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How a Bible Error Changed History and Turned Gays Into Pariahs

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The words “homosexual” and “heterosexual” were first coined as German nouns by Austrian-born Hungarian psychologist, Karoly Maria Benkert, in the late 19th century, who wrote under pseudonym K.M.

Kertbeny.Ed Oxford is a scholar and researcher. A gay Christian, as well as a graduate of the Talbot School of Theology, his specialty is the history of the Bible, focusing on Bible translations, with a focus on the Greek and Hebrew translations, especially those that relate to human sexuality.

Kathy Baldock is an LGBTQ+ advocate and executive director of Canyon Walker Connections, an organization dedicated to repairing “the division that exists between social and Christian conservatives and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through education, training, and dialogue in both secular and religious environments.”Each had been dedicated to researching the roots of antigay theology, and together have written Forging a Sacred Weapon: How the Bible Became Anti-Gay, and they are also the researchers behind the documentary, 1946: The Mistranslation That Shifted Culture.

In the process of this research, they discovered boxes and boxes of notes in the Yale University archives, among them a half-century old letter written by a young seminarian named David S., to the RSV — Revised Standard Version of the Bible — committee.Now, the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, is, according to the National Council of Churches, the “authorized revision of the American Standard Version, published in 1901, which was a revision of the King James Version, published in 1611.”This is important to know, because the actual word “homosexual” appears for the first time on February 11, 1946 in the Revised Standard Version.

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