Tuesday, May 30, 2017

A higher standard

It is interesting to note that in pagan Greek texts, the term porneia simply designates prostitution, the sale of women’s bodies for sex. But as a recent study of the usage of the term shows, in Jewish and then Christian text, porneia designated “a wide subset of extramarital sexual activity” that was tolerated in the broader Roman-era culture. Specifically, this included sex with prostitutes, courtesans, and slaves, and, of course, many/most prostitutes of the time were salves. Paul’s usage here in 1 Thessalonians and in some other texts reflects this broader meaning, which could include “adultery” (having sex with another man’s wife) but extended to other forms of illicit sex as well.— Destroyer of the gods: Early Christian Distinctiveness in the Roman World, page 156

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