In a recent post, Remnant of Giants interpreted the David and Goliath story as a displaced tryst between two homosexual men. The post was commented on by classicist Jean-Fabrice Nardelli. As Jean-Fabrice’s very interesting comment was buried among the other comments, I have elevated it to this post for more people to see and read:
Once and for all, let it be said that Gagnon is an inaccurate and poor student of Biblical homosexuality : he is far too opinionated and self-indulging for someone who would have us believe in his impeccable judgement (whence my jibe at his status as an ayatollah), has no grasp whasoever of the major ancient Near Eastern languages apart from Masoretic Hebrew, never consults scholarly literature in other tongues (German and French Bible studies simply do not exist for him), and he is ridiculously parochial in his selection of primary and secondary sources (they are principally American, and wherever possible come from the Evangelical right). Just consult any piece of his which appears on his website ; you will discover that he is all rhetoric and blistering, with virtually nothing in guise of scientific apparatus. I would have been loathe to expose him for what he is (see S. Ackerman, When Heroes Love. The Ambiguity of Eros in the Stories of Gilgamesh and David , 16-17 ; J. E. Miller, ‘A Response to Robert Gagnon on “The Old Testament and Homosexuality”’, Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 119, 2007, 86-89) had he been decent enough not to charge his opponents with gross dishonesty. So let us not mince words any longer.
As a bit of background, the queer interpretation of David and Goliath was earlier this month suggested by Dan Wells, in the comments section to Ben Witherington’s The Third’s reproduction of Robert Gagnon’s reply to Jennifer Knust. It was taken up with some spirit by BW16 in the same comments section. The debate prompted BW16 to start his own blog, in which he opens up these and related issues. Jean-Fabrice Nardelli is a classicist at the Université de Provence, and the author, inter alia, of Homosexuality and liminality in the Gilgames and Samuel (Adolf M. Hakkert, 2007).