Archive for 'Jewish sexual ethics'

A Talmudic Exposition: Men in Black

Homosexuality most likely existed even in the ancient rabbinic communities. The rabbis were undoubtedly familiar with Greek  and Roman culture, where homosexuality was considered a perfectly acceptable lifestyle. [1]

Although the Sages worried about their students sexually acting out,  they pragmatically suggested that if one could not control one’s sexual “appetite,” he should wear dark clothes and go to a place where nobody knows him and do whatever his heart desires, “rather than profane the name of Heaven openly.”[2]Learn More

Why is homosexuality described as an “abomination”?

I think within the Halachic world there has been a remarkable redefinition of many of the more traditional attitudes concerning the congenital homosexual. Traditionally, most biblical translations render  tôʿēbâ as “abomination.”

According to Etymology Online, the noun “abomination”  is a 14th term term that means: “feeling of disgust, hatred, loathing,” from O.Fr. abomination,which in turn derives from the  Latin word abominationem (nom. abominatio) “abomination,” from abominatus, pp. of abominari “shun as an ill omen,” from ab- “off, away from” + ...

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Adding Misogyny to a Modern List of the “Seven Deadly Sins”

Yesterday, I began teaching a new miniseries at St. Ambrose College on the Seven Deadly Sins. With thirty + students in the class, we had some great discussions. One of the assignments I gave the students was to think about composing a more modern list of the Seven Deadly Sins. Well, I started composing my own list and at the chief of the list today, I would have to say misogyny probably is one of the most serious sins of ...

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“Lady Wisdom–the Firstborn Daughter of Creation”

Sometime during the fifth or fourth century B.C.E., the Wisdom/Sophia tradition began to infiltrate Jewish religious sensibilities. At first it was introduced as a series of epigrams containing proverbial wisdom; however, in theological terms, the notion of Sophia came to personify God’s own wisdom. Over the centuries, this new concept influenced generations of Jewish thinkers and mystics—especially during the medieval period when Jewish thought renewed its historic love affair with Greek wisdom. Abraham Ibn Ezra (c. 1089–1164) asserts that the ...

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When rabbinic leaders fail us: The Motty Borger Tragedy (updated)

Talmudic wisdom urges us to be circumspect with our behavior as a community when a tragedy strikes home. Because of our collective and corporate sense of identity, we are all responsible for the moral condition of our communities. This idea can be seen in one of the more peculiar precepts found in the Torah known as the  eglei aruphah. The precept derives from Deuteronomy 21:1-9, which centers on the discovery of a corpse near a community.

“If the corpse of a ...

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