AO 8:04, Jul/Aug 2005
A Rose by any Other Name...
In a letter in the May/June 2005 issue, Lynne Norris asks, “Can’t we find a term other than ‘prostitution’ to refer to a sexual activity that is part of a religious practice?” She suggests that the young women who performed sex at a temple at Pompeii (see “The First Days of Pompeii,” 08:01) may have been serving as priestesses.
Many years ago Morton Smith of Columbia University suggested that the women who engage in these temple rites be called “lay sisters.”
Charles A. Kennedy
Professor of Religion, Emeritus
Virginia Polytechnic University
Merytamun the Fair