This agenda-setting text has been fully revised in its second edition, with coverage extended into the Christian era. It remains the most comprehensive and engaging introduction to the sexual cultures of ancient Greece and Rome. Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required. To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number. I already look forward to the possibility of future editions.
The Bible and Same Sex Relationships, Part 7: Graeco-Roman culture and homosexuality
3 Awful Features of Roman Sexual Morality - Tim Challies
James Robson does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under Creative Commons licence. A new exhibition at the British Museum promises to lift the lid on what beauty meant for the ancient Greeks. But while we gaze at the serene marble statues on display — straining male torsos and soft female flesh — are we seeing what the ancients saw? The feelings that beautiful faces and bodies rouse in us no doubt seem both personal and instinctive — just as they presumably did for the ancient Greeks who first made and enjoyed these artworks. But our reactions are inevitably shaped by the society we live in.
Yet today we are experiencing a sexual revolution that has seen society deliberately throwing off the Christian sexual ethic. Things that were once forbidden are now celebrated. Things that were once considered unthinkable are now deemed natural and good. Christians are increasingly seen as backward, living out an ancient, repressive, irrelevant morality. But this is hardly the first time Christians have lived out a sexual ethic that clashed with the world around them.
There are three verses that reference same-gender sexual activity directly, and some references by Jesus to the form of marriage made in response to a question about divorce. Before we deal with each of these verses in turn, we need to understand the prevailing culture of the Graeco-Roman world in which the NT was written. This context is vital to our own understanding of the Biblical texts we will look at.