- Paperback: 258 pages
- Publisher: The Pilgrim Press; First Edition edition (June 24, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 082981535X
- ISBN-13: 978-0829815351
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #713,982 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Man Jesus Loved First Edition Edition
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Top customer reviews
Just as the "Christian" theology of antiSemitism --- for example, Christian Identity theology's exultation and sanctification of the Nazi Holocaust --- requires ignoring the fact that Jesus Christ was a Jew, so too the "Christian" theology of homophobia requires ignoring Christ's affection for the beloved disciple.
Unfortunately, Jennings' cool, academic treatment of the subject is both a blessing and a curse. For the dispassionate, Jennings' scholarly analysis immediately opens a door to greater understanding, one which is free of heterosexist filters for perhaps the first time. However, those whose minds are clouded by emotion (especially "gay panic") are left to manage their emotions themselves.
Jennings asks many questions that may evoke "gay panic" in his readers. In the end, open-minded readers will see that Jesus' relationship with his beloved disciple had important distinguishing characteristics. Distinguishing characteristics are pivotal in the oppression of a minority. The perpetrators of the Nazi Holocaust targeted Jewishness. Had historical Jesus been present during the Holocaust, He would have been a target. That Jesus was also different from others in that target group is moot. The key point is that He would have been targeted. (This is the ugly truth of domination theology --- adherents end up destroying the very thing they claim they embrace.)
Similarly, Jennings helps us see that Jesus also shared a distinguishing characteristic with targeted homosexuals: Jesus' beloved was of the same sex. Again, that Jesus is different from modern-day homosexuals is a moot point. The relationship with the beloved disciple, regardless of its purity, would qualify Jesus as a target of homophobia. For example, gay bashers storming the Last Supper would not have stopped to ask whether or not Jesus' relationship with his beloved had been consummated. It would have been enough that Jesus affectionately held his beloved close. If it is difficult to grasp that such a small thing could be a matter of life and death, consider another example of the blind tyranny of prejudice: that "one drop" of African blood was enough to make one a target of racial prejudice.
In the vocabulary of my last analogy, Jennings' reading of the Gospels reveals far more than "one drop" of blood. Those who protest, who would separate Jesus from being a target of homophobia, face a daunting challenge, again, similar to the one faced by those who would deny His Jewishness. Yes, it is possible to ignore the obvious, but at what cost?
Those who believe Christ would never have had a sexual relationship with anyone may be confused or offended by Jennings observation that the Gospels make no claim about Jesus' enduring virginity. Please don't panic. Jennings also, of course, finds no direct evidence that Christ had a sexual relationship with anyone. In other words, if one believes that Christ's purity or divinity precluded historical Jesus' sexuality, Jennings does not demand that you change your belief.
Jennings does, however, invite the reader to have an open mind about the possible importance of the relationship between Jesus and the beloved disciple, regardless of its nature. That Jesus' behavior would make him a target of homophobia should open the eyes of heterosexist Christians, especially those who revel in their presumed superiority to all non-heterosexuals.
For some, grasping the importance of the relationship between Jesus and His beloved is a journey that will take years, perhaps a lifetime. Those who already understand the call to care for the least among us will not have as far to travel.