Quest for the Gay Jesus has joined the Quest for the Historical Jesus:

a growing group of Biblical scholars believe that Christ may have had at least one sexual relationship with another male.

Noted Methodist theologian Rev. Theodore Jennings Jr. and Dr Morton Smith, a world renowned Bible scholar, say there is irrefutable evidence that Jesus was at least bisexual.  Dr Rollan McCleary of the University of Queensland, in Australia, says he has discovered through his research that three of the disciples were gay.

Not sure how Morton Smith could “say” anything, as he’s been dead since 1991 – but here’s the “Secret Gospel of Mark” he claimed to have found in 1958. As for the others:

Rev. Jennings, a professor at the United Church of Christ’s Chicago Theological Seminary, points to the Gospel of St. John.  In his book “The Man Jesus Loved: Homoerotic Narratives From the New Testament,” Jennings writes that the reference in St John about  “the disciple Jesus loved” was actually a reference to Jesus’ gay boyfriend…Dr McCleary spent three years researching “gay spirituality”. His book, “Signs for a Messiah” says that Jesus and at least three of his disciples were gay, and Christianity in general is built on “gay principles”.

“Gay principles?” And there was I thinking that gay people were just as diverse as heteros, and shouldn’t be stereotyped. Peter Tatchell, a British political activist whom I respect (and an ex-Sunday school teacher), adds:

Large chunks of Jesus’ life are missing from the Biblical accounts. This has fuelled speculation that the early Church sanitized the gospels, removing references to Christ’s sexuality that were not in accord with the heterosexual morality that it wanted to promote then turns to the critics:

The Vatican has denounced the research by Jennings, Smith and McCleary as “heretical”. It has also been denounced by Southern Baptists and evangelical Anglicans.

You don’t say! I would be more interested to read the reactions of serious Historical Jesus scholars; a very diverse crowd which includes the likes of EP Sanders, John Dominic Crossan, Robert Funk, NT Wright, Gerd Theissen, Geza Vermes, etc. etc. (back in 1967 Hugh Montefiore suggested that Jesus may have been “homosexually inclined”, but that’s the only serious scholarly speculation on the topic with which I’m familiar) My own reaction is to wonder why there is no reference to a gay Jesus in any of the anti-Christian polemical literature from the ancient world. For example, the Talmud famously claims that rather than being the son of a Virgin (Parthenos), Jesus was the son of a Roman Centurion called Panthera (a claim Morton Smith took seriously). Why would the polemical author have ignored a homosexual/bisexual Jesus? But perhaps this is covered in the two books, which I have not been able to see.

McCleary has a website devoted to his researches, which appear to be based on a rather odd methodology that involves astrology. Tatchell’s take on the subject, which references Smith, can be seen on his website.

(365Gay link via The Anomalist)