Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness
of a woman and her daughter, neither shalt thou take
her son's daughter, or her daughter's daughter, to uncover
her nakedness; for they are her near kinswomen: it is
Incest is fairly comprehensively prohibited in Leviticus 18:6-18,
and there was a natural dislike of incest, as of all sexual
activity though the greatest Christian scholars regarded
it as being at the less serious end of the spectrum. Incest,
even between mother and son, was far less serious than masturbation*.
Lot and His Daughters with the burning
of Sodom Beyond,
attributed to Lazarus van Borchlot (c 1575 - c 1611)
One daughter seduces her father, while the other pours
Much of the Old Testament is also remarkably tolerant of incest.
Most of the key characters in the scriptures were credited with
having participated. Among them were
- Adam and his family;
- Noah and his family;
- Lot and his daughters (Genesis 19:30-38);
- Abraham with Sarah his half-sister (Genesis 20:12);
- Judah, with his daughter-in-law Tamar, innocently thinking
she was a prostitute (Genesis 38:6ff); and
- Amnon who raped his half-sister (another Tamar 2
Lot and his Daughters (1616),
by Hendrick Goltzius
The picture shows Lot being seduced by his daughters.
The fox behind the tree symbolizes female cunning. Just
visible n the background is the pilar of salt, Lot's late
According to Deuteronomy 2:9 and 2:19, God gave the Moabites
and the Ammonites special protection because they were descended
from incestuous couplings that of Lot and his daughters.
Normal earthly taboos do not seem to apply in Heaven. According
to many Christians, Mary is the bride of Christ as well as his
Incest clearly ran in Noah's family,
as the genealogy below shows
For many centuries the Church regarded mariages between even
distant relatives as incestuous. Any marriage where the two
spouses were related to each other within the seventh degree
were considered incestuous. Fortunately, excemptions could be
purchased - and among the royal and noble families of Western
Christendom, very frequently were.