A theology professor at a Catholic college is making some bizarre – some would even say blasphemous – claims about Jesus Christ that is causing a stir on campus.
Dr. Tat-siong Benny Liew, chair of New Testament Studies at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., said Jesus was a “drag king” who had “queer desires.” He also claims the Last Supper was a “literary striptease” and that Jesus was not a man, but gender fluid.
The “Gospel of John” professor cited the book of John in the Bible to try to back his arguments.
“[Christ] ends up appearing as a drag-kingly bride in his passion,” he argues. “If one follows the trajectory of the Wisdom/Word or Sophia/Jesus (con)figuration, what we have in John’s Jesus is not only a ‘king of Israel’ or ‘king of the Ioudaioi [Jews] ,’ but also a drag king.”
Then he used Jesus’ crucifixion to try to show the Passion of Christ was really a “(homo)sexual bonding of the Father and the Son.”
“What I am suggesting is that, when Jesus’ body is being penetrated, his thoughts are on his Father. He is, in other words, imagining his passion experience as a (masochistic?) sexual relation with his own Father.”
Liew also suggested Jesus was trying to get his followers to join in.
The controversial professor uses the example of Thomas, after the Resurrection, putting his finger in Jesus’ side, which the New Testament scholar argued was an example of John asking his readers “to perform a kind of pan-eroticism.”
And the Last Supper, when Jesus washed his disciples feet, was a “seductive,” “literary striptease” and a “womanly/slavishly task” used as an example of John’s transgender interpretation of Jesus, the professor claims.
The religious studies professor also argues John’s multiple references of Jesus wanting water, giving water, and leaking water “speak to Jesus’ gender indeterminacy and hence his cross-dressing and other queer desire.”
Because of all this, Liew argues that while John makes it clear Jesus was a Jew, he leaves open “whether Jesus is a biological male.”
The controversial teachings came to light after Holy Cross student Elinor Reilly wrote an article for the independent student journal, The Fenwick Review, and called Liew’s interpretations “unconventional.” The student questioned why Liew was given a distinguished professorship at the Jesuit college in 2013 to teach the main New Testament class to undergraduate students.
“He continues to be held up as an example and a bold successor to the learned and discerning tradition of our Catholic and Jesuit College of the Holy Cross,” Reilly said.
Liew did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But he has pointed out his “selective reading of John aims to…give recognition and life to those who desire to live otherwise gendered or transgendered (sic) lives.”
Although, he wrote these conclusions in texts from 2004 and 2009, his teachings seem to continue along this line of thought, according to Reilly.
One parent told Fox News they sent their son to Holy Cross for their “conservative Christian values” but now they’re being “shattered” leaving them to question if their son should transfer schools.
Holy Cross spokesman John Hill told Fox News that Liew hasn’t taught the controversial material in the classroom. “The decade-old work referenced in the Fenwick Review article was not intended for an undergraduate classroom, nor has it ever been assigned at Holy Cross. It was an intentionally provocative work, not a statement of belief, meant to foster discussion among a small group of Biblical scholars exploring marginalization. No one has made a complaint about the content of Professor Liew’s classes in his four years at Holy Cross.”
But the college’s president voiced his disagreement with Liew’s written words. “I know Professor Liew to be a dedicated teacher and an engaged scholar. He is a man of faith, and he and his family are active members of a church community. Academic freedom is one of the hallmarks of a liberal arts education. Scholars in all disciplines are free to inquire, critique, comment, and push boundaries on widely accepted thought. However, I strongly disagree with the interpretation of John’s Gospel, as described in the Fenwick Review, and I find it especially offensive in this most sacred of all weeks in the liturgical calendar.”
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