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Featured Does porneia (usually translated as sexual immorality or fornication) go too far or not far enough

Discussion in 'Controversial Christian Theology' started by Marc Perry, Oct 5, 2020.

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  1. Marc Perry

    Marc Perry Member

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    Prostitute could just as easily make sense in the Hosea passage (play the prostitute makes more sense than play the fornicator). I don't feel like looking into the Hebrew right now.

    I did come across the Demosthenes quote. This quote, while it can be taken the way your describing, can still be interpreted using a metaphorical use of prostitution. Especaily since it's an insult. Maybe (allowed himself to be 'screwed' by other men).
    There is also De falso legatione 144, and Fals. leg. 233. They are all insults and do not rule out the possibility that it was used metaphorically. If this was something that someone could be charged with, wouldn't we have clear, non-insult, cases of people being charged with it? I'd imagine there would have been tons of sexual crimes, yet it's not there.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2020
  2. Marc Perry

    Marc Perry Member

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    I was trying to use your word. Guess I had no idea what it meant and dang google autocorrect. lol.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2020
  3. buzuxi02

    buzuxi02 Veteran

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    Your looking at the word porni to strictly. We know words change and meanings expand. Also saying since prostitution is being condemned only, so any sexual relation is condoned as long as money is not exchanged; presupposes the ancient greek peasants had many outlets to sexually indulge in as in freely dating and going to the bars to hook up. Other that being whored out or getting married were the only 2 choices you had. Also the Greeks had two words to refer to prostitutes; that is porni and hetaira.
    This is one of the reasons why porni is not found in abundance in ancient greek literature, they mostly used the other word.
    Most scholars believe the hetaira were the upscale hookers, a courtesan, a high priced charming and educated escort. While the porni was the uneducated poor streetwalker or the unsanitary brothel worker. Pornia was unrespectful a perversion. But hetairai was was also used collectively for all prostitutes. An article on it:
    Inventing the "Hetaira": Sex, Politics, and Discursive Conflict in Archaic Greece on JSTOR

    In scripture the word porni covers all sorts of illicit and taboo sex acts because it was not glamourized like the other word. There is an article which posits the whore (porni) of babylon in Revelation actually resembles more an hetaira than the typical porni, but that status is of no concern in scripture.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2020
  4. Marc Perry

    Marc Perry Member

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    I want to go off topic a bit because I'm really happy a native Greek speaker has joined this thread.

    I really want to learn how to read Greek. Do you know of any online resources I can use?
     
  5. Marc Perry

    Marc Perry Member

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    But no one has shown me where, in the Greek world, the word cannot be taken to mean some form of prostitution. The closest thing are those three phrases from Demosthenes, and it was used as an insult and if could be taken as a metaphor. In the LXX it was used as a metaphor for idolatry, so we know that this word can be used as a metaphor. I'm thinking of the word 'wh*re'.

    Plus, there are tax documents of brothels, where the word for prostitute uses a form of that word and so does pimp. If porneia encompassed many meanings, why would they use it on paperwork as important as tax documents. Wouldn't they want the most specific word possible so they could keep the most accurate books?

    No one has been able to show me that. I have looked hard. In every case I found, outside Judeo-Christianity, the word either literally means some form of prostitution, or can be used as a metaphor (Albeit arguably at some times. But still arguably, and there are few cases).
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2020
  6. Marc Perry

    Marc Perry Member

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    I read your comment again, and it actually is an argument in my favor. They may have used the other word much more often, but if porneia had a more general meaning of 'sexual immorality' then it would encompass more of a meaning than 'hetaira' (I assume hetaira just refers to prostitution. Please correct me if I'm wrong). It would, arguably but well arguably, have been used more often.
     
  7. Marc Perry

    Marc Perry Member

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    Which scripture? It's not used that way in the LXX. Everything in the new testament can be explained as prostitution or as a metaphor for adultery (which happens in the LXX at times).

    As a side note,
    The metaphor part is really interesting because it may explain why some of the Jews started throwing more words into it until it started to become just 'sexual immorality, however one defines it'. That's just my own thought, though. I haven't read that anywhere and definitely don't have proof.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2020
  8. Der Alte

    Der Alte This is me about 1 yr. old. Supporter

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    I offer yet another orthodox POV.
    Matthew 5:32 but I tell you that whoever divorces his wife (except for the case of sexual immorality), makes her an adulteress; and whoever marries a woman put away in this manner commits adultery.
    Cleenewerck, L. (Ed.). (2011). The Eastern/Greek Orthodox Bible: New Testament (Mt 5:31–32). Laurent A. Cleenewerck.
     
  9. Marc Perry

    Marc Perry Member

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    I also found this:
    Porneia | Encyclopedia.com

    It doesn't give quotes from ancient Greek sources, unfortunately, so I'm not going to take its straight word on it. But it does reference 30 books, that I assume do have sources in them somewhere. It's also on a major encyclopedia site, so I'd imagine it's peer-reviewed. This article actually restored my faith in academia for this word. I feel a lot better now and will be able to sleep tonight ...
     
  10. Marc Perry

    Marc Perry Member

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    Yeah. The LXX also uses porneia metaphorically for idolatry and, arguably metaphorically, for adultery.

    Like I said before, this word has been shown to make metaphors. Because of that, I think we don't know the full extent of the word as used here. Especially since it is said from Jesus who loved to say metaphors, as he did for adultery in the saying just above this one.
     
  11. Marc Perry

    Marc Perry Member

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    I actually put this in the post just below yours. But I wanted to post it again with you attached to make sure you see it, because I'm a little insulted by your use of 'orthodox'.

    If a peer-reviewed article in a major encyclopedia that draws from 30 books with each, I'm assuming, containing sources from the time or at least further references to books that do ... if that can't be considered an 'orthodox' POV, I don't know what can.

    Porneia | Encyclopedia.com
     
  12. Der Alte

    Der Alte This is me about 1 yr. old. Supporter

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    Why should you be insulted I was responding to Buzuxi02, who is orthodox, and the translation I quoted was the one by the Eastern Greek Orthodox church. IMHO who better than the native Greek speaking scholars who translated the EOB know the meaning of the original Greek?
     
  13. Marc Perry

    Marc Perry Member

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    I'm going to make one last post on this forum summarizing what I believe I've found, in case someone comes across it.

    If someone asks you where the porneia came from, you have two choices:

    1) A greater Greek tradition, used by some in the Jewish community, that means 'prostitution', but has been shown to have metaphorical uses beyond 'prostitution'.

    2) Part of the Jewish community that used the word to mean a more general 'sexual immorality', whose definition was loosely defined and differed from author to author.

    To put it basically, while the origin of the word is interesting, it ultimately doesn't matter for today's purposes because its ultimate use is not automatically defined in either case. It can be used either metaphorically (1) or as defined by the person (2).

    So if someone asks you what is or isn't a sin, you have six choices:

    1) Cite Acts 20, and claim the definition in this word covers the views of sexuality in the Old Testament law. In that case, you can kiss fornication bye-bye because it is not in the Old Testament. If you don't believe me, ask a Jewish forum. I'm sure a thousand people are ready to pounce on that one. The only people who will defend it will do so by invoking a Jewish tradition that you're not a part of. You will also have to tell them that they can't sit where a menstruating woman has sat, and will need be ready, with the approval of her father, to immediately marry a woman if he took her virginity. Oh, and by the way. Prostitution isn't sinful either. It's only a sin to pimp out your daughter.

    2) Make the definition as strict as possible. That way you can make sure they don't sin, though you risk saying something is a sin when it isn't. And I really mean 'strict', otherwise it leads to #5. In the Jewish texts, where #2 above comes from, things included include 'Marrying a foreigner' and 'Sex within a marriage out of passion instead of procreation'.

    3) Make the definition as loose as possible. Opposite of #2.

    4) Choose which old person you want to listen to. They differed and didn't really start coming up with definitions until well after Paul died. Be prepared to defend your choice with how, with absolute certainty, their words are not an opinion, but from the word of God. Not doing so leads to #5.

    5) Make your own judgement call and press it on the other person.

    6) Tell the person that the bible is unclear about that issue, so they should follow in their hearts what they think is right.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2020
  14. Marc Perry

    Marc Perry Member

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    Oh, ok. I'm sorry. I missed that. :(
     
  15. buzuxi02

    buzuxi02 Veteran

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    Most sources will be for modern Greek:
    Learn Greek Online - GreekPod101

    Also in a previous post where I said "some things never change", I really meant it when I said words like porni can be used as an insult, metaphorically or as slander. This seems to be universal. Porni is still used amongst Greeks as insult (of course today there are also a few more words having been added meaning the same). Even Arabs use their equivalent of sharmouta in a myriad of ways and is probably one of the most common swear words they have.
     
  16. Leaf473

    Leaf473 Member

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    Hi!
    (I haven't read all the posts in this thread, so apologies if these ideas have already been covered.)

    Great question! When I was in my 20s and unmarried and wanted to know if it was okay to --fill in the blank with all the common issues--, I searched through all the dictionaries and academic resources I could find at that time and could not come up with a satisfying answer.

    A side note: in Acts 15 when they list the four rules for the Gentiles, if we read "Temple prostitution" in place of "sexual immorality", then all four rules have to do with idolatrous practices of the Greek world.

    A note even further off to the side: later today I'm going to be talking to some Jehovah's Witnesses who are going to want to say that the Hebrew phrase El shaddai must mean Almighty. While this is the common rendering, the meaning turns out to be uncertain.

    For what it's worth, the way I look at these issues now is that following Jesus is not about having a particular set of rules, but rather
    walking in love as he loved us.
    But I agree that the question you pose is academically important and definitely important for Bible translators.
     
  17. Marc Perry

    Marc Perry Member

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    Hey there! I started a thread What's your choice on 'sexual immorality' (porneia) that gets out of the theory and tries to get people to make the choice. Some of them do, but some of them just go into monologues and avoid the question. I added one more point, after someone correctly pointed out, to choose from.

    I wish I could help you with the Hebrew, but I literally know nothing about it. Does the translation 'Almighty' even really matter? I thought it was more about the spirit of the word, a feeling if you will, rather than some sort of logical reasoning thing.
     
  18. Leaf473

    Leaf473 Member

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    Thanks for the link to the other thread, I'll check it out!

    I just mentioned El shaddai as another example of an ambiguity. Imo, all human languages contain ambiguities, and biblical languages are no exception.

    And then there's the issue of the same word being used differently in different locations. So the English word "lift" means elevator in Britain but not in the USA. How Galilee-raised non-native-Greek speaking John uses the "porn" words in Revelation, then, may be different from the scholarly translators of the lxx from Alexandria.
     
  19. buzuxi02

    buzuxi02 Veteran

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    You don't need to study the word. Just look at what's always been practised. While there is discussion and controversy in Judaism whether they should reintroduce concubinage, in Christianity it's a no go. To think you can participate in orgies and casual sex or even serial monogamy (concubinage) as long as money is not exchanged is preposterous.
    There is atleast one reference where the original Hebrew says "prostituted" in an allusion to "going astray" or possibly some sort of disloyalty but the LXX leaves it out in Judges 19:2.. if left in pornae would have been the word.
    Prostitution to the ancient athenians was akin to today's casual sex and hook up culture. They knew nothing is for free.. The ancient greek Appolodorus breaks down the types of relationships, Where he explains the 3 classes of women:
    1 Courtesans for pleasure
    2.Concubines for the daily tending of the body (equivalent of the modern day girlfriend)
    3.Wives for legit offspring and the trusted guardian of the home.

    Appolodorus even makes a distinction between the porni and hetaira (Courtesans). The porni was the slave girl or from the dregs of society who had no hope in getting married. The Courtesan was upscale and free, she offers her company only to the free citizens of society.
    A read on the topic of Appolodorus use of the terms
    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://repositories.lib.utexas.edu/bitstream/handle/2152/31252/CourtesanConcubine.pdf;sequence=1&ved=2ahUKEwjwvJPvgKvsAhWImOAKHYJrAKwQFjADegQIAxAB&usg=AOvVaw2gvjlSOKeRJZTyHmBmBa2F
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2020
  20. Der Alte

    Der Alte This is me about 1 yr. old. Supporter

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    Names of God - Shaddai and 'Elyon.
    The word Shaddai (שׁדי) which occurs along with El, is also used independently as a name of God,chiefly in the Book of Job. It is commonly rendered "the Almighty" (in LXX., sometimes παντοκράτωρ). The Hebrew root "shadad," from which it has been supposed to be derived, means, however, "to overpower," "to treat with violence," "to lay waste." This would give Shaddai the meaning "devastator," or "destroyer," which can hardly be right. It is possible, however, that the original significance was that of "overmastering" or "overpowering strength," and that this meaning persists in the divine name. Another interesting suggestion is that it may be connected with the Assyrian "shadu" (mountain), an epithet sometimes attached to the names of Assyrian deities. It is conjectured also that the pointing of שׁדי may be due to an improbable rabbinical explanation of the word as שׁידי ("He who is sufficient"), and that the word originally may have been without the doubling of the middle letter. According to Ex. vi. 2, 3, this is the name by which God was known to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
    NAMES OF GOD - JewishEncyclopedia.com
     
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