and His Beloved Disciple, Part 4 By Bruce L.
HOMOSEXUALITY AND THE BIBLE
Key Passages: John 11:1-54, John 13:23-25, Mark 10:17-31, 14:51-52
By Bruce L. Gerig
Part 1 of this series on the Beloved Disciple showed how the Fourth Gospel’s account of the Last Supper reveals a romantic relationship that developed between Jesus and his Beloved Disciple, who reclined alongside him and rested his head on his breast. Parts 2-3 then sought to show that the most reasonable candidate for this Beloved Disciple (in spite of many scholarly suggestions to the contrary) remains John son of Zebedee, the ancient choice, who also authored the Fourth Gospel. Here, as well, a survey was given of those interpreters, past and present, who have viewed Jesus and his Beloved Disciple as sharing a homoerotic relationship. Now in this final article attention is turned to some other important questions which this subject has raised, including those related to Morton Smith’s Secret Gospel of Mark and its relationship to the Lazarus story (John 11:1-54), Jesus’ look of love (Mark 10:17-31) and the nude youth in the garden (Mark 14:51-52).
Other questions related to Jesus and his Beloved Disciple sharing a homosexual relationship. Do we know anything about Jesus’ physical appearance? Early Church Fathers denied Jesus any physical attractiveness, 1 based on Isa 53:2 which reads: “He [God’s Suffering Servant] grew up before him [the Father] like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him” (NIV). Yet, since this chapter goes on to describe the Messiah’s atoning death, this description may relate to Jesus only during his final suffering, and not to his earlier appearance. A number of other historical documents do present glowing pictures of Jesus, e.g., one letter which claims to have been sent by Publius Lentullus, president of Judea, to the Roman Senate, describes Jesus as possessing a “singular beauty, surpassing the children of men,” and an ‘excellent body proportion.’2 However, these descriptions differ wildly (e.g., Jesus’ hair is variously described as golden, brown, reddish, chestnut [reddish-brown], and black); and most scholars dismiss these texts as medieval fabrications. Instead, as Scanzoni and Hardesty note, as a first-century Jew Jesus probably had dark hair, dark eyes, and swarthy (dark) skin.3
However, there is a source which might provide us with reliable information in this regards, and that is the Shroud of Turin, a linen cloth 14’6” x 3’9” (since it was stretched in 2002)4 kept in St. John the Baptist Cathedral in this NW Italian city, upon which somehow have been impressed the bloodied, life-sized front and back images of a beaten, scourged and crucified man, who also has been crowned with thorns and lanced in the side (see website images on the Shroud listed at the end of this article).5 As rigorous scientific research on the Shroud has increased, particularly during the past thirty years, more and more evidence has emerged which points against this relic being a medieval forgery and for it coming from first-century Jerusalem; and therefore a growing number of scholars and others, who follow their work, have become convinced that this shroud is more likely than not the actual surviving burial cloth of Jesus (Matt 27:59-60), incredible as this seems.6 Regarding racial type, ethnologist Carleton Coon described the Shroud figure as displaying Sephardic Jewish or noble Arabic features,7 while museum curator Silvio Curto thinks he looks more Iranian.8 The figurative images on the Shroud show an adult male, nude, well-proportioned and muscular, with a beard, mustache, and long hair that is parted in the middle and falls down onto his shoulders (Fanti).9 Archaeologist William Meachim agrees, that the body here is “well proportioned and muscular”10―which should not be surprising since Jesus grew up working alongside Joseph as a carpenter and learning the trade (Matt 13:55) and then spent his last three years trekking around as an itinerate preacher (Matt 11:1). However, Yale physician John Heller noted that the Shroud figure’s fingers seem longer than average for a man, although within normal range; and other sources have described the Shroud figure as having a long, thin nose, and “delicate” hands and feet.11 One of the most careful attempts to produce computerized 3-D images of Jesus, based on the Shroud image, has come from Ray Downing of Studio Macbeth (New York); and Downing notes, e.g., that Jesus’ face (and body) would have appeared thinner in real life than shown on the Shroud, because the cloth originally draped down over the sides of the body, and then later when this flattened (with the Resurrection), the top body image appeared wider.12 Of course, we don’t know what Jesus’ eyes looked like, which are closed on the Shroud. From this standpoint, the Dutch sculptor Jan Reijbierse’s white plaster copies are noteworthy, which also capture the gaunt facial image on the Shroud negative.
Surprisingly the Shroud figure displays a ‘ponytail’ or thick lock of hair that extends perhaps 10” down the figure’s back13―although German OT scholar H. Grossman believes that Jewish men in ancient times generally wore long hair drawn together at the back of the neck.14 Los Angeles medical examiner Robert Bucklin estimated the Shroud figure’s weight to be about 175 pounds and his age between 30-35,15 although Italian professor Giulio Ricci believes his weight was more like 155 pounds.16 Determining his height is even more challenging, because rigor mortis set in while Jesus still hung on the cross, leaving his head even in burial leaning forward, his legs bent, and his feet extending downward (as seen on the Shroud).17 Therefore, varying estimates have been suggested for his height, including: 5’4” (Giulio Ricci 1967), 5’9” (Fanti, Marinelli and Cagnazzo 1999), 5’10” (Giovanni Judica-Cordiglia 1954), 5’11” (Robert Bucklin 1958), 6’ (Luigi Gedda 1946), and 6’2” (Lorenzo Ferri 1978). However, most researchers now agree that the Shroud figure was around 6’ tall, plus or minus an inch18―which would have raised him above the average height of his countrymen, which anthropologists estimate to have been 5’2-4.” However, one skeleton dug up at Giv’at ha-Mivtar (a suburb N of Jerusalem) in 1968 did measure 6’ tall, although this individual would have been considered tall.19 Jesus’ face, especially as it appears on the Shroud negative, is not what one would call a ‘handsome’ face, based on Hollywood standards; and yet it shows a dignity and serenity that are arresting. In fact, when the Shroud’s first official photographs were taken by Secundo Pia in 1898 and he looked at the negatives, he was transfixed by the emotional impact of the face and its portrait-like details20 and how it came alive, even though tranquil as in sleep.21 Yet, could Jesus have felt a certain self-consciousness about his tall size? Or did he view his “delicate” features as being rather effeminate? It should be remembered that Jesus was probably born from (only) an unfertilized egg, prodded into cell division by the Holy Spirit.22 In any case, he must have seen something very attractive in the trim, youthful fisherman named John son of Zebedee, who was probably in his mid-teens when Jesus first met him and called him to become one of his twelve disciples.23 In turn, John no doubt was enthralled by Jesus’ commanding presence, captivating words, and compassionate nature, as well as his physical look. The Bible gives us no description either of the great apostle Paul, although one early source described him as “a man of little stature, thin-haired . . . and crooked in the legs,” and yet “sometimes he had the face of an angel” (Acts of Paul and Thecla 2.3)―and Paul also suffered from eye problems (Gal 4:13-15, 6:11). Relating to Jesus, the Shroud negative seems to suggest that he also possessed a rather ordinary physical appearance, even with some physical peculiarities, in contrast to his unique, magnetic, Spirit-indwelt presence (Luke 4:18-19). Still, considering the cost of redemption, I consider Jesus’ face on the Shroud to be the most ‘beautiful’ of faces to behold.
What does the title “the disciple whom Jesus loved” really mean? Interpreters have traditionally not offered very convincing explanations as to why John in his Gospel would refer to himself with such an unusual phrase. Donald Guthrie held that this title must have sprung from John’s wonder “that Jesus should fasten His love upon him,”24 and Craig Keener writes that here John is “marveling that he is the object of such love” as Jesus offers.25 Still, James Charlesworth thinks that it is “unlikely” that any disciple would have created such an epithet for himself, and therefore this title must have been given to the Beloved Disciple by others (his followers)—although he admits, “It is not easy to find methodology and criteria” here.26 However, the definite article (ton = “the”) in ton mathētēn on ēgapa ho Iēsous (“the disciple whom Jesus loved,” John 21:20) would seem not to express unworthiness but that Jesus loved John in a unique and special way beyond what he felt toward his other disciples; and then in its repetition this phrase became a title for the Beloved Disciple. If this was meant simply to point to divine love, one would expect a different kind of statement, perhaps like Paul wrote to Timothy: “Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the foremost. But for that very reason I received mercy, so that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display the utmost patience, making me an example” for others (1 Tim 1:12-17, esp. vv. 15-16 NRSV; and cf. also Gal 1:13,16). The author of John’s Gospel knew that Jesus loved all of his followers, including the Twelve, even to the point of giving his life for them (John 14:13-14) and even though at times they exhibited faithlessness (as in Peter’s denial, John 18:17-18,25-27) and acted immaturely (as when Jesus rebuked James and John, Luke 5:54-55). No, John is tied to Jesus at the Last Supper in a different way—as he nestled his head in Jesus’ bosom, and Jesus wrapped his arm around him. As Robert Williams advises, Jesus’ two natures, divine and human, must be held in tension here, in absolute equal balance, for he was a hundred percent of both—even though it will seem scandalous to some to envision Jesus the Messiah as a sweaty carpenter with dirty toenails, who urinated, and who also felt strong, unexplained sexual desires like any other normal person his age.27
In the end, the Last Supper scene is most “naturally” read as pointing to a homoerotic relationship between Jesus and another man (Jennings).28 And not only that, but the Beloved Disciple was “fully in love with Jesus” (Goss).29 Of course, this desire for physical intimacy did not limit Jesus’ love for all of his other disciples (Jennings);30 and clergy will be the first to witness how physical love felt toward a spouse opens up, rather than limits, their love for others (Goss).31 Moreover, for all those who do not fit into the heterosexual box, this relationship is received as a “beautiful image” and a “touching affirmation” of their love (Boisvert).32 As Nancy Wilson noted, one can argue a great deal about whether Jesus had sex or not―and yet if he was fully human (John 1:14) he must have had genital organs, hormonal urges, and sexual arousal. It is impossible not to think that there was some dimension of eroticism in Jesus’ feelings.33 Yet, why did John feel the need to mention this sexual relationship in his Gospel? As Theodore Jennings notes, one of the great themes of John’s Gospel is that “the Word [God] became flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:14 UNASB). The bodily reality was crucial for Jesus’ fulfillment of his mission34 to provide a substitute atonement for fallen humanity and also that he might become a truly caring Saviour who can “sympathize with our [human] weaknesses,” mediate for us before the Father, and comfort us with his mercy, grace and help (Heb 4:14-16). Furthermore, Jesus himself knew really what it was like to be “different,” to feel “queer” (ambiguous), to be criticized by siblings and neighbors, and to experience a deep physical love for someone special and then even see it cut short.
Could a homosexual relationship have occurred in Jesus’ cultural setting? But could such an attachment really have occurred in Jesus’ time and place and been openly witnessed and accepted by his disciples? Most interpreters write as if the prohibitions in Lev 18:22 and 20:13 (‘a man shall not lie with a male’) were rigidly enforced throughout Biblical times; and yet neither the Hebrew Bible nor intertestamental history record any example of this ban ever being mentioned later or applied.35—even though one might expect it to be recalled when homosexual gang rape nearly happened at Gibeah (Judg 19:22-25, 20:4-5) or when Saul angrily confronts Jonathan over his intimate relationship with David (1 Sam 20:30-31). Robin Scroggs relates an enlightening story from the Palestinian Talmud (produced c. 400 AD) of a rabbi named Judah ben Pazzi who discovered two youths having intercourse on the upper storey of a Jewish schoolhouse―but they were quick to remind him that “you are one and we are two” (Midrash, Sanhedrin 6.23c.4), knowing that two or more witnesses were required to bring a valid legal case.36 Also, Raphael Patai has noted that folk mores in the Middle East have often varied from legal positions; and some cultures there have allowed homosexual expression as long as it was practiced in secret and did not involve a public orgy.37 Silvia Schroer and Thomas Staubli remind us that Bible interpreters often are (mis)guided by two erroneous assumptions: (1) that reality on the ground always matched the law in Israel, and (2) that because a man was married to a woman this meant he could not be attracted to members of his own sex.38 William Naphy writes that “from the earliest of ages, a significant minority of the population engages [has engaged] in same-sex activities.”39 And Robert Aldrich agrees, noting that “Since time immemorial and throughout the world, some men and women have felt a desire for emotional intimacy with those of the same sex. Men have lusted after and loved other men,” and women also with other women.40 Twenty-five years ago Michel Foucault hamstrung historical research on homosexuality with his circular logic of taking the simple dictionary word “homosexual” and loading it with modern associations, and then saying that that word (formerly referring simply to same-sex desire or behavior) now could not be applied to premodern historical situations. Fortunately classicist James Davidson, in his recent book The Greeks and Greek Love (2007), shows how one can still apply “homosexuality” to a historical context and yet at the same time go on to describe, e.g., the particular “Homosexuality” or Greek Love which the Athenians discussed and practiced.41
That Jewish men sometimes felt homoerotic lust is illustrated in a scene from the Babylonian Midrash (84a), which describes Rabbi Jochanan ben Laquish (c. 250 AD) bathing in the Jordan River, when a student, Elisha ben Abuja, jumped into water and exclaimed, “Your beauty should be for women!” The rabbi responded: “If you will repent [such male lust], I will give you my sister in marriage, who is more beautiful than I.”42 Of course, in ancient Greece teachers often loved their disciples in a special way;43 and the Greeks expressed their homosexual love openly, as seen in a poem by Meleager which reads: “O Morning-star, the foe of love . . . when my slender love lay in my bosom (kolpos), quickly thou camest to stand over us, as if shedding on me a light that rejoiced at my grief,” because night was ending so quickly.44 Of course, the Greek milieu (cultural setting) was very different from that among the Jews in NT times; and yet strong homosexual feelings, wherever they arise, cannot always be denied and will find ways to express themselves, even in spite of difficult obstacles and serious dangers―as can be seen with gays in modern-day Iran and Iraq. As Halvor Moxnes notes, Jesus’ teaching and ministry often “transgressed” the normal gender and power structures of his day,45 creating a ‘queer [ambiguous] space’ where eunuchs are accepted (Matt 19:11-12), where barren woman are blessed (Luke 23:29),46 where Jesus is displaced from his home and he asks his disciples to leave their families as well (Luke 9:59-62), where it is women followers who financially support Jesus’ ministry (Luke 8:2-3),47 and where his outreach is criticized for too-frequent feasting and drinking (Luke 7:34).48 Then in John’s Gospel, Jesus breaks taboos by engaging a Samaritan woman in conversation (4:7-27), heals on and disregards the Sabbath in other ways (5:10-11,16), prevents application of the Law to stone an adulterous woman (8:5-7), and assumes a womanly position to wash his disciples’ feet as they gather for dinner (13:4-9). Therefore, why should Jesus’ disregard for another tradition (the Levitical ban) have seemed at all that shocking to his disciples? Fortunately, however, this homosexual relationship with John occurred late in Jesus’ ministry and was only expressed openly within his closest circle of disciples, so that his enemies could not use it against Jesus.
What other mysteries does a homosexual reading of the Beloved Disciple solve? This explanation of the title “the disciple whom Jesus loved” answers other questions that have plagued interpreters. For example, Charlesworth thinks that we shall never know for sure why the Beloved Disciple is only introduced at the Last Supper;49 and yet could this not be simply because it was only shortly beforehand when this mutual physical attraction blossomed? One can even postulate that Jesus earlier had felt some sexual feelings for Lazarus, to which the text in John’s Gospel may vaguely allude, although in the end John got the prize of being the Master’s favorite, and Lazarus is never heard from again anywhere in the Bible. Moreover, a certain jealousy over the special interest Jesus showed Lazarus, and then later John, could well explain why the other Gospel writers omitted both the powerful, pivotal story of Jesus raising of Lazarus from the dead50 as well as the intimate closeness that Jesus and John exhibited at the Last Supper. John McNeill notes that although Jesus lived in a patriarchal and homophobic culture, this does not mean that he shared these prejudices. It is easy to miss this fact, since “centuries of homophobic redactors [editors] and translators have sought to eliminate all traces of this positive attitude” toward gay people. This is why a “hermeneutic [interpretative approach] of suspicion” is needed in reading Bible translations and mainstream commentaries.51 In fact, Jennings notes that Jesus presents such a persistent subversion of first-century Jewish conventions and mores (customs) that he “drives the representatives of conventional piety crazy.” He simply will not conform to their ideas of being a ‘holy man,’ he is continuingly provocative, and he often seems to show little concern over his own reputation. It is within this unconventionality of Jesus’ life that his relationship with the Beloved Disciple must be viewed.52 In the end it must be acknowledged that to-be-loved-by-Jesus was the most characteristic part of the role which the Beloved Disciple played; and although John’s Gospel nowhere suggests that this homosexual attraction led to sexual consummation, this does not in any way diminish the love and passion that Jesus and John felt for one another.53
The Secret Gospel of Mark, Jesus’ look of love (Mark 10:21), and the nude youth in the garden (Mark 14:51-52). Two revised versions of Mark’s Gospel. In 1958 Morton Smith discovered a fragment of a letter in the Greek Eastern Orthodox monastery at Mar Saba (located about 12 miles SE of Jerusalem in the Judean desert) addressed by Clement of Alexandria to a certain Theodore, to answer some questions sent to him about various versions of Mark’s Gospel. The Greek text of this letter to Theodore (LT) was a late 18th century copy written on the last two blank pages of a 1646 printed edition of letters by Ignatius, the 2nd century bishop of Antioch, Syria.54 In this letter Clement explains about three versions of Mark’s Gospel that have appeared: (1) The first was the original Gospel of Mark (in our Bible), which John Mark (Acts 12:12,25; 15:37,39) wrote, based on Peter’s memories received in Rome prior to his martyrdom (in the early 60s). This Gospel was perhaps written after Peter’s death (between 65–70 AD)55 or, according to Mark’s Secret Gospel, during Peter’s final years (LT 1.15-16). (2) Then after Peter’s death, Mark moved to Alexandria, Egypt, where he produced an extended version, now called the Secret Gospel of Mark (SGM), to which he added “things suitable” to create “a more spiritual Gospel,” which was “secretly kept, being read only to those who are being initiated into the great mysteries” of the Christian faith (LT 1.18-2.2, Brown’s translation).56 (3) However, a third Carpocratian Gospel of Mark (CGM) was also produced by Carpocrates, founder of an aberrant Christian group in Alexandria, who had deceitfully obtained a copy of the SGM from a presbyter (elder) in Clement’s group and who then had polluted it with “carnal [fleshly] doctrine” and “utterly shameful lies” (LT 2.4-9). As an example of this, Clement first tells the SGM story where Jesus raises a youth from the dead, and then later the two spend a night together (LT 2.21–3.14)—a passage which appears to have been inserted after Mark 10:34,57 and after a statement which describes Jesus “on the road, going up to Jerusalem” (cf. Mark 10:32 and LT 2.21). Then Clement mentions a specific change that was made in the SGM, a line added about “naked man with naked man” (LT 3.13 Brown).58
After studying philosophy and Christianity, Clement of Alexandria (c.150–c.215) became head of a bishop-led catechetical school in Alexandria,59 a place where Christian doctrine was taught alongside secular science with the aim of spreading the Christian faith among the more cultured elite.60 Nothing more is known about Theodore.61 However, the Carpocratians, followers of their early 2nd-century leader Carpocrates, was one of the most scandalous of the “gnostic” sects, early and extreme variants of Christianity.62 For example, the church historian Eusebius (c.260–c.340) mentions their magical ceremonies, love charms, interest in dreams and familiar spirits, and the “shocking deeds” of their initiation rites into the mysteries, which they claimed were necessary so that the “rulers [demons] of this world” would eventually let their souls pass on to heaven; and these acts included incest with mothers and sisters (Eusebius, EH 4.7.8-11). The battle over gnosticism (and its esoteric teaching) raged on in Alexandria through the 2nd century, reaching its climax in Clement’s time.63
The SGM’s Lazarus-like story. More specifically the raising-to-life story in the SGM (LT 2.21–3.14) relates how [2.23] after Jesus reached Bethany, “a certain woman, whose brother [2.24] had died” came to Jesus and begged him to [2.25] “‘[H]ave mercy on me’.” [2.26] When Jesus went with her into the garden, [3.1] “a great cry was heard from the tomb. And going near Jesus [3.2] rolled away the stone from the door of the tomb. And straightway, going in where [3.3] the youth (neaniskos)64 was, he stretched forth his hand and raised him, seizing [3.4] his hand. But the youth, looking (emblepō) upon him, loved (agapaō) him and [3.5] began to beseech him that he might be with him. And going out of [3.6] the tomb they came into the house of the youth, for he was rich. And after [3.7] six days Jesus told him what to do and in the evening the [3.8] youth comes to him, wearing a linen cloth (sindōn) over [his] naked (gymnos) [body]. And [3.9] he remained with him that night, for Jesus taught him [3.10] the mystery of the kingdom of God. And thence, arising, [3.11] he (Jesus) returned to the other side of the Jordan.” Then Clement explains that [3.13] the wording “‘naked [man] with naked [man]’ and the other things about which you wrote are not [3.14] found (in the SGM).”65 Now clearly this text seems to share certain elements with the raising-of-Lazarus story (John 11:1-54); yet it also recalls Jesus’ look of love given the inquiring rich man (Mark 10:17-22) and the naked youth covered only with a linen cloth who follows Jesus into the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:51-52).
Neaniskos refers to a “young man” (Strong, G3495), although the corresponding Hebrew word na‘ar (Strong, H5288: “young man, boy, child”) could be applied to “a person whose age is somewhere between infancy and relative adulthood.” Yet, most “youths” in the Bible were in their 20s or (sometimes) 30s, and they usually had not yet married.66 Sindōn refers to a large “linen cloth” (G4616; and cf. the Hebrew sadin, H5466), which could be wrapped around the basic tunic as an outer garment or used at night as the sole covering.67 Such was one of those luxury items made by the ideal wife for sale (Prov 31:24), and they were commonly worn by the women of Jerusalem (Isa 3:24a)―although men also valued them as fine outer garments (Judg 14:12), since linen garments were rarer and more expensive than cotton garments.68 Joseph of Arimathea purchased a sindōn to use as a shroud to wrap Jesus’ body for burial (Mark 15:46). The rich man in Jesus’ parable (of The Rich Man and Lazarus, Luke 16:19-31) displayed his status by dressing in “purple and byssos [G1040, another word meaning “fine linen]” (v. 19, NRSV), and the Jewish priests were also known for their linen garments (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 20.216). Gymnos, meaning “naked” (Strong, G1131), is found in the Greek term gymnasion (“gymnasium”), which was first applied to “naked exercise,” then later to the place where this was practiced.69 Henry Swete has noted how a loose-fitting sindōn draped over a young man’s naked body could only “excite attention.”70
Morton Smith’s views on the SGM. After studying Clement’s LT for 15 years, Smith published two volumes on his findings (both 1973), one technical71 for scholars and the other72 for the general public. He noted that both Clement and the Carpocratians viewed Jesus as a teacher of mysteries and they held that it was possible for the believer to progress from lesser to “the great mysteries” of the faith by instruction in secret knowledge (gnōsis). He reported that 12 out of 14 scholars consulted believed that this was a genuine Clementine letter,73 and Smith dates composition of the SGM, referred to in Clement’s letter, to around 100 AD.74 Smith noted how vocabulary and style in the SGM is very close to the canonical Gospel of Mark (in the Bible).75 However, the SGM also contained a version of John’s raising-of-Lazarus story (John 11)76—although notable differences exist between these two accounts, e.g., Jesus commands others to roll away the stone (John 11:39) rather than moving it himself (LT 3.1-2), Jesus issues a great cry (John 11:43) instead of it coming from inside the tomb (LT 3.1), and he calls Lazarus to come forth from the tomb (John 11:43) rather than entering the tomb and taking the young man’s hand (LT 3.2-4) to lead him out.77
Then the church historian Cyril Richardson suggested to Smith that perhaps Mark 10:13-45 in the Bible, with the SGM additions, was read in the early Alexandrian church as part of a vigil (an all-night service) preceding Easter sunrise; and because there were prosperous members in the Alexandrian church Mark had added certain SGM elements to show that indeed a rich man could get into heaven78—in spite of the Gospel of Mark’s account of the rich man who had asked Jesus what he must do to “inherit eternal life” and was told that he must give all of his wealth to the poor before he could follow Jesus; and so he went away “grieving,” which was followed by Jesus’ remarks about how nearly impossible it was for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God (Mark 10:17-31). So, could this rich man not also be Lazarus, in whose ample household Jesus and his disciples had stayed and been entertained more than once? Richardson also suggested that the six days of preparation, the nocturnal setting (appropriate for a private rite), and the naked body clothed only in a linen cloth, in the SGM story, all pointed to a baptismal rite which the youth received from Jesus.79 Moreover, relating to the scantily-clad youth who shows up at the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:51-52), could he not also have been someone coming to be baptized by Jesus? Indeed, there is a stream in the Garden of Gethsemane.80 Jesus often spoke in obscure parables, revealing the inner truth only to his disciples in private.81 Yet, none of the Synoptic Gospels mention Jesus baptizing, and John 4:1 seems to back this up (“Jesus himself did not baptize, but his disciples,” RSV)―although Smith contends that the Aramaic here would be better translated as “Jesus baptized nobody but his disciples,” which could then have included the Twelve and some other chosen followers.82 This baptism then was administered with each person alone and at night, with the disciple removing his sindōn to be baptized in the nude. Then Smith added, this new “freedom from the law may have resulted in completion of the spiritual union by physical [sexual] union.”83
Reactions to Smith’s views. Many scholars were highly skeptical about the genuineness of Smith’s letter, as well as its claim that Mark wrote a SGM. Robin Scroggs (1973) called the SGM text “a crude collage of phrases found elsewhere in the Gospel of Mark,” F. F. Bruce (1974) “an obvious pastiche [hodgepodge], with its internal contradiction and confusion,” and Pierson Parker (1974) one of those “late and spurious [false] Gospel tracts,” for which “Alexandria was a breeding ground.”84 German scholarship was also critical, e.g., Hans Conzelmann (1978) dismissed Smith’s portrayal of Jesus as a “science fiction story,” and Werner Kümmel (1976) wrote that the idea of a two-stage teaching of Jesus and of Mark moving to Alexandria “contradict all we know of Clement,” therefore this letter can only be “a falsification dating from the end of the 2nd century at the earliest,” and the idea that Jesus performed a “magical rite of baptism, possibly of a homosexual nature,” is completely untenable.85 Especially the suggestion that Jesus had sex with male baptismal candidates was upsetting. Helmut Merkel (1974) warned that it would not be long before this became a hot tabloid topic,86 and Donald Akenson (2000) dismissed this as only a modern “ironic gay joke.”87 Still, other scholars saw here “a typical healing story,” based on an oral tradition independent of the Gospels in the Bible.88 Currently Charles Hedrick (2008) notes that while Clementine scholars have continued to accept the SGM as genuine, NT scholars in general have remained skeptical about Mark producing an expanded Gospel.89 As NT scholar R. T. France (2002) writes, although many patristic scholars (historians of the early Church Fathers) accept this Clementine letter as genuine, still “the question remains what was the origin of the additional material which Clement believes came from Mark himself [since] Clement was fond of secrecy, esoteric teaching [only to be revealed to a few], and mystical experiences, and was more open than most patristic writers to accept the authenticity of purportedly apostolic writings, which are now understood to be of second-century origin. There is no reason to regard this expanded version of Mark as any less ‘apocryphal’ [falsely attributed to an author] than the other gospels to which he accorded similar recognition.”90 In fact, Scott Brown (2005) notes that “Today, forty-five years after the discovery of the manuscript, there is no general paradigm [viewpoint] that most scholars agree on, and most frankly have no idea what to make of the text.”91
Of those who accept Clement’s letter and the SGM as authentic, the views of Marvin Meyer (2003) and of Scott Brown (2005) may be viewed as typical, both of whom have written recent books on this subject. Meyer holds that the SGM supplies a subplot that was excluded from Mark’s original Gospel92 and that the nude “youth” wrapped in a linen cloth who comes to the olive orchard called Gethsemane is not a historical figure but rather a mythological, literary figure which Mark inserted into his Gospel to symbolize the “disciple” who comes to Jesus for baptism,93 following through with the baptism theme found in the SGM story of the resurrected “youth” who comes to Jesus also at night.94 Then in Mark 16:5 this “youth” wrapped in a linen cloth appears a third time and is seen sitting on the right side at the empty tomb by the three women, having experienced ‘death’ and newness of life with Jesus―although as Smith earlier pointed out, the youth in the Garden actually deserted Jesus to save himself95 and was not baptized. Also, it should be noted that Matthew’s Gospel identifies the figure whom the three women saw as an “angel,” dressed in white, who had rolled away the stone at the tomb’s entrance (Matt 28:1-7, esp. v. 2). While Scott Brown dismisses the idea that the SGM material was intended to be read as part of a baptismal liturgy, still he views the linen sheet as a metaphor;96 and the youths who precede (the nude youth in the garden) and follow (the nude youth at the tomb) the Passion narrative provide a “matched pair.”97 As Scott Brown explains, this symbolism, related to discipleship, should not be viewed so much as an initiation leading to baptism as an initiation to the truth that one must first die to self before one can find new life in Jesus and follow him.98 Yet, now we must turn to take a closer look at the Mark 10:17-31 and 14:51-52 passages.
The inquiring youth and Jesus’ look of love (Mark 10:17-31). This story relates how “a man ran up [to Jesus] and knelt before him, and asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’” When Jesus recited the last six of the Ten Commandments (Exod 20:12-17), the young man “said to him, ‘Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.’ Jesus, looking [emblepō] at him, loved [agapaō] 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.’ When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions” (Mark 10:17-22 NRSV). Then Jesus looked at his disciples and said, “[H]ow hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” (v. 23). Mark here describes “a man” who “had many possessions” (vv. 10:17, 22), while a parallel account in Luke 18:18-25 notes that he was both “very rich” and “a certain ruler” (vv. 23, 18) and Matthew 19:16-22 twice calls him “a young man [neaniskos]” (vv. 20, 22). R. T. France points out how this man who comes to Jesus, because of his wealth, views himself as “a most desirable recruit” for the kingdom of heaven; and “we share the disciples’ amazement at the undiplomatic way in which Jesus has responded to his apparently sincere approach.” Then Jesus disorients his disciples even more by applying his words universally (10:23-27)—to which Peter replies, “Look, we have left everything and followed you” (v. 28). Still it should be noted that Jesus’ disciples had not left “everything,” since, e.g., Simon Peter retained his house in Capernaum (Mark 1:29) and his fishing boat and gear (John 21:3), Levi/Matthew gave Jesus a dinner party with friends at his home (Mark 2:15), Mary and Martha repeatedly opened their home to Jesus and his disciples (Luke 10:38-42, John 12:1-2), and other women supported Jesus with their financial means (Luke 8:2-3).99 Again we are faced with a paradox in Jesus’ teaching, where on the one hand ‘wealth’ seems necessary for survival and indeed can enable one to ‘do good’ and yet at the same time it can be a barrier to following and serving Jesus wholeheartedly (“You cannot serve God and wealth,” Matt 6:24b NRSV).100
Yet, what really concerns us here is the enigmatic phrase “Jesus, looking at him [the young man], loved him” (Mark 10:21). The first verb emblepō, a relatively rare word in the NT, really means to “look (closely, directly) at” (Strong, G1689), ‘look intently at’ (Mark 8:25 NRSV), or even ‘stare at’ (Mark 14:67 NRSV). The second verb agapaō is used to convey a broad range of meanings associated with “to love” (Strong, G25), although it conveys an erotic meaning in numerous Septuagint (Greek OT) passages, where we read how Jacob “loved” Rachel (Gen 29:18), Shechem “loved “Dinah (Gen 34:3), the Shulamite woman “loves” her beloved (Song 1:7; 3:1,2,3,4), and also Jonathan “loved” David more than life itself and more than women (1 Sam 18:1,3; 2 Sam 1:26).101 And John’s Gospel tells us that John son of Zebedee was especially “loved” (G25) by Jesus (13:25; 19:26; 21:7,20), as well as Lazarus (11:3,35), although with Lazarus a different verb is used (phileō, G5368, Strong: “to love, to have affection”). That these two verbs can be used interchangeably, however, can be seen in one location where phileō is also applied to Jesus’ love for John (John 20:2). Yet, what is striking in Mark 10:21 is not only the joining of “looked closely at” (CEV) with “loved,” but that this is the only place where Synoptics ever say that Jesus “loved” someone. Still, in John’s Gospel Jesus repeatedly declares that he “loved” (agapaō) his “disciples” (John 13:34; 15:9,12), the Twelve and all his followers. Jennings holds that emblepō in Mark 10:21 along with the unexpected word “loved” could certainly suggest awakened desire and erotic delight on Jesus’ part, yet this is not the only viable reading 102—and it should be noted that Jesus also “looked intently” (emblepō) at the blind man whom he was healing (Mark 8:25), with no erotic connotation. Yet, the wording “looking at him . . . loved him” is unusual, where one might have expected something more like Jesus “had compassion on” (Mark 6:34, 8:2) or “sighed deeply in his spirit” toward those who did not follow him (Mark 8:12). In the light of Jesus’ homosexual feelings and actions displayed and described toward John in the Fourth Gospel, there could have been an element of eroticism here in looking at this young man—although the opposite may just as well be true.
The nude youth in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:51-52). After describing how a contingent was dispatched by Jewish leaders and Jesus is arrested and all his disciples flee (14:43-50), Mark adds a curious note that has long puzzled interpreters: “A certain young man [neaniskos] was following him [Jesus], wearing nothing but a linen cloth. They [some of the armed band] caught hold of him, but he left the linen cloth and ran off naked” (Mark 14:51-52 NRSV). The Greek text here is more dramatic, describing in a more literal fashion how this youth had “thrown about a linen cloth [sindōn] upon (his) naked [gymnos] (body).” And when the guard “seized him the young man . . . forsaking the linen cloth, naked fled from them” (J. Green). Now R. A. Cole thinks neaniskos (G3495) here might denote a youth “in late adolescence, in his teens.”103 Relating to the “linen garment,” William Lane holds that sindōn (G4616) here probably indicates that this youth came from a wealthy family, and the lack of the usual tunic underneath that he had dressed hastily to come to Jesus.104 Theodore Jennings notes that the attention drawn here to “nudity” (gymnos, G1131) is unusual since the term related to the gymnasium where in the Greek tradition youths in the nude perfected and displayed their muscular prowess; and this was also a focal point for the homoerotic gaze of men. Therefore such a scantily-clad youth following Jesus is puzzling, to say the least.105
Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) the English philosopher suggested that this immodestly-dressed youth might have been a kinaidos (Latin: cinaedus), or “young male effeminate prostitute”106—however, Jennings was unable to document that kinaidi/cinaedi specially wore a linen cloth over the bare body as a badge (or advertisement) of their profession.107 From earliest times suggestions have been made that this youth was John son of Zebedee, or James the Lord’s brother, or a resident of the house where Jesus had eaten the Last Supper, or the Evangelist Mark himself who may have been one of its residents.108 However, since all of the Gospels place the Twelve at the Last Supper, they all (except Judas) must have gone earlier with Jesus to the Garden; and so this would eliminate them as candidates. Another suggestion has been “a curious neighbor aroused from sleep who gets swept up into the confusion,” but this makes little sense, since Jesus and his disciples are in a isolated, non-residential location at night. Others have viewed this scantily-clad youth as an angel, or a symbol of Christ, or of a believer seeking baptism.109 Yet nowhere in the Gospels do the writers clearly insert imaginary figures to interact with historical figures in their narratives, which seem intended to convince readers of the realities of Jesus’ life and of the truthfulness of their accounts (Luke 1:1-4, John 21:24b). Therefore, this youth has usually been taken to be John Mark of Jerusalem (Cole, Mitton, Johnson, Taylor).110 Although this text seems meaningless to us, this “curious episode would clearly be memorable to [the one to] whom it had happened” (Rawlington); and no doubt the Roman church knew who he was (Carrington).111 In this regards, John M. C. Crum has offered an intriguing hypothesis revolving around Mark. He suggests that Judas brought his armed band first to the house where the Last Supper was held, where John Mark lived, a large residence in Jerusalem where later “many” believers would gather for a prayer meeting (Acts 12:12). John Mark was roused from his sleep by the noise at the front door, ran downstairs and overheard what was said, and then quickly, with only his sidōn wrapped around his body, ran off to the Garden to warn Jesus. However, Judas’s band got there before him and John Mark arrived only to see Jesus being led away, his disciples disappearing among the olive trees, and himself barely escaping arrest.112 The home where Mary and her son John Mark lived could also have been the location for the “upper room” (Acts 1:13), where the disciples secluded themselves after Jesus’ Ascension.113 It should be noted that this residence was less than 3/4 of a mile from the Garden of Gethsemane (cf. Acts 1:12, NIV footnote), and the location of the Last Supper is also described as being near the garden (John 18:1). This hypothesis is only a conjecture, but it does offer a plausible scenario, with multiple roots in Scripture, explaining what might have happened.114 Although Mark had little to contribute to what was essentially Peter’s Gospel, he could not resist giving himself an Alfred-Hitchcock-like cameo appearance in his work (Gundry), relating to the one occasion when he tried to help Jesus.115
Do these studies related to Mark’s Gospel reveal anything about Jesus’ homosexuality? It must be recognized that early Christian baptism apparently was done in the nude, since Smith notes that Hippolytus (c.170–c.236), an early Christian writer, proscribed nude baptism (Apostolic Tradition 21.3,5,11) and such was also required by the Pharisees in proselyte (conversion) baptism, as well in immersions for purification (Mikwa’ot 8-9; Babylonian Yebamot 47b). Undressing for baptism is also mentioned in Acts of Barnabas 12 and Matyrdom of Matthew 27.116 Then at some point an Easter baptism was added (symbolizing the baptized’s resurrection with Jesus in newness of life), since Hippolytus speaks further of a nocturnal baptism when the cock crows, following an all night Easter vigil (AT 21.1); and this was repeated in later Church orders (Apostolic Constitutions 5.19.3).117 Yet, it is hardly likely that Jesus had sex with baptismal candidates (if he baptized at all)—or that sexual intimacy was implied in the SGM, which Clement held in high regard, since Clement’s ideal was to live without (lower) passions and he had an unfavorable view of sex, believing that it was unlawful except for procreation. Such a prudish man would never have accepted the SGM if he thought it was sexually libertine.118 On the other hand, what would an outsider think about reading Hippolytus’ instructions, “And let them [the initiate and the baptizing elder] stand in the water naked” (AT 21.11)? Maybe such information was best kept for the SGM and for those who were ready to receive baptism.119
Robert Williams, one of the first openly gay men ordained in the Episcopal Church (1989), held that the resurrected man in the SGM (LT 3.7-10) first came to Jesus as the man with “many possessions in Mark 10:17-22, although he could not renounce his “yuppie life” to follow him. Yet later, after he had died and Jesus raised him to life, he was ready to follow Jesus completely, which led to him coming to Jesus at night to be initiated (baptized) into the kingdom of God and then this ended with Jesus becoming his “passionate lover.” Then, Lazarus became the Beloved Disciple in John 13-21.120 However, Theodore Jennings calls this simply a “recasting [of] the whole story into the form of a novel,” although he still wonders whether perhaps Jesus’ look of love and the nude youth in the Garden were not left out of the other Synoptic Gospels because of their suggestion of homoeroticism.121 In the end, the homosexual baptism alluded to the Carpocratian version of the SGM (‘naked man with naked man’) was an gnostic alteration that cannot be taken to shed any light on Jesus’ life and practice. The reference to Jesus’ look of love (Mark 10:21) is too ambiguous to be read as a sure indicator that Jesus felt sexual attraction for this youth (the inclusion of a note on his good looks would have tipped the balance). Also, the reference to the scantily-clad youth in the Garden of Gethsemane is most simply and reasonably explained along the line of Crum’s scenario, without the need of turning to subjective symbolism and injecting imaginary figures into the NT narrative. Why the SGM presents such a shoddy report of Lazarus’ being raised from the dead in comparison to John’ account, which stands out with its specific names, extended length, and minute details, is a mystery, since Peter presumably was also a witness to this. Perhaps it was his homophobic response to Jesus’ feelings of attraction toward Lazarus and John that caused him to block out these aspects of Jesus’ life.
ONLINE IMAGES OF THE SHROUD OF TURIN:
http://www.shrouduniversity.com/hiresimage.php– Full Shroud of Turin (top of cloth, including front and back images of the crucified man), high resolution photographs.
http://radiofreethinker.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/shroud2520of2520turin.jpg– Face on the Shroud negative.
http://www.janreijnierse.com/collectionshroudhome.html– An artist’s reliefs based on the Shroud (with closed eyes), by the Dutch sculptor Jan Reijnierse.
http://www.history.com/shows/the-real-face-of-jesus/photos/the-real-face-of-Jesus-gallery/photo8– 3-D computer relief model (side view) by Ray Downing at Studio Macbeth.
FOOTNOTES: 1. For example, Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, Basil, Theodoret, Tertullian and Cyprian, cf. Anon., “Physical Descriptions of Jesus,” online p. 5. 2. Anon., “Physical Descriptions of Jesus,” online pp. 1-2 and passim. 3. Scanzoni and Hardesty, p. 75. 4. Wilson. I., 2010, p. 6; and cf. Zugibe, p. 185. 5. Fanti, “Evidences,” p. 2. 6. Wilcox, I., 2010, p. xi-xii and passim. 7. Antonacci, p. 114. 8. Meachim, online p. 4. 9. Fanti, “Evidences,” p. 3; and cf. Wilcox, plate following p. 128. 10. Meachim, online p. 4. 11. John Heller, 1983; in Fanti, “Evidences,” p. 9; Wilcox, p. 2; and Time magazine, 5/15/50, in Wilcox, p. 53. 12. Anon., “Real Face,” DVD. 13. Cf. illustration in Wilson, I., 1978, p. 83. 14. Wilcox, p. 144; and cf. Antonacci, fig. 3, p. 3. 15. Wilson, I., 2010, p. 34. 16. Wilcox, p. 54. 17. Fanti, “Computerized,” online p. 14. 18. Zugibe, p. 190; and cf. Fanti, “Computerized,” pp. 2, 15. 19. Zugibe, p. 191. 20. Ibid., p. 205. 21. Wilcox, p. 3. 22. Gerig, online pp. 1-3. 23. Keener, p. 104. 24. Guthrie, p. 247. 25. Keener, p. 918. 26. Charlesworth, pp. 32-33. 27. Williams, pp. 115-116. 28. Jennings, p. 14. 29. Goss, p. 561. 30. Jennings, p. 96. 31. Goss, p. 561. 32. Boisvert, p. 200. 33. Wilson, N., p. 146. 34. Jennings, p. 28. 35. Scroggs, pp. 73, 82. 36. Ibid., pp. 82-83. 37. Patai, pp. 152, 159. 38. Schroer and Staubli, p. 23. 39. Naphy, pp. 7-8. 40. Aldrich, p. 7. 41. Davidson, pp. 4-5. 42. Quoted in Van Tilborg, pp. 84, 82. 43. Van Tilborg, p. 78. 44. Anon., Greek Anthology, vol. 1, 5.173, p. 211; also cf. Van Tilborg, p. 90. 45. Moxnes, pp. 105-107. 46. Ibid., pp. 91, 93-94. 47. Ibid., pp. 96, 98. 48. Ibid., pp. 101, 103. 49. Charlesworth, p. 55. 50. Cf. Wilson, N., p. 144. 51. McNeill, p. 131. 52. Jennings, p. 68. 53. Van Tilborg, pp. 79-80. 54. Smith, Secret, pp. 2-3; and Hedrick, p. 811. 55. Black, p. 800. 56. Brown, S., pp. xviii-xix. 57. Smith, Secret, pp. 48-49. 58. For Smith’s English translation of Clement’s letter to Theodore, see Smith, Secret, pp. 14-17; and for both the Greek text (with the section and line numbering indicated) and another translation, see Brown, S., pp. xvii-xxii. 59. Cross and Livingstone, Oxford Dictionary, “Clement of Alexandria,” p. 303. 60. Ibid., “Catechetical School of Alexandria,” p. 248. 61. Smith, Secret, pp. 12-13. 62. Ibid., p. 12. 63. Smith, Clement, p. 81. 64. Since words in square brackets appear in Smith’s translation, words which I have added here, for the sake of clarity, have been placed in curved brackets. 65. Translation from Smith, Secret, pp. 16-17, with the section and line numbering added from Brown, S., pp. xi-xii. 66. Dean, p. 948; and Meyer, p. 120. 67. Brown, Driver and Briggs, sadin, H5466, p. 690. 68. Hamel, p. 667. 69. Hartley, p. 582. 70. Swete, p. 354. 71. Smith, Clement. 72. Smith, Secret. 73. Ibid., pp. 28-29. 74. Ibid., p. 40. 75. Ibid., p. 42. 76. Ibid., p. 45. 77. Cf. Ibid., p. 56. 78. Ibid., pp. 64-66. 79. Ibid., p. 69. 80. Ibid., p. 81. 81. Ibid., p. 78. 82. Ibid., pp. 93-94, 96. However note that George Lamsa’s translation of this verse from the Aramaic reads exactly like the RSV. 83. Smith, Secret, pp. 113-114. 84. Quoted in Brown, S., pp. 10, 9. 85. Quoted in Schenke, pp. 70-71. 86. Cf. Schenke, p. 70. 87. Quoted in Brown, S., p. 18. 88. Brown, S., pp. 11-12. 89. Hedrick, p. 812. 90. France, p. 410. 91. Brown, S., p. 19. 92. Meyer, 139. 93. Ibid., pp. 161-162. 94. Ibid., pp. 123-124. 95. Ibid., p. 128. 96. Ibid., p. 218. 97. Ibid., p. 21. 98. Brown, S., p. 158. 99. France, pp. 399-400. 100. Ibid., pp. 400-401. 101. Cf. Van der Pool, Apostolic Bible, “Lexical Concordance,” p. 2. 102. Jennings, pp. 107, 106. 103. Cole, p. 223. 104. Lane, p. 527. 105. Jennings, p. 111. 106. Noted by Louis Crompton, 1985; in Jennings, pp. 109-110. 107. Jennings, pp. 109-110. 108. Swete, p. 354; and Taylor, p. 562. 109. Noted in Donahue and Harrington, p. 417. 110. Cole, p. 223; Mitton, p. 118; Johnson, p. 238; and Taylor, p. 562. 111. Rawlinson, p. 215; and Carrington, p. 320. 112. Cf. Rawlinson, pp. 215-216. 113. Mitton, p. 118. 114. Lane, p. 527. 115. Robert H. Guthrie, in France, p. 596. 116. Smith, Clement, pp. 175-176. 117. Ibid., pp. 175. 118. Brown, S., p. 137. 119. Smith, Clement, p. 91. 120. Williams, pp. 120-123. 121. Jennings, pp. 128, 122.
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Scanzoni, Letha Dawson, and Nancy A. Hardesty. All We’re Meant to Be: Biblical Feminism for Today. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans (1974, 1982), 3rd ed. 1992.
Schenke, Hans-Martin. “The Mystery of the Gospel of Mark.” Second Century, 4/2 (1984): 65-82.
Schroer, Silvia, and Thomas Staubli. “Saul, David and Jonathan—The Story of a Triangle? A Contribution to the Issue of Homosexuality in the First Testament.” Originally appeared as “Saul, David und Jonathan—eine Dreiecksgeschichte?” in Bibel und Kirche, 51:15-22 (1996). Translated in Athalya Brenner, ed., Samuel and Kings: A Feminist Companion to the Bible. Second Series, 7. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2000, pp. 22-36.
Scroggs, Robin. The New Testament and Homosexuality: Cultural Background for Contemporary Debate. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1983.
Smith, Morton. Clement of Alexandria and a Secret Gospel of Mark. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1973.
Smith, Morton. The Secret Gospel: The Discovery and Interpretation of the Secret Gospel according to Mark. New York, Evanston, San Francisco and London: Harper & Row, 1973.
Strong, James, fully revised and corrected by John R. Kohlenberger III and James A. Swanson. The Strongest Strong: Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. With “Hebrew-Aramaic Dictionary-Index to the Old Testament” and Greek Dictionary-Index to the New Testament.” Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001.
Swete, Henry Barclay. The Gospel according to St Mark. London: Macmillan, 3rd ed. 1920.
Taylor, Vincent. The Gospel according to St. Mark. London: Macmillan, and New York: St Martin’s Press, 2nd ed. 1966.
Van der Pool, Charles, trans. Apostolic Bible: Polyglot. Septuagint Bible. Greek and English text. Newport, OR: Apostolic Press, (1996) 2006.
Van Tilborg, Sjef. Imaginative Love in John. Leiden, New York and Köln: E. J. Brill, 1993.
Wilcox, Robert K. The Truth about the Shroud of Turin: Solving the Mystery. Washington, DC: Regnery, 2010.
Williams, Robert. Just as I Am: A Practical Guide to Being Out, Proud and Christian. New York: Crown, 1992.
Wilson, Ian. The Shroud. London, Toronto and Syndey: Bantam Press, 2010.
--------. The Shroud of Turin: The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ? Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1978.
Wilson, Nancy. Our Tribe: Queer Folks, God, Jesus, and the Bible. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1995.
Zugibe, Frederick T. The Crucifixion of Jesus: A Forensic Inquiry. New York: M. Evans, 2005.
BIBLE TRANSLATIONS: Contemporary English Version, 1995. Lamsa, Geroge, trans., Holy Bible from the Ancient Eastern Text. . . from the Aramaic of the Peshitta Bible, 1933. New International Version, 1978. New Revised Standard Version, 1989. Revised Standard Version, 1956. Updated New American Standard Bible, 1999.
© 2010 Bruce L. Gerig
adapted from a detail of "The Last Supper," a Flemish tapestry,
ca. 1520-1530, designed
by Bernaert van Orley and probably woven by Pieter de Pannemaker. Metropolitan Museum of Art,
Robert Lehman Collection, New York.
to Homosexuality & the Bible