Jude 7 and Homosexuality
Jude 7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

This seems a fairly clear condemnation of homosexuality. Some (like even Bauckham in his commentary on 2 Peter and Jude [54]) seek a loophole through the use of the word "strange" and the fact that it was angels the men of Sodom were after; hence they say that this but condemns sex with angels, not homosexuality.

An interesting point, except that Genesis 19:5 says, "And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them." Did the men of Sodom know that these were angels?

The incident Jude cites does serve as a parallel to his own illustrations (drawn from the Enochian traditions of evil angels who took on flesh to consort with the daugthers of men); but to read "angelic" into "strange" simply does not work. The word "strange" is (ironically) heteros, and it means elsewhere simply "other".

Well, it may be replied, isn't (incarnated) angel flesh "other"? And if Jude has it in for homosexuality, how can he call human flesh "other"?

This is yet another case where context interprets for us, however: Because of the explicit and undeniable Jewish revulsion towards homosexuality, there can be no doubt that a Jew would regard homosexual sex as targeting "other" than its object.

The referral to Sodom raises another issue. Kelly [261] in his commentary on Jude says that the Sodomites were proverbially associated with homosexuality, which would make the Sodom reference alone sufficient to say that homosexuality is in mind. Bauckham disagrees and says that most references to the Sodomites, in the OT, in intertestamental lit, and as well in post-NT Jewish lit, had to do with their poor hospitality, hatred, pride, or general sexual misbehavior -- but only one (associated with Philo; see link below) specifically notes homosexuality.

Of course, it's not hard to point out that raping someone homosexually is hardly an act of hospitality; why is this not inclusive of their sin?

In the end Jude 7 is not as clear as other passages in speaking against homosexuality; but the cultural milieu demands not that homosexuality be excluded, but that it was but one of the sorts of crimes against others that the Sodomites engaged, as a result of their attitude.

-JPH

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