Bible mysteries explored in new book on the New Testament writings of Paul
By Linda Albert | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
When I requested a copy of “Pauline Paradoxes Decoded,” a book by cryptographer Michael Wood, I was intrigued by his views on the Apostle Paul’s writings and what many consider to be contradictions in those New Testament texts. According to a news release, Wood has used his decoding skills to more accurately decipher the meaning of words and symbols as used at the time of the writing of these books.
I’ll be totally honest. This book is far more detailed and scholarly than I expected. It is very difficult to understand, and I would not recommend it to the casual reader. But, for those who are willing to spend time figuratively peeling away the layers of the ancient texts and finding the very heart of the words’ meanings, some ideas held for centuries about the writings may change.
For example, Wood’s analysis on Paul’s writings on homosexuality are very different than what we’ve normally been taught. From the release, Wood says, “When his writings are properly translated, it’s clear that Apostle Paul not only did not condemn homosexuals, but he openly defended them against the religious views of his day.”
Quoting again from the release, “The downloads section of Wood’s website (http://www.michaelwoodcrypto.com) contains a five-page analysis of Paul’s actual position on homosexuality, entitled ‘Apostle Paul Defends Homosexuals.’ Wood also makes available a full excerpt of a crucial section of his book, entitled ‘Law and Pederasty,’ which thoroughly documents that Paul used the Greek word arsenokoites to exclude rapers of boys from God’s Kingdom, not homosexuals as conventional Bibles say.
“‘Mr. Wood presents exhaustive evidence from first and second century documents, both Greek and Jewish, for the authentic, original meaning of arsenokoites,’ says William Berg, Ph.D. in Classical Languages (Princeton University). ‘As it turns out, arsenokoites was understood as boy-raper, not just throughout antiquity, but through the time of Martin Luther and well into the modern age.’
“Wood says there is only one reference to homosexuality in Paul’s letters, even though conventional Bibles claim there are three. He says conventional Bibles contain two passages which mistranslate the Greek word arsenokoites (1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:9). This leaves only one unequivocal reference to consensual adult same-sex acts, and Wood asserts he has found documentation that Paul’s only reference to homosexuals was written to defend them against the religious views of his day. …
“Wood says, ‘Scholarly confusion over Paul’s view of law has caused theologians to misperceive Paul’s view of the Jewish legal prohibition of homosexuality; the prohibition found in Leviticus. Many Christians today invoke Leviticus against homosexuals, yet this was the very passage that Paul openly defended homosexuals against.’”
“Pauline Paradoxes Decoded” contains 525 pages of Wood’s analyses of Paul’s writings, dealing with much more than the relatively short treatment of homosexuality. Paul’s seemingly cryptic and contradictory writings on religious law are thoroughly examined and, Wood says, are reconciled.
Some background on Michael Wood was presented in the release, as well. “As a preacher’s son, Michael Wood won many denominational awards for memorizing entire books of the Bible word for word. As a young adult, he achieved international acclaim for creating the unbreakable code REDOC-II. Later in life, he began to combine his two passions of cryptography and the Bible, making ground-breaking discoveries which are changing the minds of today’s leading biblical scholars.
Wood’s cryptanalytic and religious worlds collided when he began to study the Dead Sea Scrolls. He quickly realized the experience he gained in cryptanalytic thinking afforded him a unique opportunity to empirically solve some of the still outstanding ancient mysteries. His initial success in making ground-breaking discoveries through cryptanalysis of the Dead Sea Scrolls further inflamed his passion for fusing the historical record, the Bible and cryptography.”
Wood’s other books include “The Jerome Conspiracy;” “The Hidden Bible;” “The Jesus Secret, Breaking the Romans Code;” and “Paul on Homosexuality.” You can learn more at http://www.michaelwoodcrypto.com .
Is Wood correct in his views? I’m not qualified to answer that, but I have no doubt that when God wishes to make the mysteries of his Word known, He will do so.
Linda Albert is Sunday Life editor for The Daily Times. Contact her at 981-1168 or (email@example.com)