Jesus had relationships with men – Handout Sheets

Lecture of October 24 – Handout sheet

John 13:23 and 19:26

A word about words

Why “queer” is my choice

Does internalized homophobia colour the way that queers read the Bible?

Sadly, yes in most cases

First Appearance of the Disciple Jesus loved: John 13 with special attention to verse 23

In John 13:1-20, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples and tells them (John 13:14) that “if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.”

Beginning in John 13, verse 21 and following, we read:

21 After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, ‘Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.’ 22The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking. 23One of his disciples—the one whom Jesus loved—was reclining next to him (alternate translation: ‘lying in his [Jesus’] lap); 24Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. 25So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, ‘Lord, who is it?’ 26Jesus answered, ‘It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.’ So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. 27After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, ‘Do quickly what you are going to do.’ 28Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. 29Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him, ‘Buy what we need for the festival’; or, that he should give something to the poor. 30So, after receiving the piece of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.

Translation notes:

The Greek makes absolutely clear that the disciple being referred to in verse 23 is male

The participial verb translated as “reclining” indicates the usual posture of a dinner party at this time – reclining on couches or pillows

What is emphasized in this text is that the male discipline Jesus loved is reclining in such a way that this beloved disciple is touching Jesus’ Body in a way that is not like the way the other disciples are reclining

The Greek verb translated as “loved” is the imperfect of 

Koine Greek in which the Bible is mostly written generally uses three verbs for “love”, 

However, the verb  does not appear in the LXX of the OT or in the NT

So, the use of  in reference to Jesus’ beloved is not surprising

In fact,  is used to denote the love of a man for a woman as in Judges 16:4 (Samson & Delilah), I Samuel 18:20 (David & Mical), as well as the love for one man for another as in I Samuel 18:20 (David & Jonathan)

Moreover, at least in the Gospel of John the terms and are treated as equivalent and complementary, so in order to figure out what is involved in the love being designated – for instance, whether it is sexually expressed – requires the context to be carefully considered and discerned

Second Appearance of the Disciple Jesus Loved:  John 19 with special attention to verse 26

In John 19:1-16 we read John’s account of Jesus being condemned by Pilate.  At John 19:17 and following we see Jesus carrying his cross without any help to Golgotha where He is crucified.

Beginning in John 19, verses 25b though verse 27, we read:

Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ 27Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

The disciple Jesus loved is the only MALE witness to the Crucifixion of Jesus

Is this fact sufficient to conclude that the disciple referred to as the one whose memories form the basis of what is recorded in John’s Gospel (John 21:24 “24 This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true.”) is the disciple Jesus loved viagra india?

So is the man Jesus loved the primary one on whose recollections the entire Gospel of John is based?

Jesus, in His darkest hour, shows personal concern for the man He loved, in a public way

In the Gospel of John (chapter 7) Jesus is depicted as having brothers; why, on the Cross, would He have specifically singled out the disciple He loved, and then entrusted His beloved to His mother and vice versa?

Theodore W. Jennings, Jr. is a straight man who wrote, The Man Jesus Loved  (The Pilgrim Press: Cleveland, Ohio, 2003).  Jennings’ is a clergy member of the United Methodist Church, a faculty member at Chicago Theological Seminary, and received his Ph.D. from Emory University in Atlanta, GA. The book is available at Little Sisters.

For a daily prayer from a queer perspective, on Twitter follow  @queerprayers

Handout, October 31

Third Appearance of the Disciple Jesus Loved: John 20 with special attention to verse 2

At the end of John, chapter 19, we read John’s account of the Crucifixion and burial of Jesus.  At John, chapter 20, beginning with verse 1 and following, we read of the Resurrection of Jesus:

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. 2So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.’ 3Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went towards the tomb. 4The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. 6Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. 8Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10Then the disciples returned to their homes.

Here we see a pairing of the disciple Jesus loved with Peter – as was suggested in the first appearance of the beloved at John 13:23; the connection between Peter and the beloved will be seen again in the fourth and final appearance of the beloved disciple in John, chapter 21

  • This pairing is not a competitive one; rather it is complementary
  • The beloved does not compete with Peter’s authority; the importance of the beloved is of a totally different type

Still, the beloved disciple is one of the first witnesses to the Resurrection

Fourth Appearance of the Disciple Jesus loved:  John 21 with special attention to verses 7 and 20

John, chapter 21, the last chapter in this Gospel, is a final Resurrection appearance of the Lord Jesus.  In it we read, beginning at verse 20:

20 Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; he was the one who had reclined next to Jesus at the supper and had said, ‘Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?21When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, what about him?’ 22Jesus said to him, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!’ 23So the rumour spread in the community that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?’24 This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true. 25But there are also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

Stylistically, two points are worth noting:

  • This final mention of the beloved disciple reminds the reader of the beloved’s first appearance in John 13:23 when the beloved had been lying next to Jesus at the supper – thus creating a nicely formed “loop”
  • The entire Gospel ends with mention of the beloved, and many scholars would say, resting the Gospel’s authority on the recollections of the beloved

Who MIGHT be the un-named beloved disciple be?

Traditionally, John, one of the two sons of Zebedee, has been identified as the beloved disciple.  But the evidence from the Gospel of John itself does not support this assertion – in fact, the sons of Zebedee are mentioned only once in the text of John’s Gospel at 21:2 – and the name of John, son of Zebedee NEVER appears in this Gospel.  So it is unlikely from the evidence of the Gospel itself that John might be the beloved of Jesus.

Though scholars have speculated about a variety of persons to designate as the beloved of Jesus, two names from John’s Gospel MIGHT offer themselves as somewhat more likely candidates for being the beloved of Jesus:  Andrew and Lazarus.

First Possibility: Andrew, the brother of Peter

  • As Peter’s brother (John 1:41), Andrew would have the kind of complementary/close relationship to Peter that the beloved is represented as having.
  • In John’s Gospel (1:35-40) Andrew is given a “prehistory” as a follower of John the Baptist
  • Andrew sees to have significant access to Jesus as is illustrated when he brings Peter to Jesus (John 1:41), brings the boy with the five barley loaves and two fish to Jesus (John 6:8-9), and brings Philip to Jesus with the request of the Greeks who wanted to see Jesus (John 12:22)
  • The last mention of Andrew by name in the Gospel is at John 12:22, and in the next chapter, at John 13:22, we find the first mention of the beloved of Jesus.

Second Possibility: Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead

  • In John, chapter 11, we are told at least three times that a link of love existed between Jesus and Lazarus – “Lord, the one you love is ill” (11:3); “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus” (11:5); and “Jesus wept. So the Judeans said, ‘See how he [Jesus] loved him [Lazarus].’” (11:35-36)
  • Lazarus is named in the Gospel only one other time, in chapter 12, verses 10-11, in which we are told that the authorities are thinking of putting Lazarus to death because he is the reason many Jewish people are coming to believe in Jesus since Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.
  • At John 21:23 we are told that “the community” thought that the beloved of Jesus would not die; if the beloved were Lazarus, who had already died and been raised, the speculation at 21:23 about the beloved not dying would, perhaps, make more sense.

Regardless of the identity of the beloved of Jesus, on the basis of the text of John’s Gospel, we can feel fairly certain making the following statements:

1. One among the most intimate followers of Jesus was Jesus’ beloved which was different than the love that Jesus showed to His disciples through His acts of healing, teaching, and feeding.

2. This beloved one was male.

3. The text shows that there was some measure of physical, bodily intimacy exhibited between Jesus and his beloved.

4.  At least Peter assumed that the beloved of Jesus had an emotional access to Jesus which would allow the beloved to ask Jesus questions regarding the identity of Jesus’ betrayer.

5. The designation of the beloved disciple does not emphasize his attachment to Jesus but, rather, Jesus’ attachment to him. (Jennings, 49)

Theodore W. Jennings, Jr. is a straight man who wrote, The Man Jesus Loved  (The Pilgrim Press: Cleveland, Ohio, 2003).  Jennings’ is a clergy member of the United Methodist Church, a faculty member at Chicago Theological Seminary, and received his Ph.D. from Emory University in Atlanta, GA. The book is available at Little Sisters buy generic cialis from india.

For a daily prayer from a queer perspective, on Twitter follow  @queerprayers

Handout November 7

  • In John’s Gospel we are explicitly told at least four times that Jesus was in love with a particular man.
  • In the other three Gospels, we also find suggestions of homo-identified traditions concerning Jesus.
  • The first Gospel to be written was Mark, probably around A.D. 70 (about 40 years after Jesus’ life)

Mark 10: 17 –  22

17 As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ 18Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 19You know the commandments: “You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honour your father and mother.” ’ 20He said to him, ‘Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.’ 21Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, ‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ 22When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.

This is the ONLY occasion in the Gospel of Mark in which Jesus is said to love anybody!

In itself, that fact is remarkable, but Jesus is portrayed in Mark as abrupt, often to the point of rudeness, so the contrast here of Jesus looking at a man and LOVING him is amazing given the way Jesus is presented by Mark.

In addition, this statement that Jesus looked at this man and loved him is the only place in any of the Gospels – aside from those places we have already examined in John – where Jesus is said to love a particular human being.

The Greek verb translated here as “looking” is emblepein

  • This verb is used in two other places in Mark’s Gospel
    • At Mark 8:25 Jesus heals a man born blind, but only after having to do a second “round” of healing touch because after the first effort the man could only “see people, but they look like trees, walking” (8:24)
    • After this “Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he looked intently (emblepein) and his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.”
    • At Mark 14:67, in the story of Peter’s denial of Jesus, we are told that a woman stares at (emblepein) Peter and thereby recognizes him as one of Jesus’ companions
  • In both of these instances, the Greek verb indicates an extraordinarily concentrated gaze which focuses NOT on the soul, as it were, but, rather, precisely on what is visible – on the person’s looks

 The apparently-to-Jesus attractiveness of the man’s physical appearance, combined with the man’s interior goodness (keeping the commandments, desire to have eternal life, willingness to ask Jesus for guidance) make Jesus’ love for this one person in Mark’s Gospel understandable.

Possible classical context: Plato’s Symposium 206b, “…love is always…begetting on a beautiful thing by means of both the body and the soul….”; Achilles Tatius’ Leucippe and Clitophon (note 1, p. 107, Jennings), the eyes are the ambassadors of love and visual contact “is a kind of copulation at a distance”

Mark 14: 50 – 52

50All of them deserted him and fled.51 A certain young man (neaniskos) was following him, wearing nothing but a linen cloth (sindona). They caught hold of him, 52but he left the linen cloth and ran off naked (gumnos).  (New Revised Standard Version – NRSV)

This vignette occurs in the Garden of Gethsemane, as Jesus is being betrayed with a kiss by Judas (verse 45) and arrested, but before He is taken to the High Priest (verse 53).

Regarding the translation:

  • Verse 51 has been “cleaned up” a bit; the Greek actually says something more like, “ A certain young man (neaniskos) clothed in a fine linen cloth (sindona) over his nudity (gumnos)….”  Interestingly, a neaniskos re-appears in the tomb (Mark 16:5) to announce the Resuurection.
  • Twice in these short three verses the youth is said to be nude, the Greek word is gumnos which is transliterated, usually, into English as “gymnos”… thus a “gymnasium” is a place where men are nude!

The statement that “They”, that is, the guards who had swords and clubs, “caught hold of” the youth (verse 51c) might suggest that “they” saw the youth himself as well as the fine linen cloth, sindona, which he was wearing as a “prize” to be captured – the youth for his beauty perhaps, the cloth for its costliness maybe?

Being the earliest Gospel to be written, Mark served as a “source” for Matthew and Luke; in fact, 90% of Mark is found in Matthew’s Gospel.  But Matthew omitted any mention of this incident of the nude youth in the Garden – was this story possibly too “dangerous” to be included?

Like the beloved in John’s Gospel, the semi-naked youth first appears during the climatic story of Jesus’ betrayal, arrest and Crucifixion; this youth is present when the other disciples run away

  • Classical contextual notes: In classical Greece neaniskos usually refers to a male between the ages of 18 and 30 years of age (note 7, p. 111, Jennings)     Both Cicero and Plutarch contend that the practice of loving a neaniskos was one of the primary results of having a gymnasium in Greek cities (note 8, p. 111, Jennings); see I Maccabees 1:11-15; II Maccabees 4:9-12

Handout November 14

Matthew 8:5-13

5 When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, appealing to him 6and saying, ‘Lord, my servant [pais] is lying at home paralysed, in terrible distress.’ 7And he said to him, ‘I will come and cure him.’ 8The centurion answered, ‘Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed. 9For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, “Go”, and he goes, and to another, “Come”, and he comes, and to my slave [doulos], “Do this”, and the slave does it.’ 10When Jesus heard him, he was amazed and said to those who followed him, ‘Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. 11I tell you, many will come from east and west and will eat with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, 12while the heirs of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 13And to the centurion Jesus said, ‘Go; let it be done for you according to your faith.’ And the servant [pais] was healed in that hour.

How best to translate the Greek word pais?  (This Greek word would be pronounced: PIE-EECE)

  • Greek lexicons usually note that pais can be translated as boy (or girl with the proper endings) or servant or as the passive partner in a homosexual relationship
  • The New Revised Standard Version (above) translates pais as “servant” in verses 6 and 13.
  • “Love” in Greek and Roman experience was not between equals – in heterosexual relationships men had all the legal rights and women were simply to be used and could be set aside at the pleasure of the male
  • At this time in same-sex relationships between males, one partner was considered to be the LOVER, or active partner, and the other was considered to be the BELOVED, or passive partner
  • Greek vase painting as well as Roman legionnaires’ practice both confirm the notion that the passive partner had in all likelihood achieved full height which suggests that the passive partner/beloved was NOT a child but rather what we might call a “young adult” male (see notes 6 and 7, pages 133-4, Jennings)
  • Thus, the passive partner or beloved was often referred to as pais
    • This practice is similar to the way in English that if somebody is dating another, that other person, regardless of age, may be called “girlfriend” or “boyfriend”

Thus a homo-affirmative translation of the word in verses 6 and 13 would likely be “BOYFRIEND”

Logically, would a centurion, who was a powerful and respected Roman officer, have been terribly concerned if his pais was simply one “servant” among many?  This was a culture in which life was not particularly prized; moreover, as the conquerors and overloads of the area, Roman centurions could easily co-opt without legal or moral consequences another “servant” if one died.  So doesn’t it stand to reason that the Centurion’s pais was something MORE than just a servant?

But does translating pais as “boyfriend” make sense in the context of Matthew’s Gospel?  Actually, yes.

Matthew emphasizes that Jesus came specifically to INCLUDE in the Gospel experience many whom traditional religious authorities of the period thought should not be part of God’s reign, specifically, Gentiles and the sexually impure

Matthew’s Genealogy of Jesus

  • Matthew 1:3 – “3and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar
    • Cf., Genesis 38:6-30 in which Tamar poses as a temple prostitute in order to seduce her father-in-law
  • Matthew 1:5 – “5and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, 6and Jesse the father of King David”
    • Cf., Joshua 2:1-21 and 6:22-25 in which Rahab is said to be a prostitute as well as a Canaanite/Gentile who, consequently, worshipped pagan gods
    • Cf., Ruth 1 in which Ruth is identified to be a Moabite woman so a Gentile who, according to Deuteronomy 23:3, cannot be admitted to the 10th generation which would include King David; moreover, Ruth is pretty clearly “very attached” (Ruth 1:16-18) to Naomi, an older woman, and their relationship causes scandal among the villagers among whom they live (Ruth 1:19)
  • Matthew 1:6 – “6and Jesse the father of King David. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah”  Cf., II Samuel 11

Matthew’s Story of the Magi

In Matthew 2 the Magi are not called “kings” and there are not three of them; they are sorcerers,  a class of magicians that the people of Israel were strictly forbidden to have any contact with.  But these thoroughly disreputable persons are among the first to recognize Jesus as king, messiah, saviour!

Matthew’s Story of the Syrophoenician Woman

Matthew 15:21-28 – “21 Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, ‘Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.’ 23But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, ‘Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.’ 24He answered, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ 25But she came and knelt before him, saying, ‘Lord, help me.’ 26He answered, ‘It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.’ 27She said, ‘Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.’ 28Then Jesus answered her, ‘Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.’ And her daughter was healed instantly.

A woman, a Canaanite and therefore a pagan is giving Jesus insight; the Greek word for “dog” that is used here – kunarios — is the same word used elsewhere for cultic prostitute (Deuteronomy 23:18; Revelation 22:15)

Theodore W. Jennings, Jr. is a straight man who wrote, The Man Jesus Loved  (The Pilgrim Press: Cleveland, Ohio, 2003).  Jennings’ is a clergy member of the United Methodist Church, a faculty member at Chicago Theological Seminary, and received his Ph.D. from Emory University in Atlanta, GA. The book is available at Little Sisters.

For a daily prayer from a queer perspective, on Twitter follow  @queerprayers