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Farah Admits to Being Wrong

Joseph Farah has admitted to being wrong about something. Unfortunately, he was actually right the first time and his correction is based upon evidence so weak as to be utterly laughable. He used to claim that same-sex marriage was without precedent; now he claims that same-sex marriage was practiced “in the days of Noah.”

I think I might have been wrong about same-sex marriage.

When I have written about this phenomenon and discussed it and debated it in recent years, I have stated unequivocally that it is something new – not seen anywhere or at any time in the history of humankind.

But now I have reason to doubt that.

There may indeed have been a time in man’s history when it was practiced…

But it may have been routine in the days of Noah, just before the flood.

I am hardly a student of the Talmud, part of the oral tradition of Orthodox Judaism. I don’t believe it is the inspired word of God. But it is, nonetheless, a historical record. According to two notable experts, the Babylonian Talmud says that same-sex marriage was prevalent just before the Great Flood of Noah.

Jeffrey Satinover, who holds an MD from Princeton and doctorates from Yale, MIT and Harvard, has made the point that the Midrash Rabbah Genesis suggests such activity represented the last straw before God unleashed the floodwaters to destroy the Earth. He is backed up by Rabbi Aryeh Spero of New York.

But it’s not just conservative scholars and rabbis who see that message in the Talmud. Indeed, a feminist academic from Brandeis University, Gail Labovitz, senior research analyst for the Feminist Sexual Ethics Project, dealt with this issue in a recent paper.

Funny, the Bible mentions absolutely nothing that even remotely could be read as saying that there was same-sex marriage in the days of Noah. You will search the book of Genesis in vain for it. So what are those extra-Biblical sources for “evidence” of Farah’s new position? I took a look at that Labovitz paper and did a little research. Labovitz says there are four mentions of it. One is in the tannaitic midrash, which dates from no earlier than the 3rd century CE; two are from the amoraic midrash, which is from no earlier than 220 CE; and the 4th is from the Babylonian Talmud, which was put together between the 3rd and 5th centuries CE. So the “evidence” for same-sex marriage taking place in the days of Noah is speculation from rabbis written nearly five thousand years later.

Of course, both Farah’s old claim and his new claim can be made to fit his position. He’s been claiming for years that same-sex marriage had never been tried, therefore it shouldn’t be tried. Now he’s claiming that it was tried and it was the “last straw” that made his barbaric God drown everyone. Neither position is the least bit compelling to a rational person, of course, but either one can be made to serve Farah’s irrational beliefs.

Comments

  1. Johnny Vector says

    Jeffrey Satinover, who holds an MD from Princeton and doctorates from Yale, MIT and Harvard

    Ah yes, the famed Princeton School of Medicine. Located in the basement of Fine Hall, and overseen by John Nash (before the medication started to work). And! An H-Y-P trifecta, with a side of MIT. Who the hell does he root for in college football??

    Lessee, accordion to Wikipedia, he holds no Ph.D.s at all. And no, there is no med school at Princeton. So we’re 0 for 4 on truthfulness in that one dependent clause. At least we have a starting point for how much to believe the rest of the story.

  2. says

    Now, look, if you’re gonna ask for some standard for evidence, this is never going to work. He doesn’t work in some kind of evidence place. He’s not some kind of evidence guy. He works at WND. His job is Tribal Apologetics.(*1)

    *1. “Us Good. Them Bad.” Class dismissed.(*2)
    *2. Advanced class: “Us Good. Not just ‘Good’, but righteous. Them Bad. Not just ‘Bad’, but evil.” Advanced Class dismissed.

  3. says

    Actually, there is a lot of precedent for same-sex marriage. A large number of indigenous North American cultures recognized transgenderism, and such people were much sought out as spouses. There is evidence of accepted, legal same-sex unions in various periods of Chinese, Indian, Egyptian and Greek cultures, and similar unions in Roman culture which were socially similar without the legal standing; same-sex marriage wasn’t banned under Roman law until 342 CE. There is evidence suggesting that this older Roman union later re-emerged as the Christian ceremony of adelphopoiesis (literally: “brother-making”), although there is still ongoing debate about this.

    Same-sex marriage is not at all unprecedented.

  4. matty1 says

    Lets be fair, while much of the Talmud does seem to be speculation Orthodox Jews do at least claim it is based on oral traditions. To use a non-religious analogy it is more like the stories of King Arthur (passed on and edited so much we don’t know what the original source was like) than the Lord of the Rings (known fiction with an identifiable author and publication date).

  5. Markita Lynda—threadrupt says

    Same-sex unions were in the liturgy and consecrated as late as the 12th Century in Europe.

  6. keithb says

    Sorry to take away the snark, but I bet MD is MDiv. Typo or credential inflation? You be the judge.

  7. says

    Thee have been some profound take downs of the anti gay marriage position done by citing the very bible these people claim bans gay marriage.

    Seems that when you analyze the bible properly, when they admonish people for gay relationships they are talking about promiscuity and anonymous sex. There are some great youtube videos of people pretty much proving that the bible actually does not ban gay marriage at all, or that to come to that conclusion takes a lot of supposition.

    Thus it makes sense that these people, who have always cherry picked the bible anyway, (forgetting slavery and killing stubborn kids and shellfish and haircuts etc etc) it makes sense that they would now invent the notion that the bible did indeed ban gay marriage itself.

    Inventing talking points is what they do. Now send them money.

  8. bobafuct says

    But after the flood, god promised he wouldn’t destroy the world again until the end times, so what is Ol’ Joe worried about?

  9. says

    Unfortunately, my joke @11 falls flat: turns out MIT has fielded a football team in the New England Conference since 1998. Things sure have gone downhill since my wife graduated….

  10. gorgias says

    Why is it that fundies who would normally denounce biblical scholarship that relies on anything other than the Bible (extra points if it’s KJV) will suddenly wax scholarly and cite the Talmud and other texts not part of the accepted canon when it backs up one of their pet theories? Hell, it’s almost as if the line between canon and non-canon was completely arbitrary to begin with…

  11. says

    @gorgias #15 – If it is something they desperately wish was true, they will tie themselves into knots to find some way of justifying their wishes. If it is something they desperately wish was NOT true, they will obstinately deny any and all evidence to the contrary.

    That is how the Talibangelical “mind” “works”.

  12. says

    same-sex marriage wasn’t banned under Roman law until 342 CE

    And the fall of the Roman Empire began not more than 35 years later — funny that….

  13. says

    tacitus “And the fall of the Roman Empire began not more than 35 years later — funny that….”
    Well, duh. With all those newly single gay homosexuals prowling the empire, ruining Traditional Marriages by seducing totally straight husbands away from their wives…

  14. dingojack says

    Eamon Knight – Now we have the plagues that are called: ‘Intellectual Property lawyers’.
    Dingo
    ——–
    Although, to be fair, the threat no longer applies since the author has been dead for more than 50 years. ;)

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