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Religious Tolerance logo

Yeshua of Nazareth/Jesus Christ

Part 2 of 3:
Was Yeshua of Nazareth straight, bisexual or gay?

This topic is a continuation of the previous essay.

 

Indications that Jesus may not have had a heterosexual orientation:

That is, he was gay or bisexual:

bullet

Patrick Goodenough, writing for CrossWalk.com said:

"In the Gospel of John, the disciple John frequently refers to himself in the third person as 'the disciple whom Jesus loved'." 1

One might argue that Jesus loved all of his followers in a non-sexual way. Thus to identify Jesus' love for John in a special way might indicate a sexual relationship. The disciple was "the" beloved. He was in a class by himself. 

During the Last Supper before Jesus' execution, the author(s) of the Gospel of John describes how the "beloved" disciple laid himself on Jesus' inner tunic -- his undergarment. See John 13:25 and 21:20. Robert Goss, assistant professor of comparative religion at Webster University in St. Louis, LA, noted that Jesus and the beloved disciple:

"... eat together, side by side. What's being portrayed here is a pederastic relationship between an older man and a younger man. A Greek reader would understand." 2

On the other hand:

bulletSome commentators have suggested that it was a common practice in Judea at that time for heterosexual man to lay his head on another's undergarment. Such behavior was common between two heterosexuals in an emotionally close but non-erotic relationship during the first century CE. 3
 
bullet Jenny Stokes, research director for Saltshakers, a conservative Christian group in Australia, said that there are five words for love in Greek (the language in which the Gospels were written):
bulletAgape: spiritual, unconditional love,
bulletEros: erotic love,
bulletPhilia: love between friends,
bulletStorge: familial love.

The Gospel references to "the disciple whom Jesus loved" use the word "agape."  4 Whether the authors originally used "eros" and the word was subsequently changed is open to speculation.
 

bullet"Jagannath" interprets the Gospels differently. He argues that Jesus may have been bisexual. He wrote:

"In the Book of John a word is used eight times that means 'is in love with' with the implication of sexual intimacy. Five times it is used with reference to Jesus' relationship with John. Once it is used to define Jesus' relationship with Lazarus. And it is also used to describe his relationship with Mary and with her sister Martha." 5

bulletDuring the crucifixion, in John 19:26-28, Jesus is described as seeing his mother and an unidentified man: "the disciple standing by, whom he loved." Again, Jesus probably loved all of his 12 or 70 disciples in a non-sexual manner. But this particular disciple is identified as "the" disciple who Jesus loved. That might indicate a special intimate relationship with one special disciple.
 
bulletThe late Morton Smith, of Columbia University reported in 1958 that he had found a fragment of a manuscript which at the Mar Saba monastery near Jerusalem. It contained the full text of Mark, chapter 10. Apparently the version that is in the Christian Scriptures is an edited version of the original. Additional verses allegedly formed part of the full version of Mark, and were inserted after verse 34. It discusses how a young man, naked but for a linen covering, expressed his love for Jesus and stayed with him at his place all night. More details.
 
bullet

"J Richards" suggested that Mark 7:14-16 shows that Jesus approves of homosexual acts. The critical phrase reads:

"There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him..."

Richards suggests that Jesus gave great emphasis to this teaching, directing it to everyone. Richards suggests that the sentence refers to dietary laws and also extends to:

"blood transfusions, medication, organ transplants, and artificial insemination"

He suggests that it could apply to homosexual acts as well. 6

On the other hand, these words have historically been interpreted as overturning the Mosaic law about eating,
 

bullet

Rollan McCleary, was awarded his doctorate from the University of Queensland in Australia during 2003-MAY for his work researching the sexual orientation of Jesus and his disciples. He concluded that Jesus and at least three of his disciples were gay. He based this conclusion on excerpts from the Gospel of John and on Jesus' astrological chart based on the approximate year, month, day and place where he was born.

Unfortunately, not even the year of Jesus' birth is actually known. Many theologians have concluded that Jesus was born sometime in the Fall, of 4, 5, 6 or 7 BCE. Also, there is disagreement about where Jesus was born. Different theologians argue for Bethlehem in Judea,or either Nazareth, or Bethlehem in the Galilee.

Bethlehem in Judea has traditionally been regarded as Jesus' birth place. However, archeological studies have revealed that the area was not populated between 100 BCE and 100 CE.

Even if an astrological chart could accurately predict Jesus' sexual orientation, the task of creating such a chart appears quite impossible. Dr. McCleary told Australian Broadcasting Commission radio that, in the past:

"one or two queer theologians" had attempted to show Jesus was gay. "People haven't taken them very seriously because they don't have any evidence and they say things so sensationally that people are not really going to listen or just be very angry. What I'm doing is showing a much more theological and also astrological dimension on all this which will make a lot more sense to people." 7

He has written a book based on his doctoral thesis which was published in 2004. 8
 

bulletAn anonymous webmaster wrote about a revelation that he received during her/his daily prayer and meditation:

"Suddenly many aspects of the New Testament made sense. Jesus never married. He preached love, tolerance, and forgiveness of sins. He did not condemn and vilify [others] as his so-called followers do today. He surrounded himself with men whom he loved. The Bible says nothing of Jesus' sexuality, yet we are taught that he was both divine and fully man. Why did he never marry? Why is the New Testament silent about his sexuality? It became so clear when I had the insight that Jesus was probably gay and that He understood hatred and bigotry first-hand." 9

Unfortunately, this webmaster merely described a type of vision that he/she had and did not provide any supporting evidence. It is unlikely to be convincing to others. Unfortunately, the statement is no longer online.

bullet

Mark 14:51-52 describes the incident when Jesus was arrested by the religious police. It describes how one of Jesus' followers was scantily dressed. The King James Version says he had a linen cloth cast on his naked body; the size and location of the cloth is not defined. The New International Version says that he was "wearing nothing but a linen garment."  When the police tried to seize him, they were able to grab only his cloth; the man ran away naked. Reverend Peter Murphy wrote:

"We don't know from the sources what really was going on, but we do know that something was very peculiar between Jesus and young men." 10

(Emphasis in the original.)
 

bullet

Michael Kelly wrote of Jesus' attitude towards a same-sex couple as described in  Matthew 8:5-13: and Luke 7:2. He said:

"One day a Roman Centurion asked him to heal his dying servant. Scholars of both Scripture and Ancient History tell us that Roman Centurions, who were not permitted to marry while in service, regularly chose a favorite male slave to be their personal assistant and sexual servant. Such liaisons were common in the Greco-Roman world and it was not unusual for them to deepen into loving partnerships....Jesus offered to go to the servant, but the centurion asked him simply to speak a word of healing, since he was not worthy to welcome this itinerant Jewish teacher under his roof. Jesus responded by healing the servant [from a distance] and proclaiming that even in Israel he had never found faith like this! So, in the one Gospel story where Jesus encountered people sharing what we would call a 'gay relationship,' we see him simply concerned about -- and deeply moved by -- their faith and love."

Kelly implies that Jesus' sensitivity towards the gay couple might have arisen from his own bisexual or homosexual orientation. 11
 

bullet Some commentators argue from silence. They note that there is no passage in the Christian Scriptures (New Testament) that directly describes anything about Jesus' sexuality. There are many direct and indirect references to Jesus' sensuality. He was accused of being a "drunkard and a glutton" and of partying with "prostitutes and sinners." He apparently enjoyed a tender foot massage from a woman. Yet, neither Jesus' sexuality nor his celibacy is mentioned. Yet, sex is referred to, elsewhere in the Bible quite often. One might argue that the books in the Christian Scriptures might have once described Jesus' sexual relationships, but that these passages have been vigorously censored by the later church.
 
bullet

Other commentators have noted that Jesus is silent towards homosexuality in the Gospels. Yet, Paul's opinions and those of many other authors in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) are clearly stated. They conclude that Jesus might have been gay. Odler Jeanlouie speculated:

"Is it meaningful that, in the Sermon on the Mount, central to his teaching, he offered a one-way trip to the Kingdom of God, to anyone who is persecuted?" 12

This topic continues in the next essay, Part 3.

References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Patrick Goodenough, " 'Gay Jesus' Claim Draws Fire," Crosswalk.com, 2003-MAY-29, at: http://www.crosswalk.com/
  2. Hank Hyena, "Was Jesus Gay: A search for the messiah's true sexuality leads to a snare of lusty theories," 1998-APR, Salon.com, at: http://www.salon.com/
  3. James Holding, "Leaning on a broken reed," Tektonics Apologetics Ministries, at: http://www.tektonics.org/
  4. George Broadhead, "Jesus and Homosexuality," Gay and Lesbian Humanist quarterly, at: http://www.galha.freeserve.co.uk/
  5. Jagannath, "Was Jesus Gay? Or: Can We Finally Let Him Out of the Closet?," at: http://www.geocities.com/
  6. J Richards, "Jesus Speaks of Homosexual Acts," Rainbow Alliance, at: http://rainbowallianceopenfaith.homestead.com/
  7. "Jesus was gay, says academic," smh.com.au, 2003-MAY-29, at: http://www.smh.com.au/
  8. Rollan McCleary, "A Special Illumination: Authority, Inspiration and Heresy in Gay Spirituality," David Brown Book Co., (2004). Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
  9. "Was Jesus gay?," at: http://www.angelfire.com/
  10. Reverend Peter Murphy, "The Sexuality of Jesus?," at:  http://kspark.kaist.ac.kr/
  11. Michael B. Kelly, "Could Jesus Have Been Gay?," at: http://kspark.kaist.ac.kr/
  12. Odler Robert Jeanlouie, "Was Jesus Gay?," 2001-JUL-19 at: http://www.readnrun.com/

Copyright © 2003 to 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2003-SEP-24
Latest update: 2015-APR-14
Author: B.A. Robinson

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