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Harvard Bible scholar says passage condemning gays was rewritten — original specifically said gay sex was fine

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The original version of Leviticus expressly permitted gay sex, a Biblical scholar writes in the New York Times.

Idan Dershowitz is a fellow at Harvard and has studied the development of the Old Testament carefully, including Leviticus 20:13 which reads that “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.”

This was likely the first law anywhere banning gay sex, Dershowitz says, and it was added a century after the original, which expressly permitted it.

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“Like many ancient texts, Leviticus was created gradually over a long period and includes the words of more than one writer. Many scholars believe that the section in which Leviticus 18 appears was added by a comparatively late editor, perhaps one who worked more than a century after the oldest material in the book was composed,” he writes.

Dershowitz laid out his claim that the original version expressly permitted gay sex in a scholarly article for Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel.

“There is good evidence that an earlier version of the laws in Leviticus 18 permitted sex between men,” he argues. “In addition to having the prohibition against same-sex relations added to it, the earlier text, I believe, was revised in an attempt to obscure any implication that same-sex relations had once been permissible.”

His argument hinges on textual analysis, which he says offers “strong evidence of editorial intervention.”

“One can only imagine how different the history of civilization might have been had the earlier version of Leviticus 18’s laws entered the biblical canon,” he writes.

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Read the full piece here.


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Can pets get COVID-19? It’s complicated

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News surfaced yesterday that a tiger at New York's Bronx Zoo tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The discovery raises new questions about whether pets can contract the virus, and if it is contagious from pets (or zoo animals) to humans.

This article first appeared in Salon.

Nadia, a four-year-old Malayan tiger who lives at the Bronx Zoo, was suffering from a dry cough and loss of appetite, which prompted the test for novel coronavirus. Nadia's symptoms were first noticed on March 27, and zoo officials decided to test her "out of an abundance of caution," according to a statement from the Wildlife Conservation Society.

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Peter Navarro warned Trump coronavirus could kill 500,000 Americans — back in January: NYT

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President Donald Trump was warned COVID-19 could be catastrophic, according to a bombshell new report published online by The New York Times on Monday evening.

"A top White House adviser starkly warned Trump administration officials in late January that the coronavirus crisis could cost the United States trillions of dollars and put millions of Americans at risk of illness or death," the newspaper reported.

"The warning, written in a memo by Peter Navarro, President Trump’s trade adviser, is the highest-level alert known to have circulated inside the West Wing as the administration was taking its first substantive steps to confront a crisis that had already consumed China’s leaders and would go on to upend life in Europe and the United States," The Times continued.

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Oil prices jump on hopes for output cut deal

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Oil prices rebounded Tuesday on fresh hopes an OPEC-led meeting this week will reach an agreement to reduce oversupply and shore up the market.

Prices have fallen sharply since expectations for a quick deal to cut output levels were dashed, but the rescheduling to Thursday of a meeting of major crude producers boosted sentiment.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate was up 3.83 percent to $27.08 a barrel in Asian morning trade.

A barrel of Brent crude, the international benchmark, was trading 2.81 percent higher at $33.98.

Prices fell to 18-year lows last week as the market wallowed in oversupply arising from a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, which have ramped up production.

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