to this view is apparent as the Western Roman Empire began to collapse. A queer theory lens is incorporated into the discussion about Romans 1 by introducing cultural practices of gender, sexuality, and religion uncommon today.

Journal Article.  7986 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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