Friday, June 16, 2006

The Man Jesus Loved

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Can a homosexual be a Christian, or can a Christian be a homosexual? Can they be one in the same? Do you think Jesus was close to Peter, James and quite possibly John, his most beloved desciple? Who was the beloved, and what are the meanings of interpretation? I always wondered about the real "relationship" between Jesus and his most beloved. I studied this subject when I was in Seminary, many years ago...

David Tracy says "Every read is an interpretation..." I have alot of reading under my belt and I have a few interpretations of my own, with reference to texts I have read over the years. I love this book. If you've not read it - may I suggest you do. I think this texts illuminates the reader to asking some really hard questions.

Excerpts from "The Man Jesus Loved" by Theodore W. Jennings, Jr.

"Despite these important caveats, however, we have seen that considerable evidence supports the view that Jesus' primary affectional relationship was with another man, one who was called in the Gospel of John "the desciple Jesus loved." Moreover we have seen that the reading of references to this relationship that makes the most sense is one which infers a relationship of physical and emotional intimacy, a relationship that we might otherwise suppose would be the potential subject of erotic meditation, of sexual expression. The worldview of the Gospel of John, like that of other Gospels, is one that seems to oppose the ascetic views that would preclude this sexual expression. Therefore we should most likely think of this relationship as sexual in character..."

"Even in the Gospels (Matthew and Luke) that seem not to give evidence of this "dangerous memory," we find indications that Jesus was remembered as being open to and affirmative of a relationship (between the centurion and his youth) that appears to conform to models of hellenistic pederastic love..."

"We have also seen that the Jesus tradition carries the marks of a strong subversion of gender roles, roles that were sometimes used to discredit same sex relationships in the Roman hellenistic world and which have continued to be used in that way in our own centutry. The Jesus tradition affirms the very sort of gender subversion that was then sometimes associated with same-sex love. This affirmation occurs in these documents despite the fact that contemporaneous developments in the Christian tradition (Pauline and post-Pauline letters) seek to reinstate traditional gender role expectations in the Christian community..."

"At the beginning of the study 'Jennings' referred to the work of counterhomophobic exegesis that has greatly reduced the number of biblical texts that may plausibly be used to license homophobia. The result of that labor is that the biblical foundation for opposition to same-sex love has been reduced to two verses in the Hebrew Bible of decidedly late provenance, two verses of the Pauline corpus of disputed meaning, and two words whose relevance is generally disputed appreaing in two further verses attributed to Paul. At most then, six verses of the Bible are adducted to oppose what we now call homosexuality..."

"In contrast, the material that seems hospitable to same-sex relations includes, as we have seen, all four Gospels of the New Testament. Not just six verses, but entire books of the New Testament offer a positive view of same sex erotic attachment. Nor are they narratives tucked away in a corner somewhere but they are obviously central to the biblical story, at least insofar as Christians are concerned..."

"Homophobia is a key element in the long history of the expropriation of the Bible to legitimate injustice: the injustice of rapacious economic systems, violent political systems, institutions of racism and slavery, of patriarchy and heterosexism. All of the 'INTERPRETATIONS" may lay claim to a long and hallowed tradition, but that does not make them true. I hope 'Jennings' that the fact that the interpretations offered here (in the book) run counter to silimarly long-established traditions will not prevent readers from taking them seriously enough to attend to the Biblical texts to which they refer."

Excerpts taken from Chapter 14 - Was Jesus Gay? (pages 233- 236)


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