Cook, “μαλακοί and ἀρσενοκοῖται: In Defence of Tertullian’s Translation”

Recently, John Granger Cook published an article on the oft-debated terms μαλακοί and ἀρσενοκοῖται found in 1 Cor 6:9. Because the latter term, ἀρσενοκοῖται, is also found in 1 Tim 1:10, Cook’s work is of significance for students of the Pastorals.

John Granger Cook, “μαλακοί and ἀρσενοκοῖται: In Defence of Tertullian’s Translation.” New Testament Studies 65.3 (2019): 332–52

Here is the abstract: “The debate over the translation of μαλακοί and ἀρσενοκοῖται in 1 Cor 6.9 can and should be settled by a non-polemical and complete survey of the material now that comprehensive databases of ancient texts are available. The translation of ἀρσενοκοῖται by Tertullian, several Vetus Latina MSS and the Vulgate has the best evidential foundation. To establish the meaning of this term one has to turn to etymology and usage, a semantic domain of terms for sexual intercourse, and patristic and classical texts. Once the semantics of ἀρσενοκοίτης is better grounded, the ancient Latin translation of μαλακοί becomes the most probable.”

Cook’s article is the latest of numerous treatments which address the meaning of ἀρσενοκοῖται. Earlier bibliography includes the following:

John Boswell, Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality: Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980), 341–53; Robin Scroggs, The New Testament and Homosexuality (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1983); David F. Wright, “Homosexuals or Prostitutes? The Meaning of ἀρσενοκοίται (1 Cor. 6:9, 1 Tim. 1:10),” Vigiliae Christianae 38.2 (1984): 125–53; William L. Petersen, “Can ἀρσενοκοίται Be Translated by ‘Homosexuals’? (I Cor. 6.9; I Tim. 1.10),” Vigiliae Christianae 40 (1986): 187–91; David F. Wright, “Translating ἀρσενοκοίται (1 Cor. 6:9; 1 Tim. 1:10),” Vigiliae Christianae 41 (1987): 396–98; Henry Mendell, “ΑΡΣΕΝΟΚΟΙΤΑΙ” (unpublished paper, California State University, Los Angeles), 1990?; James B. De Young, “The Source and NT Meaning of ἀρσενοκοίται, with Implications for Christian Ethics and Ministry,” The Master’s Seminary Journal 3 (1992): 191–215; Dale B. Martin, “Arsenokoitês and Malakos: Meanings and Consequences,” in Biblical Ethics and Homosexuality: Listening to Scripture, ed. R. L. Brawley (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1996), 117–36; Raymond F. Collins, Sexual Ethics and the New Testament: Behavior and Belief (New York: Crossroad, 2000), 89–90; James B. De Young, Homosexuality: Contemporary Claims Examined in Light of the Bible and Other Ancient Literature and Law (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2000), 175–203; Robert A. J. Gagnon, The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics (Nashville: Abingdon, 2001), 312–36; John H. Elliott, “No Kingdom of God for Softies? Or, What Was Paul Really Saying? 1 Corinthians 6:9–10 in Context,” Biblical Theology Bulletin 34.1 (2004): 17–40; G. R. Jepsen, “Dale Martin’s ‘Arsenokoités and Malakos’ Tried and Found Wanting,” Currents in Theology and Mission 33.5 (2006): 397–405; Linda Belleville, “The Challenges of Translating αρσενοκοι̂ται and μαλακοί in 1 Corinthians 6.9: A Reassessment in Light of Koine Greek and First-Century Cultural Mores,” Bible Translator 62.1 (2011): 22–29; Roy E. Ciampa, “‘Flee Sexual Immorality’: Sex and the City of Corinth” in The Wisdom of the Cross: Exploring 1 Corinthians (ed. Brian S. Rosner; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2011), 100–133; Milton L. Torres, “A Evidência Linguística e Extralinguística para a Tradução de arsenokoitai.” Revista Hermenêutica (Cachoeira-BA) 12.2 (2012): 25–49; S. Donald Fortson III and Rollin G. Grams, Unchanging Witness: The Consistent Christian Teaching on Homosexuality in Scripture and Tradition (Nashville: B&H Academic, 2016), 294–98; Simon Hedlund, “Who Are the ἀρσενοκοίται and Why Does Paul Condemn Them?,” Svensk Exegetisk Årsbok 82 (2017): 116–53; George M. Hollenback, “An Overlooked Backdrop to the Coining of ἀρσενοκοίτης,” Early Christianity 8.2 (2017): 269–73.