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Late in March 2017, historians discovered a document written in May 1593 by the police informant and part-time spy Richard Baines which claimed that famous British playwright Christopher Marlowe had declared that Jesus Christ was gay, a statement he might have been murdered for soon after. While the truth of Baines’ claim remains uncertain, it raises an interesting question about the historical Jesus and his sexuality.
In 2011, flash flood revealed a cave buried for two thousand years in Jordan. The contents within were heralded as “maybe the most important discovery in the history of archaeology.”
The cave was a treasure trove packed with 70+ lead books from the earliest days of Christianity. The nitty gritty about Jesus’ relationships with his disciples is spelled out in no uncertain terms.
The BBC reports:
The books, or “codices”, were apparently cast in lead, before being bound by lead rings.
Their leaves — which are mostly about the size of a credit card — contain text in Ancient Hebrew, most of which is in code.
If the relics are of early Christian origin rather than Jewish, then they are of huge significance.
One of the few people to see the collection is David Elkington, a scholar of ancient religious archaeology who is heading a British team trying to get the lead books safely into a Jordanian museum.
He says they could be “the major discovery of Christian history”, adding: “It’s a breathtaking thought that we have held these objects that might have been held by the early saints of the Church.”
But what it’s what these codices contain that ultimately makes them so revolutionary. The Guardian says that “the most astounding finding from the newly discovered lead codices is that Jesus Christ was unambiguously and openly gay.”:
He and his disciples formed a same-sex coterie, bound by feelings of love and mutual support. There are recorded instances of same-sex activity – the “beloved disciple” plays a significant role – and there is affirmation of the joys of friendship and of living and loving together.
A whole new complexion is given to that rather puzzling passage where Jesus exhorts his followers to break family ties: “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14, 26). It seems clear now that this is less a negative repudiation of family and more a positive exhortation to join in affirmation of a gay lifestyle and love.
There is at least one new parable, that of the two young men. There are clear echoes of the relationship between David and Jonathan, for Jesus speaks of one young man having his soul “knit with the soul” of the other, and loving him “as his own soul”. Intriguing is evidence that the Catholics might be closer to the truth about the status of Mary, the mother of Jesus, than are the Protestants. She has a much bigger role in the life of Jesus than many hitherto expected, with Jesus frequently returning home and making much of her.
Conversely, there is at least one incident when Jesus quarrels violently with Joseph, who shows great hostility and makes wild claims about “manliness”. Before, one might have thought that, given Mary’s virginity, Joseph’s attitude was reflecting the ambiguities of his status in the family; but now it seems more probable that we have here a classic example of the Freudian triangle: over-possessive mother, hostile father, gay son.
Holy homosexuality, Batman! All of this bears the question, What would gay Jesus do?
(This article was originally published in April 2011).