From Matthew 8:5-13 -
5When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6"Lord," he said, "my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering." 7Jesus said to him, "I will go and heal him." 8The centurion replied, "Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it." 10When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, "I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." 13Then Jesus said to the centurion, "Go! It will be done just as you believed it would." And his servant was healed at that very hour
I read recently, that the original text uses the word pais instead of servant, which is said to actually mean male child slave that is kept for sex. Jesus compliments the centurion on his faith, says nothing in condemnation of the relationship, and cures the 'servant'. Supposedly, this type of relationship was common in these times, and wasn't considered inappropriate, but now this is translated 'servant' as people wouldn't like the idea of Jesus doing a miracle for someone with a child sex slave.
Taken from religioustolerance.org:
"These verses describe how a Roman centurion asked Jesus to cure his "pais" who lay paralyzed and in great agony. The centurion stated that all Jesus had to do was to say the right words to effect the cure. Jesus praised the centurion for his faith. If the boy had been the centurion's son, then the author probably would have used the Greek word "uios" (son). If the writer wanted to imply that they boy was a slave or indentured servant, then he probably would have used the word "duolos" (slave). But he did not. He used the Greek word pais which, in this situation, contains the suggestion of a young male kept for sexual purposes by his adult owner. The English word "pederasty" comes partly from this word. Various translations of the Christian Scriptures have suppressed the possible sexual component of the term and translated the word simply as a "servant boy", "serving boy", "young servant," "my son," and "my boy." A present-day relationship of this type would be considered child sexual abuse, a serious crime. However, such arrangements were common in the Roman Empire at the time, and were tolerated by society, as was slavery itself.
The Gospel of Luke, starting at Luke 7:2 told the same story differently. The boy was changed into a slave of undefined age who was "dear to" (KJV) the Centurion. The author used the Greek word doulos which is a generic term for servant or slave. He was described as being very sick and near death; this contrasts with the author of Matthew who description of a boy being paralyzed and in great pain."
Any thoughts? Is servant an accurate translation?
The Greek word 'pais'
From Matthew 8:5-13 -
Pais can mean either "child, young man" or "servant" (not necessarily young), as does the Hebrew na`ar. That it can involve a sexual relationship by no means implies that it does. Only the context can tell. Here the fact that the master cares for his pais may be interpreted this way, but it is by no means obvious. The term is applied to Jesus' relationship to his Father/Master (from the LXX of Isaiah's "songs of the servant"), 12:18; Acts 3:13,26; 4:27,30; similarly to Israel, Luke 1:54; to David, Luke 1:69; Acts 4:25.
Thanks Narkissos. :)
Narkissos, will you be my pais? LOL
Actually, if our life-paths cross someday, I'd really enjoy sitting on the beach and talking epistemology and quantum mechanics and existentialism with you...but then, if you're as smart as you appear to be, you'd quickly take your leave and I'd be sitting there talking to myself.
I have always felt that time and research will also show the Bible up as not being so great when viewed through modern eyes.
why always defend the Bible? It seems some people keep spinning information until they find a way to explain away a criticism. people don't do that with other books because people don't see the point in defending a book that's JUST A BOOK. With the Bible, the assumption and presumption is that it is God's word BEFORE the investigation is even started. Therefore, by necessity, every criticism must be overcome, otherwise God will look bad. This process is opposite the scientific method which dictates that observation takes place first and objectively, without an interest in how the investigation turns out or how bad it makes God or the Bible look. The man above who raced to the Bible's rescue because his poor little mind couldn't cope with the idea that Jesus could have been an imperfect man who blessed an immoral relationship and was therefore a hypocrite, is a perfect example of a response to cognitive dissonance. A more appropriate response would consider the possibility that pais in this case really did indicate a sex slave situation. Not acknowledging this possibility is unscientific and logically fallacious. Of course the inverse is also true. It must be likewise observed that pais in this case does not mean sex slave. So you end up believing what you want in the end because it lies in the category of unprovable either way.
'The man above who raced to the Bible's rescue because his poor little mind couldn't cope with the idea that Jesus could have been an imperfect man who blessed an immoral relationship and was therefore a hypocrite, is a perfect example of a response to cognitive dissonance.'
You mean Narkissos? I'm pretty sure Narkissos is not a Christian Shawn.
'A more appropriate response would consider the possibility that pais in this case really did indicate a sex slave situation. Not acknowledging this possibility is unscientific and logically fallacious. Of course the inverse is also true. It must be likewise observed that pais in this case does not mean sex slave. So you end up believing what you want in the end because it lies in the category of unprovable either way.'
Did you read his post? He never said it wasn't talking about a sex slave, he just provided evidence that it didn't have to.
There is a current debate on this in JBL. An article by Theodore W. Jennings, Jr. and Tat-Siong Benny Liew (JBL, 123 ) take pais in this narrative as implying pederasty and give detailed arguments in support of this. On this reading, the centurion's request in v. 8 belies not only his faith in Jesus as a wonder-worker but also his reluctance for Jesus to come into his household and meet the boy. Should Jesus meet the boy and heal him, the boy may regard Jesus as his new patron and leave the centurion. The authors also see the implied affirmation of (Gentile) pederasty as part of Matthew's broader stance on sexual dissidents; they also point out the affirmation of such women as Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba in the Matthean genealogy, the affirmation of eunuchs in 19:10-12, and the priority given to prostitutes in 21:31. There was a recent rejoinder to this article in the 2006 volume of JBL by D. B. Saddington, who argues that the Galilee-based centurion was possibly not a Roman (and thus not a pederast along the Roman model), and who questioned other parts of the scenario. But anyway, you might want to check out these articles to get a current view on things from both sides of the argument.
Interesting. I remember the first article (which I had found unconvincing) but I haven't seen the second yet.
Just in case your argument was directed at me (?), I tend to approach the Gospel narratives mostly as literary fictions rather than memories of real events... so, as Zico pointed out, my "poor little mind" was not "racing to the Bible's rescue," lol. Just assuming for a moment that this story might be the echo of a real event (implying that we should take miracle healings at distance for a fact?), I can't help smiling at your assumption that it would make Jesus a "hypocrite" for "blessing an immoral relationship"... Immoral by whose standards?
From my (literary) perspective, I just think that, should the story deliberately imply a "sex scandal" by Jewish standards, it would have made it clearer than a mere possibility (which I don't deny) based on an ambiguous Greek word. The point about "Gentiles getting what the Jews missed," which is made in the conclusion of the story in Matthew and Luke, is narratively sufficient in both contexts imo. And the hypothesis of the centurion's jealousy (as in the triangular relationship Saul-David-Jonathan, in which the homosexual overtones are much clearer) would not have favoured this conclusion (praise of the centurion for his faith). So it doesn't work well at the pre-Gospel ("Q") level either. To have this scenario we must imagine a pre-Q state of the story. Conjectural, at best.