Are We Eunuchs


OK so I was wrong, or at least I think I was!

 I have stated that there is nothing in the Bible concerning those that are transgendered. And I also stated there was no word in any of the used Bible languages for homosexuals. There is however a word which from usage encompassed both. And that is eunuch.

 A common misconception is that they were castrated males. Some of them were, but most were not.  

This is not a Biblical study as such but I did start out there, and there is quite a bit of historical data there, so yes there is a Biblical section. I had wondered at the lack of evidence of any T*  activity in the Bible, and   Matt 19:11-12. Started me thinking.

Literally the two verses are.

There is a reason there are some eunuchs which were born from a mothers womb and there are some eunuchs  which were made by man. And there are eunuchs which caused themselves to become eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven.

 This seems to be the differentiation in most cultures. Born, man made, and self made.   

  I am going to deviate from my usual pattern and give a summery of what I have found. The supporting material is admittedly lengthy and this will  hit some of the highlights.

The evidence is convincing that the term eunuch included male, gender variant folks, in the same sorts of numbers,  status,  position/employment, and condition as those we see in other cultures,  times, and locations. Those that were female and gender variant are not as well addressed, I would expect this was largely cultural and the status of women at the time was often that of property. There is however a fair amount of information and this is included.

 We seem to be finding a cultural universal, with gender variant individuals filling essentially the same niches in other cultures, through out history.    

First evidence chronologically is Inscribed pottery shards discovered near ancient Thebes (now Luxor, Egypt), and dating from the Middle Kingdom (2000-1800 BCE), contain a listing of three genders of humanity: males, eunuchs, and females, in that order.

Eunuchs in this instance is a later translation and should probably be third gender. Interestingly enough it includes gender variant females as well as males. Evidence from Egyptian mythology also bears this out. 

In the section of the ancient Roman Digest of Laws dealing with women's claims on their dowries, the Roman jurist Ulpian faces the issue of marriages between women and eunuch slaves. He says: "If a woman marries a eunuch, I think that a distinction must be drawn whether he has been castrated or not, because in the case of a castrated man, there is no dowry; if the person has not been castrated, then there can be a marriage, and so there is a dowry, and a claim on it." This is especially of interest as it gives a side view and proof is absolute that some were not castrated and could father children. 

Josephus, in Jewish Antiquities IV 8,40, indicated that in the case of some, since "it is evident that their soul has become effeminate, they have transfused that effeminacy to their body also." Referring to those that are transgendered.

    Some women are alleged in ancient cultures to have a "male" nature. Based on evidence from the Code of Hammurabi, the Sumerian culture recognized a separate type of woman called a salzikrum.2Salzikrum is a compound word meaning "male daughter." A salzikrum was entitled to greater rights of inheritance than an ordinary woman. Like a priestess, she could inherit a full share of her father's estate to use during her lifetime, after which it reverted to her brothers' heirs, while an ordinary woman was not entitled to a share in the paternal estate at all. If the father made a written stipulation to her, a salzikrum could also dispose of her inheritance in any way she wanted.



Last modified: 12/24/13