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For instance, in defining porneia/fornication, Kittel and Friedrich's 1977 Theological Dictionary of the New Testament states that "The NT is characterized by an unconditional repudiation of all extra-marital and unnatural intercourse".
Lee Gatiss also argues that porneia encompasses all forms of premarital sex.
He states that, from a Biblical perspective, "physical union should not take place outside a "one flesh" (i.e. In [1 Corinthians] chapter 7 Paul addresses the situation of two unmarried Christians who are burning with passion (7:8–9) who should either exercise self-control or be permitted to marry (cf. The underlying assumptions are the same as those in Deuteronomy 22." However, a minority of theologians have argued in more recent times that premarital sex may not be immoral in some limited circumstances.
An example is John Witte, who argues that the Bible itself is silent on the issue of consensual, premarital sex between an engaged couple.
In modern usage, the term is often replaced with a more judgment-neutral term like extramarital sex.
In the late 4th century, the Latin Vulgate, a Latin translation of the Greek texts, translated the term as fornicati, fornicatus, fornicata, and fornicatae.
The first word is restricted to contexts involving sexual betrayal of a spouse; however, the second word is used as a generic term for illegitimate sexual activity, although many scholars hold that the Septuagint uses "porneia" to refer specifically to male temple prostitution.
In other words, Witte claims that the Bible excludes premarital sex from its list of unlawful sexual relations (Leviticus 18) though Leviticus 18 is not the only such list, nor does Leviticus 18 claim to be exhaustive being devoted largely to forms of incest.
Some of the debate arises from the question of which theological approach is being applied.
One theory therefore suggests that it is these behaviours, and only these, that are intended by Paul's prohibition in chapter seven.
However, most mainstream Christian sources believe that porneia encompasses all forms of premarital sex.