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Men are Active, Women are Passive: Reading Romans 1:26-27


January 13, 2014
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Event Category:


Wallenberg Hall (Bldg 160), Room 124

A lecture by Kirsti Copeland, Lecturer in Religious Studies and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Advising and Research (Stanford). Part of a lecture series on  Sexuality, Gender, and Religion. Sponsored by the Department of Religious Studies and co-sponsored by the Program in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Free and open to the public. For more information about the series, please contact Prof. Linda Hess. Stanford students can register for the entire series as a 2-unit course: RELIGST 24 / FEMGEN 24.

Romans 1:26-27 contains one of the few condemnations of same-sex acts in the New Testament and the only one to expressly mention same-sex acts between women.  These few lines have left an enduring legacy on Christian attitudes towards homosexuality and the countries and cultures influenced by them.  Bernadette Brooten argues that reading Paul’s condemnation of same-sex acts as “unnatural” in light of Roman views that it is natural for men to behave actively and women passively suggests that we should reject his condemnation of same-sex acts as surely as we reject the notion that women are and should be submissive.

Kirsti Copeland received her Ph.D. from Princeton University’s Religion Department and has taught at Princeton, Santa Clara, University of Redlands, San Francisco State, and Stanford. She has appeared in History Channel specials entitled, “Banned from the Bible” (I & II) as well as in documentaries for the National Geographic and Discovery Channels, “Rivals of Jesus,” “The Apocalypse,” and “Who Framed Jesus?”