That's a great question because Paul could have used many words if he intended to blast gays and lesbians. Yet Paul used none of those available words, choosing instead to coin an interesting new word, arsenokoitai. Despite what some scholars allege, arsenokoitai is never used in any extant Greek literature with our modern meaning of homosexual. The best evidence available today indicates that arsenokoitai described shrine prostitutes.
Peter Green is preparing a historical commentary on Herodotus. There are long stretches of The Greeks and Greek Love where you begin to wonder whether Davidson — who is fond of coining neologisms from the Greek — believes the cultural and mythical scenes he analyses with such wit and style are the product of what might be termed a uniquely arrenogenetic, or male-generated, society. So while as seems increasingly likely homoeroticism may be a minority trait genetic in origin, and thus in no sense a cultural interloper, its social acceptance will always have depended, in the first instance, on the existence of a thriving community reproductive enough to carry some non-breeders. The moral and religious prohibitions originally enforced by dire physical need persisted, as such things tend to do, for centuries after the need for them had vanished. Today, we refrigerate pork, and the world is dangerously overpopulated. But the prohibitions remain in force. Davidson, remarkable social historian though he is, seems curiously unconcerned with any of the persuasive recent attempts to explain the development of Greek sexual mores and erotic conventions in historical terms.
Before you read further, take a moment to set aside your preconceived beliefs about relationships and sexuality. As you read, aim to view historical practices through a purely objective lens. Imagine you are in another time, where the same definitions of words and beliefs simply do not yet exist. Pederasty was a social custom in which an adult male would court a young Greek boy to become his model, guide, and initiator, and would become responsible for the evolution of his chosen young counterpart. Dover wrote the book Greek Sexuality, that anyone was willing to take a deeper and objective look at this practice.
A while ago I had a discussion with some friends about homosexuality and morality. Eventually I made the comment:. It was just so obvious, they claimed, simply look at Sodom and Gomorrah or the Greek and Roman Empires!