The Queen James Bible

A new edition of the Bible seeks to claify what the Bible actually says about homosexuality.

The Digital Journal reports:

“Queen James Bible” recently launched by San Francisco Episcopal minister as a gay-friendly alternative to the King James Bible.

There’s a new edition of the Bible for gay Christians titled the Queen James Bible. Launched by San Francisco Episcopal minister Reverend J. Pearson of Holy Innocents Church, the edition aims to clarify Biblical views on homosexuality.

The editors of the Queen James Bible have revised passages of Scripture which say homosexuality is a sin. Says Pearson, “Homosexuality was first overtly mentioned in the Bible in 1946 in the Revised Standard Version. There is no mention of or reference to homosexuality in any Bible prior to this – only interpretations have been made.”

According to Pearson, eight Biblical passages are commonly cited by those claiming the LGBT lifestyle is sinful. With the Queen James version, Pearson says Christians can “prevent homophobic misinterpretation of key verses.”

According to the Editors Notes, there are four reasons for the revision and it only affects eight particular verses.

Why We Chose the King James Version

We chose the 1769 form of the King James Bible for our revision for the following reasons:

1. The obvious gay link to King James, known amongst friends and courtiers as “Queen James” because of his many gay lovers.

2. No Bible is perfect, but everyone knows the King James Bible; It is arguably the most popular Bible in history and the basis of many other translations.

3. Most English Bible translations that actively condemn homosexuality have based themselves on the King James Version and have erroneously adapted its words to support their own agenda. We wanted to return to the clean source and start there.

4. Some claim the language of the KJV is antiquated, but we believe it is poetic, traditional, and ceremonial. Christianity is an ancient tradition, and the King James and resultant Queen James versions remind us and keep us connected to that tradition.

What We Changed

The Bible says nothing about homosexuality. However, there might be no other argument in contemporary faith as heated as what the Bible is interpreted to say about homosexuality.

The Bible is the word of God translated by man. This (saying nothing countless translations and the evolution of language itself) means the Bible can be interpreted in different ways, leading to what we call “interpretive ambiguity.” In editing The Queen James Bible we were faced with the decision to modify existing interpretively ambiguous language, or simply to delete it.

There are problems with removal of verses:

• It doesn’t address the problem of interpretive ambiguity, it only brushes it under the rug.

• It renders an incomplete Bible.

• Revelation says not to “edit the book,” and people often extend that to mean the entire Bible, not just the book of Revelation.

We also refused to just say “that’s outdated” and omit something. Yes, things like Leviticus are horribly outdated, but that doesn’t stop people from citing them. We wanted our Bible bulletproof from the ones shooting the bullets.

There are also problems with editing verses:

• The context, idiom, and grammar from the time are almost impossible to recreate. • Changes could further create interpretive ambiguity.

Many versions of the Bible translated and published since the King James Bible have changed the language, so the precedent had been set for editing. Furthermore, both problems with editing are easily addressed by deciding to make the edits as simple as possible.

We edited the Bible to prevent homophobic interpretations. We made changes to eight verses

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4 Comments
  1. tgflux

    Seems pretty silly (and among the gay anti-theist crowd I often hang out in, Joe.My.God.com, received great excoriation).

    But the proof is in the pudding: does it HELP Bible-believers w/ their (false translation/interpretation-based) homophobia problem? [Or, more likely, does it help self-loathing gay LGBT Christians overcome their self-loathing?]

    Then, to each their own (bible).

    JC Fisher

  2. Bill Dilworth

    It’s a bad idea on a couple of levels. First, I think it’s a terrible idea to whitewash Christian and Jewish theological history. Claims that religious homophobia is all just a terrible misinterpretation of biblical texts are unconvincing intellectual whistling past the graveyard. Oddly, they seem partially an attempt to preserve biblical infallibility by explaining away difficult passages rather than facing the alleged infallibility head-on.

    Secondly, as far as biblical literalists are concerned, it’s the sort of “tampering with God’s word” that Paul disavows in 2Cor 4:2. The targeting of only the clobber verses reveals it to be completely tendentious.

    Last, the edition’s title plays into stereotypes about gay behavior.

    And who is “J Pearson,” anyway? S/he is credited in the anti-gay “Christian” press as the Episcopal minister at Holy Innocents, SF, behind this thing, but the book’s website doesn’t mention any names, as far as I can tell, and there doesn’t seem to be a priest with that combination of first initial and surname, at least not in Clergy Finder. There is a priest named Pearson listed on the Holy Innocents web page,but his first name is Albert/Bertie.

  3. tgflux

    “Claims that religious homophobia is all just a terrible misinterpretation of biblical texts are unconvincing intellectual whistling past the graveyard.”

    {whistles}

    Well, that’s largely me you’re describing then, Bill.

    There’s no arguing that, for centuries, Judaism and Christianity (in their “sodomy” misinterpretation) condemned anal sex between men. Nor, that the Judeo-Christian cultures of misogyny made ANYTHING other male-superior het-sex (requiring marriage for females; w/ males, optional!) fraught w/ social danger.

    But I think it’s an anachronistic stretch to call pre-20th century attitudes “religious homophobia”. There simply wasn’t a widespread enough knowledge of “homo” to have “phobia” about!

    JC Fisher

    [I think the rest of your critique of the “QJB” is quite valid.]

  4. Bill Dilworth

    JC, you’re right – you put it much better than I did.

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