004-paul-corinth

I propose that Aquila and Prisca (AKA Priscilla), the man and wife mentioned in 1 Corinthians, Romans and Acts, were actually a gay married couple. Here is some of the evidence.

1. These are strange names considering that the text calls Aquila a Jew from Pontus. Aquila is Latin for “eagle” and Prisca is feminine for prescus, Latin for “ancient.” A dialect of Greek was spoken in Pontus and the names are meaningless in Greek. They have nothing to do with Judaism. The Eagle was the ensign of the Roman legion. The Eagle was associated with Zeus and Jupiter. Also the Eagle was associated with the apotheosis of the Roman Emperors, the enrollment of a mortal among the gods. “Eagle” and “Ancient” seem to be nicknames. The fact that Priscilla has a feminine nickname does not mean the person was a woman. As the wife of a man in a marriage, he might well be called by a feminine nickname. Remember the Lou Reed song “Walk on the Wild Side”

Holly came from Miami F.L.A.
Hitch-hiked her way across the U.S.A.
Plucked her eyebrows on the way
Shaved her legs and then he was a she

2. Aquila and Prisca, according to Acts and Romans, travel from Pontus to Rome, from Rome to Corinth, from Corinth to Ephesus and from Ephesus back to Rome. It would have been extremely unusual for a man to travel so much with his female wife. Women were supposed to take care of the household. That was their primary responsibility. They normally stayed at home while their husbands traveled. Travel was expensive and dangerous. There were no police forces, so if a woman was kidnapped and abused, the husband could only sue in the law courts to get her back.
Except for exceptional cases, such as Caesar bringing Cleopatra to Rome with him, women did not normally travel long distances with their husbands in the First Century in the Roman Empire.

3. Aquila and Prisca are both described as “Tent-Makers,” in Acts 18:3, “And because he was of the same craft, he stayed with them, and worked: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.”
It would have been extremely unusual for a man and women to have the same job. Most occupations were segregated by sex. Given the rough and heavy materials that tent-makers would have had to work with, it is hard to imagine a woman being allowed to do such a job. If Prisca and Aquila are really two men, this would not be a problem at all.

4. Paul forbids women to even speak in Christian meetings in Corinthians 14.34:

“Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.”

Women are to remain silent. They are not allowed to pray, recite hymns, speak in tongues or make prophesies as the men do in meetings. Paul does not make any exceptions. It is incredible to imagine he would have allowed a woman to be an apostle. If Prisca is not allowed to speak when Christians meet, how can she be an apostle? If Prisca and Aquila were both man, this would not be a problem.

5. Sometimes the name Prisca is used before the name Aquila. It would have been extremely unusual to give the woman’s name before her husband’s name. If these were two men it would not have mattered which name was used first.
Note from Wikipedia article “Priscilla and Aquila” (Retrieved March 10, 2014:

They are mentioned six times in four different books of the New Testament. They are always named as a couple and never individually. Of those six references, Priscilla’s name is mentioned first three times, which is conspicuously unusual for such a male-dominant society.[2][4] Throughout Scripture, the man is usually mentioned first; e.g., Adam and Eve, Ananias and Sapphira, making the three appearances of Priscilla’s name first a notable exception.

6. Passage 18.26-27 reads:

“He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him home and explained God’s way to him more accurately.
When Apollos wanted to cross over to Achaia, the brothers wrote to the disciples there, urging them to welcome him. On his arrival he greatly helped those who, through God’s grace, had believed.”

The term “Brothers” almost certainly refers to Prisca and Aquila. They are the only people speaking with Apollos in the previous sentence and they have just come from Corinth. There is no reason for the other “brothers” of Ephesus to want him to go there. Thus Priscilla and Aquila are referred to as “Brothers”.

7. In 3.Galatians.27, Paul writes, “28There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Thus he abolishes sexual difference between males and females. As there is no longer any difference between male and female, it follows logically that members of the church should marry men just as they marry women.

8. There is a vigorous debate regarding Romans 16:7 and the reference to an Apostle named either Junia (female) or Junias (male). The manuscript evidence is ambiguous. This indicates that early Christians disagreed if apostles could be female. Perhaps some Christians felt that it was better for Paul to be friends with a female than a gay male and changes Priscus to Prisca/Priscilla.

9. The writer says explicitly in 1. Corinthians 7. “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with women.” Here is a clear statement against heterosexuality. Paul never says that it is good for a man not to have sexual relations with men. If he felt that all sexual relations were bad, why did he not say so? As it is, he condemns only heterosexual relations.

In 1. Corinthians 7, he says, “6Now as a concession, not a command, I say this.a 7I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.” By “as myself am” The writer either means that he is homosexual or he abstains from sex. The text does not tell us which.

For all these reasons, one may suggest that both Aquila and Prisca are Early Church male Apostles in a gay marriage.