Did Paul Have Homosexual Urges?

In the book of Acts, we are informed that Paul had Tim­o­thy cir­cum­cised:

Acts 16:3
1 And he came also to Derbe and to Lystra: and behold, a cer­tain dis­ci­ple was there, named Tim­o­thy, the son of a Jew­ess that believed; but his father was a Greek.
2 The same was well report­ed of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Ico­ni­um.
3 Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and he took and cir­cum­cised him because of the Jews that were in those parts: for they all knew that his father was a Greek.

Paul cir­cum­cised Tim­o­thy because he was fac­ing stiff oppo­si­tion from the Jews. Thus, in order to avoid get­ting into more trou­ble Paul had Tim­o­thy cir­cum­cised, even though Timothy’s father hap­pened to be a Greek Gen­tile. But why was the cir­cum­ci­sion debate impor­tant for the Jews whom Paul want­ed to paci­fy?

To some Gen­tile read­ers, this cir­cum­ci­sion debate might seem periph­er­al. Some men are cir­cum­cised, oth­ers not — so what? In order to see the rev­o­lu­tion that Paul was effect­ing with­in Jew­ish cir­cles (or satel­lites) we turn to the old rab­binic texts. The rab­bis con­sid­ered cir­cum­ci­sion so impor­tant that they declared 6 that were it not for the blood of the covenant — that is to say, the blood which flowed from Abraham’s penis when, at God’s insis­tence, he cir­cum­cised him­self — heav­en and earth would not exist. The teach­ing of Judaism was that a child must still shed the blood of a covenant — even if he is born with­out a fore­skin, and even if for some med­ical or oth­er rea­son he is cir­cum­cised before the mys­ti­cal eighth day. Even the angels are cir­cum­cised.

Con­verts to Judaism in the Roman peri­od had to under­go cir­cum­ci­sion. Strange­ly enough, in Pales­tine rules were more lib­er­al than in the Dias­po­ra, and there were Pros­e­lytes of the Gate, as they were known, who were allowed to ‘become Jews’ with­out cir­cum­ci­sion. But such was not the gen­er­al rule. It was wide­ly believed that the admis­sion of uncir­cum­cised men into Jew­ish reli­gious wor­ship ‘imped­ed the arrival of the Mes­si­ah’. While ‘semi-con­verts’ were allowed, those who observed the Sab­bath and the dietary laws, they were to be regard­ed as hea­thens if after a twelve-month peri­od they had not under­gone cir­cum­ci­sion. These strin­gent rules did not deter con­verts.1

So now we need to ask, how was cir­cum­ci­sion prac­tised then? What was the method used in those days to cir­cum­cise some­one? A. N. Wil­son fur­ther explains that:

By Roman times, cir­cum­ci­sion was done with a met­al knife, and, if we believe that Paul did insist on Tim­o­thy under­go­ing cir­cum­ci­sion, it is per­haps worth remind­ing our­selves of the three essen­tial parts of the rit­u­al, with­out which it is not com­plete. The first part is milah, the cut­ting away of the out­er part of the fore­skin. The is done with one sweep of the knife. The sec­ond part, peri­ah, is the tear­ing of the inner lin­ing of the fore­skin which still adheres to the gland, so as to lay it whol­ly bare. This was (and is) done by the oper­a­tor — the mohel, the pro­fes­sion­al cir­cum­cis­er — with his thumb-nail and index fin­ger. The third and essen­tial part of the rit­u­al is mesisah, the suck­ing of blood from the wound. Since the nine­teenth cen­tu­ry, it has been per­mis­si­ble to fin­ish this part of the rit­u­al with a swab, but in all pre­ced­ing cen­turies and cer­tain­ly in the time of Paul it was nec­es­sary for the mohel to clean the wound by tak­ing the penis into his mouth. In the case of a young adult male such as Tim­o­thy the bleed­ing would have been copi­ous. We can eas­i­ly imag­ine why Paul’s Gen­tile con­verts were unwill­ing to under­go the rit­u­al; and, giv­en the more lib­er­al atti­tudes towards the Torah which had already begun to emerge among the Hel­lenists of Syr­i­an Anti­och, it is not sur­pris­ing that the cus­tom of cir­cum­ci­sion should have start­ed to wane. It took the extrem­ism of Paul to think that the knife of cir­cum­ci­sion would actu­al­ly ‘cut you off from Christ’. 2

In oth­er words, Paul had to take the penis of Tim­o­thy in his mouth in order to cir­cum­cise him! Note also how strong­ly Paul oppos­es cir­cum­ci­sion else­where in the New Tes­ta­ment:

Gala­tians 5:2–6
2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that, if ye receive cir­cum­ci­sion, Christ will prof­it you noth­ing.
3 Yea, I tes­ti­fy again to every man that receiveth cir­cum­ci­sion, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
4 Ye are sev­ered from Christ, ye would be jus­ti­fied by the law; ye are fall­en away from grace.
5 For we through the Spir­it by faith wait for the hope of right­eous­ness.
6 For in Christ Jesus nei­ther cir­cum­ci­sion availeth any­thing, nor uncir­cum­ci­sion; but faith work­ing through love.

How­ev­er, when it came to sav­ing him­self from some trou­ble, Paul imme­di­ate­ly had Tim­o­thy cir­cum­cised so that the Jews would not both­er him any fur­ther. Since we are aware of Paul’s intense oppo­si­tion to cir­cum­ci­sion no mat­ter what the rea­sons are, sure­ly his cir­cum­ci­sion of Tim­o­thy indi­cates the hid­den homo­sex­u­al desires that he wished to ful­fill at least once in his life­time? He prob­a­bly had a deep desire to take a penis into his mouth, so when an oppor­tu­ni­ty comes along, he decid­ed to avail it. Hence he now has a good excuse to take a penis into his mouth and no one could object to that.

One can­not claim that some­one oth­er than Paul had cir­cum­cised Tim­o­thy, because it is clear­ly stat­ed that it was Paul who had cir­cum­cised him. There was no press­ing need for Paul to cir­cum­cise Tim­o­thy if indeed he was staunch­ly opposed to the prac­tice, as relat­ed in the account in Gala­tians. But that he did went ahead and con­duct­ed the cir­cum­ci­sion gives us a rea­son to pause, as it sug­gests that he had homo­sex­u­al urges.

Now it is our turn to say:

What­ev­er inter­pre­ta­tion Chris­tians may have giv­en to Paul’s action lat­er on (whether cor­rect­ly or incor­rect­ly), the fact that Paul would put the penis of an adult man in his mouth is shame­ful and dis­gust­ing to say the least.

Please note that if such a tra­di­tion was locat­ed with­in any Islam­ic lit­er­a­ture or in the Qur’an, and if it is required to take the pri­vate organ with one’s mouth, the above is pre­cise­ly the type of argu­ment the Chris­t­ian mis­sion­ar­ies would have vig­or­ous­ly point­ed out in order to demonise Mus­lims and their reli­gion. Hence the above para­graph is in real­i­ty the out­come if one hap­pens to think like a per­vert as the Chris­t­ian mis­sion­ar­ies obvi­ous­ly are.

  1. A. N. Wil­son, Paul The Mind Of The Apos­tle, (Pim­li­co, 1998), p. 128 []
  2. Ibid., p. 131 []