In an event organized by Swissnex San Francisco, Thomas Römer, Sarah Shectman, Konrad Schmid, and Steven McKenzie discussed views on homosexuality and sexuality in the Bible and ancient Near Eastern texts. Sexuality and the Bible: What the Texts Really Say was held on November 17, 2011 at Swissnexx San Francisco, and the video is available on Daily Motion.
What does the Bible tell us of the roles of men and women in ancient society and about the importance of gender? From a literary standpoint, do the texts necessarily condemn or condone certain behaviors and lifestyles? In conjunction with the Annual Conference of the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature, swissnex San Francisco invites top scholars to discuss the role of sexuality in the Bible and answer some of these questions.
The evening features Thomas Römer, Professor of Hebrew Bible at the Faculty of Theology and History of Religions at the University of Lausanne. His book L’homosexualité dans le Proche Orient ancien et la Bible (Homosexuality in the Ancient Orient), focuses on the Bible as a historical source for analyzing how ancient societies viewed relations between men.
Konrad Schmid, Professor of Old Testament and Early Judaism at the University of Zurich and author of Genesis and the Moses Story: Israel’s Dual Origins in the Hebrew Bible (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2010), presents the Paradise Story in Genesis 2-3 and its view of sexuality and immortality. And Sarah Shectman, author of Women in the Pentateuch: A Feminist and Source-Critical Analysis (Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2009), looks at the varied attitudes toward women’s sexuality in different parts of the Bible, such as the laws in the Pentateuch that treat women’s sexuality as a possession, belonging either to a father or husband, versus the freer view in the Song of Songs where the protagonist appears more in control of her own body. Steven McKenzie moderates the discussion.