Excellent summary, thanks. As I have mentioned in passing a couple times to Jonathan | sex+✞heology, another less obvious vocabulary point to raise is what words Paul chose not to use. The hellenized Greek world he lived in was (as you point out) full of homosexuality, though not practiced the way we would recognize. The Greek language Paul spoke (and that his readers were mostly native in) was rich with nuanced vocabulary for homosexuality. If he had wished to clearly condemn male/male sex, he could have done so without using a rare word he might have coined himself.

His non-biblical contemporaries who wrote in Greek didn’t have any trouble writing about sex in unambiguous ways. That Paul’s Greek has to be massaged to derive the sort of full-fledged condemnation of homosexuality modern Christians are taught to believe in is a problem in itself.

That the massaging isn’t seen to occur until long after extra-scriptural Christian tradition had constructed a solid condemnation of homosexuality might be a bigger problem.

If you try to back-fit ambiguous language, after all, to support what you have already decided is true, the bar isn’t very high.

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