An Interesting Quote from Bernadette Brooten

Bernadette J. BrootenDuring my reading today, I was working through Bernadette J. Brooten’s work Love Between Women: Early Christian Responses to Female Homoeroticism, when I ran across a statement that I thought was really quite significant, especially for those of us who have studied the thought of Cornelius Van Til.

On page 218, Brooten writes:

Paul’s promotion of the traditional gender values of the Roman world through his condemnation of same-sex love contrasts with his anxiety-provoking blurring of the boundaries between Jews and gentiles.

I found the statement by Brooten significant for two reasons. First, it is an example of an assumption that has yet to be proven, yet that is being put forward as a fact that is beyond disputation.

Second, it reveals an underlying presupposition on Brooten’s part––namely that Paul is reflecting the values of the Roman world. There is no hint of the possibility that those values were themselves part of the truth revealed by God at creation and an example of the gentiles doing the things contained in the Law by nature, which Paul mentions explicitly in Romans 2:14.

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One thought on “An Interesting Quote from Bernadette Brooten

  1. I am only an aborted classicist — in school I lost interest in the classical world and was drawn to the medieval Church and eventually to the Old South (and now back to the Church) — but it strikes me that Paul’s “traditional gender roles” are anything but typical of the Roman world. As patriarchal as feminists accuse Paul of being, he gave a lot of dignity to women in teaching that men should love their wives with total, self-giving love, as Christ loved the Church. As I understand Roman morality, the whole Christian system conflicted jarringly with everything a first-century Roman believed and valued, and I imagine its gender roles would have been much the same.

"I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naïve." (Romans 16:17-18) Please read "The Comments Policy."

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