A New Documentary Claims the Word ‘Homosexual’ in the Bible is a Recent Mistranslation.

Matthew C. Woodruff

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1946 Movie Title(marketing photo - public license)

Ask any Christian – the Apostle Paul clearly wrote that ‘homosexuals’ would not enter the kingdom of heaven in 1 Corinthians 6:9.

Or did he?

A new film titled "1946: The Mistranslation That Shifted Culture", claims that the word “homosexual” is only listed as a sin in the Bible because of a mistranslation that happened only 76 years ago.

The film explains, the word “homosexual” didn’t appear in the Bible until 1946, when a committee gathered to update the English language version of the text from Greek. It was during this translation – for the Revised Standard Version (RSV) – that committee made a critical error that would become the launching pad for decades of faith-fueled homophobia, the documentary claims. Years after the translation, when the mistake was pointed out by a 21 year old seminary student, the committee recognized and attempted to correct it.

the Greek word “arsenokoitai” was mistranslated as “homosexual,” when it would more accurately refer to child sex abusers of either gender. In fact, Luther’s German translation of 1 Corinthians 6:9, uses the word Knabenschänder, or “boy molester” rather than the typical idea of homosexual found in modern translations and the 1611 version of the King James Bible does not use the word ‘homosexual’, but translates 1 Corinthians 6:9 as, “nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind.”

The film takes a journalistic, academic approach to substantiating these claims. Poring over thousands of historical documents, centuries of ancient texts, and Bible translations in many languages, the experts in the film conclude that two Greek words were mistranslated to mean homosexual. One more accurately means effeminate. The other connotes a person who was a sexual abuser and who had harmed someone. The film makers insist this is a real issue of a mistranslation.

Why is this so important?

What followed is well documented: the rise of the moral majority and the demonization of gay people by many evangelical Christians in the 1980s. A wave of ‘gay panic’ brought on by the AIDS crisis solidified the gay community as an "unbiblical" group. By then, there was no turning back. The rise of Christian Nationalism today and the continuing efforts to restrict the rights and freedoms of Gay persons, based only on this religious belief that their lifestyle is ‘immoral’.

Is it possible that the source of Christian hatred toward the LGBT community comes down to a simple, and recent, translation error?

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Matthew is a free-lance journalist, and an internationally award-winning author best known for Dark Humor/Lite Horror/Supernatural short stories, as well as an ordained minister who served as a domestic missionary. He is a lover of the unusual, travel, cats and the spark that makes people tick. Matthew is based in Florida, USA.

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