Same Sex Attracted Eunuchs
Some same sex attracted eunuchs
were gay or lesbian or transgendered.
Eunuch Official, 1749
1. In history and in scripture, eunuchs are sometimes gay men or lesbians.
2. The Ethiopian eunuch is a wonderful example of a gay man getting saved.
3. Jesus taught that born eunuchs did not make a personal choice to be eunuchs.
4. The Ancient Roman and Talmudic Definition of Natural Eunuchs.
The Babylonian Talmud
In history, same sex attracted eunuchs were often gender-variant people, not simply castrated men. סָרִיס or cariyc or saris (pronounced saw-hreese) is the Hebrew word for eunuch The word saris referred to both castrated and physically intact eunuchs and also referred to both male and female eunuchs.
The Babylonian Talmud offers an explanation about Jewish priests who are saris-eunuch by nature [born eunuchs], as distinguished from physically castrated men.
“Mishnah. If a priest who was a saris by nature [born eunuch] 7 married the daughter of an Israelite, he confers upon her the right of eating terumah... It might have been assumed that only one who is capable of propagation is entitled to bestow the right of eating 16 and that he who is not capable of propagating is not entitled to bestow the right of eating; hence we were taught [that even the saris (born eunuch) may bestow the right].” Babylonian Talmud:
Tractate Yebamoth, Folio 81a.
Yebamoth footnote 7, specifically excludes a man-made saris [a physically castrated eunuch], because he is under the prohibition of Deuteronomy 23:1-2.
But a born eunuch, according to the Rabbis, is capable of propagating and is allowed to bestow, on his wife, the right of eating the heave offering. Only a born eunuch, who is a priest, can confer upon his wife, the right of eating terumah.The Babylonian Talmud
The Babylonian Talmud
This passage from the Talmud reminds us that some priests of Israel were born eunuchs who had married a woman.
They were not physically castrated. They were physically whole but still considered to be “a saris [eunuch] by nature” or born eunuch.
How could men be considered same sex attracted eunuchs if they married a woman? Is it possible same sex attracted eunuchs married in order to fit in? Is it possible same sex attracted eunuchs married because the call to serve God was so strong they were willing to attempt to sublimate their same sex desires?
Is it possible same sex attracted eunuchs married, thinking, wrongly, that marriage to a woman would "cure them" of their same sex attractions?
Is it possible that God's command to "be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth" exerted such power over Jewish males that same sex attracted eunuchs married to fulfill God's procreation command?
Are you honest enough to accept
the verdict of history?
Because they were in the Jewish temple, the eunuchs Jeremiah mentions (Jeremiah 34:15-19) would not have been castrated men. They were “born eunuchs.” They were not physically castrated or genitally deformed. They were anatomically whole but were still considered eunuchs, different from normal men. Perhaps they were same sex attracted eunuchs. 2500 years after the fact, no one knows for sure.
The Talmud informs us that some “born eunuchs” became priests and married women. Whether these eunuch priests were same sex attracted eunuchs is open to debate. Further, the Talmud informs us that a priest who is not capable of propagating (fathering children) is not entitled to bestow, on his wife, the right of eating Terumah, the heave offering. But a saris priest, a born eunuch, can bestow, on his wife, the right of eating the heave offering.
Therefore, a born eunuch is capable of procreation, according to the Babylonian Talmud.
The Babylonian Talmud
defines a born eunuch
Same Sex Attracted Eunuchs. The Babylonian Talmud as a written document, is almost 2000 years old. It conveys the views of ancient Judaism hundreds of years before the birth of Christ. These views were set down in written form in the century after Christ.
Bablylonian Talmud On Eunuchs,
“R. Joseph said: It must have been such a saris [eunuch] 6 of whom I heard Ammi saying. 'He who is afflicted from birth...’ Our Rabbis taught: Who is a congenital saris [a born eunuch]? 13 Any person who is twenty years of age and has not produced two pubic hairs. 14 And even if he produced them afterwards he is deemed to be a saris [born eunuch] in all respects. And these are his characteristics: He has no beard, his hair is lank, and his skin is smooth. R. Simeon b. Gamaliel said in the name of R. Judah b. Jair: 15 Any person whose urine produces no froth; some say: He who urinates without forming an arch; some say: He whose semen is watery; and some say: He whose urine does not ferment. Others say: He whose body does not steam after bathing in the winter season. R. Simeon b. Eleazar said: 15 He whose voice is abnormal so that one cannot distinguish whether it is that of a man or of a woman.
Some women were eunuchs
What woman is deemed to be incapable of procreation? - Any woman who is twenty years of age and has not produced two pubic hairs. 14 And even if she produces them afterwards she is deemed to be a woman incapable of procreation in all respects. And these are her characteristics: She has no breasts and suffers pain during copulation... R. Simeon b. Eleazar said: One whose voice is deep so that one cannot distinguish whether it is that of a man or of a woman.”
Tractate Yebamoth, 80.
“The saris [born eunuch] was mentioned in the same way as the woman who is incapable of procreation; as the woman's incapacity is due to an act of heaven so must that of the saris [born eunuch] be an act of heaven; and this anonymous [Mishnah] is in agreement with R. Akiba who stated [that halizah applies] only to a man-made [saris (a physically castrated man) but] not [to one afflicted] by the hand of heaven [a born eunuch].”
Is it possible that female saris were also same sex attracted eunuchs? The Rabbis seem to believe the female saris was as much an act of heaven (born that way) as the male saris which makes it a viable possibility.Bablylonian Talmud On Eunuchs,
Tractate Yebamoth, 80.
Bablylonian Talmud On Eunuchs,
“Who regards a girl, who was only subsequently found to be a saris [eunuch], as having been a saris and consequently also of age from the moment she was twelve years and one day old.”
Tractate Yebamoth, 80.
Scroll Down To Notes 29 & 36.
Summarizing The Babylonian Talmud
on born eunuchs
Same Sex Attracted Eunuchs. The Babylonian Talmud describes born eunuchs in six ways. Why use so many descriptors unless born eunuchs (gay men and lesbian women) were a relatively common and accepted phenomenon in ancient Israel?
- A congenital saris (eunuch)
- A saris (eunuch) by nature
- A born saris (eunuch)
- A saris (eunuch) afflicted from birth
- A saris (eunuch) by an act of heaven
- A saris (eunuch) afflicted by the hand of heaven
Here is the ancient Jewish understanding of born eunuchs
- Born eunuchs were not physically castrated by men. Could they have been same sex attracted eunuchs?
- The born eunuch's condition was an innate condition, by God’s choice. Could they have been same sex attracted eunuchs?
- Born eunuchs did not make a personal choice to be a eunuch. Could they have been same sex attracted eunuchs?
- Born eunuchs were physically intact and capable of producing semen. Could they have been same sex attracted eunuchs?
- Born eunuchs were generally uninterested in procreation or emotionally or psychologically unable to procreate, although he or she had the physical equipment for procreation. Could they have been same sex attracted eunuchs?
- The Rabbis recognized that some women were born eunuchs. They were apparently uninterested in procreation or were emotionally or psychologically unable to procreate, by the hand of heaven.
We believe these saris-women were same sex attracted eunuchs, what we now call lesbians.
Clement Of Alexandria
Clement of Alexandria
Some understand Clement, who died around AD 215, as warning about the sexual proclivities of same sex attracted eunuchs in the following quotation.
"Many are eunuchs; and these panders, serve without suspicion those that wish to be free to enjoy their pleasures, because of the belief that they are unable to indulge in lust. Clement of Alexandria.
But a true eunuch (εὐνοῦχος eunouchos) is not one who is unable, but one who is unwilling, to indulge in pleasure.” [with a woman].
Paedagogus, (The Instructor), III. IV.
Again, Clement speaks of eunuchs, quoting the followers of Basilides, a Gnostic heretic and their view of Matthew 19:11-12.
“The Valentinians, who hold that the union of man and woman is derived from the divine emanation in heaven above, approve of marriage.
The followers of Basilides (Gnostic heretics, not mainstream Christians) on the other hand, say that when the apostles asked whether it was not better not to marry, the Lord replied: "Not all can receive this saying; there are some eunuchs who are so from their birth, others are so of necessity."
And their explanation of this saying is roughly as follows: Some men, from their birth, have a natural sense of repulsion from a woman; and those who are naturally so constituted do well not to marry.” [a woman]. - Clement of Alexandria, The Stromata, III. I.
- The eunuch condition is common (“many are eunuchs”)
- True eunuchs (born eunuchs) are “not unable but unwilling” to indulge in pleasure (with a woman).
- Born eunuchs have “a natural sense of repulsion from a woman.”
- A natural sense of repulsion from marrying a woman is an inborn trait, not a chosen lifestyle.
- Men who are born this way do well not to marry (a woman).
Clement quotes the followers of Basilides on this issue, as if he agrees with their view that born eunuchs are born with a natural sense of repulsion from a woman, although he would certainly not agree with these Gnostic heretics on much else.
Clement lived and ministered in an age when same sex relationships between men were a common occurrence. It does not strain credulity to believe that the eunuchs Clement and Basilides described were same sex attracted eunuchs.
Gregory Of Nazianzus
Gregory of Nazianzus, AD 329-389, on born eunuchs.
“For there are eunuchs which were made eunuchs from their mother's womb, I should very much like to be able to say something bold about eunuchs. Be not proud, ye who are eunuchs by nature". Gregory of Nazianzus,
"For, in point of self-restraint, this is perhaps unwilling. For it has not come to the test, nor has your self-restraint been proved by trial [a man who has no sexual interest in women does not struggle with lust for women].
For the good which is by nature is not a subject of merit; that which is the result of purpose is laudable... Since then, natural chastity is not meritorious [being born with a natural sense of repulsion from a woman or without lust for a woman, through no choice of your own, is not meritorious], I demand something else from the eunuchs. Do not go a whoring in respect of the Godhead. Having been wedded to Christ [he is speaking to saved eunuchs-gay people who have trusted Jesus Christ], do not dishonour Christ.”
Oration 37. XVI -XVII.
- Gregory recognized the reality, that eunuchs by nature were different than castrasted, manmade eunuchs. Could it be that same sex attracted eunuchs worshipped openly in Gregory's church?
- Eunuchs by nature, physically intact men who possessed natural chastity [no sexual interest in women], existed in Gregory’s time, AD 330-389. Could the eunuchs in Gregory's congregation, who possessed natural chastity, have been same sex attracted eunuchs?
- Gregory understood, more than 1600 years ago, that the condition of being a eunuch by nature was innate and not the result of a personal choice.
- A physically intact, eunuch by nature, who had no sexual interest in women [no lust for women], had no right to feel pride since, according to Gregory, he had not chosen his condition.
- Gregory recognized that a eunuch by nature, a man with no sexual interest in women, still faced the potential problem of lust through sexual temptation with men. Thus Gregory's warning against going a whoring from God, perhaps as shrine prostitutes, where men had sex with men, to worship the fertility goddess. could the eunuchs in Gregory's congregation have been same sex attracted eunuchs?
- Gregory loved his people enough to lead eunuchs or gay folk, to saving faith in Jesus Christ. He then encouraged them, as members of his congregation, to live for the Lord who loved them and bought them with His blood. Born eunuchs-gay people, were welcome in Gregory’s congregation. Are gay people welcome in your congregation?
The Council Of Nicea,
AD 325, on eunuchs
Council of Nicea
"If any one in sickness has been subjected by physicians to a surgical operation, or if he has been castrated by barbarians, let him remain among the clergy; but, if any one in sound health has castrated himself, it behooves that such an one, if [already] enrolled among the clergy, should cease [from his ministry], and that from henceforth no such person should be promoted. But, as it is evident that this is said of those who wilfully do the thing and presume to castrate themselves, so if any have been made eunuchs by barbarians, or by their masters, and should otherwise be found worthy, such men the Canon admits to the clergy."Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils,
Council of Nicea, Canon 1, AD 325.
The Ecclesiastical Canons
“Let a eunuch, if he be such by the injury of men, or his virilia were taken away in the persecution, or he was born such, and yet is worthy of episcopacy, be made a bishop.”The Ecclesiastical Canons
Of The Same Holy Apostles, # 21.
It seems apparent from the above quotations, that the early church accepted both castrated eunuchs and uncastrated, born eunuchs, “he that was born such,” into the ministry of the Christian church. Same sex attracted eunuchs fall into the category of “he that was born such.”
Dr. James Dobson
Anti-gay Christian psychologist Dr. James Dobson,
founded Focus On The Family and Love Won Out, an anti-gay ministry now part of Exodus International. Dobson is now dissociated from FOTF and has his own independent radio ministry. He admitted in a November, 2006, Larry King Live TV interview, that homosexual orientation, in his opinion, is usually not the result of individual choice.Comments by Dr. Dobson during
Dr. Dobson, then pointed out that many Christian leaders disagree with him but he holds to his personal belief that homosexual orientation is usually not the result of individual choice.
If homosexual orientation is usually not the result of individual choice, Dr. Dobson’s viewpoint has interesting implications for our historically and scripturally accurate belief that ancient eunuchs were sometimes gay.
a live interview on CNN’s
Larry King program, November, 2006.Here is Dr. Dobson's official position,
from the Love Won Out website in 2008.
Do you believe
homosexuality is a choice?
"We do not believe anyone chooses his or her same-sex attractions. We concur with the American Psychological Association’s position that homosexuality is likely developmental in nature and caused by a 'complex interaction of environmental, cognitive and biological factors'" (www.apa.org)."
-from the Love Won Out website. Love Won Out was part of Focus On The Family. It is now affiliated with Exodus International.
Bouvier's Law Dictionary by John Bouvier, 1856
Bouvier’s Law Dictionary
for us. “Those who, on account of their temperament, or some accident they have suffered, are unable to procreate.”
Does “on account of their temperament” include same sex attracted eunuchs who were temperamentally unsuited for heterosexual marriage because they were not sexually attracted to women?
It's interesting that an American Law Dictionary published 150 years ago, defined a class of people who were unsuited for heterosexual marriage because of their temperament, not because they were born with genital deformities. Sounds like gay men or lesbian women, doesn't it?
Easton’s Bible Dictionary,
1897, on eunuchs
Easton's Bible Dictionary defines the term eunuch.
“Eunuch: literally bed-keeper or chamberlain, and not necessarily in all cases one who was mutilated [physically castrated]... They were common also among the Greeks and Romans... Three classes of eunuchs are mentioned in Matthew 19:12.”
Christians in 1897 had the information that eunuchs were not necessarily mutilated (castrated) men. If a man could be a eunuch without being physically castrated, either he was asexual or transgendered or transsexual or he was a same sex attracted eunuch.
same sex attracted eunuchs
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia informs us that the existence of eunuchs as a class of people was common knowledge during the earthly ministry of Christ. In speaking of eunuchs, according to ISBE, Jesus intends His disciples to understand that:
“there are exceptional cases where the rule [about Adam and Eve style marriage] does not hold. In speaking of the three classes of eunuchs (Matthew 19:12), He made a distinction which was evidently well known to those whom He addressed.”
According to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, most definitely not a gay friendly publication, the three classes of eunuch, including “born eunuchs” were well known in the first century AD.
It should come as no surprise to students of history that same sex attracted eunuchs are included in the category of “born eunuch.”
Philo Of Alexandria
on natural eunuchs
Philo, 20BC-AD 40
Philo comments on the story of Joseph in Genesis 38. The Hebrew word saris-eunuch,
is used by Moses to describe Potiphar, the man who bought Joseph from the Midianites, Genesis 37:36.
According to Moses, the human author of Genesis, Potiphar is a saris-eunuch.
According to Philo, commenting on Moses, Potiphar is a natural eunuch who happens to be married to a woman.
He possesses the organs of generation [has not been castrated] but apparently has no sexual interest in his wife. Potiphar purchased the handsome young Jewish slave Joseph and put him in charge of his entire household. Is it possible that Potiphar was included in the group we now recognize as same sex attracted eunuchs?
“The man [Potiphar] who bought this servant [Joseph] of whom we are speaking is said to have been a eunuch; very naturally, for the multitude which purchases the services of a man skilful in affairs of state is truly a eunuch, having in appearance, indeed, the organs of generation, but being deprived of all the power requisite for generating [no physical desire for a woman]... What, then, is the resemblance of eunuchs to the multitude? That the multitude too is unable to generate wisdom... (60) On which account (though it seems a most unnatural thing), a wife is represented as cohabiting with this eunuch [Potiphar].” - Philo, On Joseph, XII. 58-60.
Let’s think about what we’ve learned
It's not difficult to understand
- We have described individuals who are born eunuchs.
- This is recognized by Jewish Rabbis and Christian believers and even by Gnostic heretics.
- Everyone agrees that born eunuchs did not choose their condition.
- Their condition was chosen for them by God.
- These born eunuchs are physically intact and capable of procreation.
- These born eunuchs have a natural sense of repulsion from marrying a woman.
We have several options as we
evaluate these historical facts.
- We can conclude that born eunuchs are asexual, having no sexual interest in anyone.
- We can conclude that born eunuchs are not gay or transgendered but are something undefinable (which refutes this argument, since the Jews did define born eunuchs).
- We can conclude that some born eunuchs are transgendered, a designation different than homosexual or heterosexual.
- We can conclude that some born eunuchs are gay men and lesbian women.
- We can conclude that born eunuchs fall into categories 3. and 4.
Readers are free to reach whatever conclusion they believe the facts warrant.
Our Factual Conclusion
The historical and scriptural record indicates that born eunuchs, as a general rule, were frequently gay men and lesbian women or transgendered people
. Our powerful new book contains additional information about eunuchs.
Gay Christian 101
For Gay Christians
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This page updated July 8, 2012