“1946: The Mistranslation That Shifted Culture” is a feature documentary that follows the story of tireless researchers who trace the origins of the anti-gay movement among Christians which originates from a mistranslation of the Bible in 1946.
The director Sharon “Rocky” Roggio’s mission: “It is my goal to change the Christian narrative and liberate the many LGBTQIA+ people living in the dark; oppressed by bad theology. I want us all to live and be acknowledged as equals, under God’s love. There are truths that must be shared.”
The documentary chronicles the discovery of never-before-seen archives at Yale University which unveil astonishing new revelations, and casts significant doubt on any biblical basis for LGBTQIA+ prejudice. Featuring commentary from prominent scholars as well as opposing pastors, including the personal stories of the film’s creators, 1946 is at once challenging, enlightening, and inspiring.
While other documentaries have been successful in their attempt to treat the symptom of homophobia in the church, 1946 is working to diagnose and treat the disease – Biblical Literalism.
The words “homosexual” and “heterosexual” first appeared as German words by Austrian-born Hungarian psychologist, Karoly Maria Benkert, in the late 19th century, who wrote under pseudonym K.M. Kertbeny.
Ed Oxford is a scholar and researcher. A gay Christian, as well as a graduate of the Talbot School of Theology, his specialty is the history of the Bible, focusing on Bible translations, with a focus on the Greek and Hebrew translations, especially those that relate to human sexuality. Kathy Baldock is executive director of Canyon Walker Connections, an organization dedicated to repairing “the division that exists between Christian conservatives and the LGBT+ community, through education, training, and dialogue.”
Each had been dedicated to researching the roots of antigay ideology, and together have written Forging a “Sacred” Weapon: How the Bible Became Anti-Gay. In the process of this research, they discovered boxes and boxes of notes in the Yale University archives, among them a half-century old letter written by a young seminarian named David S., to the RSV — Revised Standard Version of the Bible — committee.
Now, the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, is, according to the National Council of Churches, the “authorized revision of the American Standard Version, published in 1901, which itself was a revision of the King James Version, published in 1611.”
This is important to know, because the actual word “homosexual” appears for the first time on February 11, 1946 in the Revised Standard Version. In it, their translation of 1 Corinthians 6:9, they substitute the word “homosexual” for the the Greek words “malakoi” and “arsenokoitai.”
Further, as Ed Oxford explains on Forge (an organization that “that creates space for post-evangelical conversations, which includes tools and resources for LGBT+ inclusion in the church”) “…We went to Leviticus 18:22 and translating it for me word for word. In the English where it says, ‘Man shall not lie with man, for it is an abomination,’ the German version says, ‘Man shall not lie with young boys as he does with a woman, for it is an abomination.’ I said, ‘What?! Are you sure?’ He said, ‘Yes!” Then we went to Leviticus 20:13— same thing, ‘Young boys.’ So we went to 1 Corinthians to see how they translated arsenokoitai (original Greek word) and instead of homosexuals it said, ‘Boy molesters will not inherit the kingdom of God.’”
Further from there, Ed Oxford adds, “I then grabbed my facsimile copy of Martin Luther’s original German translation from 1534. My friend is reading through it for me and he says, “Ed, this says the same thing!” They use the word knabenschander. Knaben is boy, schander is molester. This word ‘boy molesters’ for the most part carried through the next several centuries of German Bible translations. Knabenschander is also in 1 Timothy 1:10. So the interesting thing is, I asked if they ever changed the word arsenokoitai to homosexual in modern translations. So my friend found it and told me, ‘The first time homosexual appears in a German translation is 1983.’”
Although the error was corrected from “homosexual” to “sexual perverts” in the Revised Standard Version in 1971, the damage had been heavily done, with the word “homosexual” appearing in most translations of the Bible, mostly in 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10. This became the fuel for the antigay movement embraced by American conservative Christians, as well as others around the world.
1946, explores and enlightens about this issue, using research and physical evidence, as well as the testimony of scholars, academics, and experts in the field. The movie also features an original soundtrack from queer musician Mary Lambert.
1946 currently can be watched in select movie theaters at festivals, we’ll keep you posted as it becomes available online.
More info at 1946themovie.com.