‘I Left The Service In Tears’: Dean Of Trinity College Defends Sermon Claiming Jesus Could Have Been Transgender

Sermon claimed wound in Jesus' side "'takes on a decidedly vaginal appearance."
DEA PICTURE LIBRARY/Contributor/GettyImages

A firestorm of criticism broke out after a junior research fellow at Trinity College in Cambridge, England, claimed in a sermon that Jesus could have been transgender.

The sermon from Joshua Heath, whose PhD was monitored by the controversial former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, asserted that the wound that the Gospels write came from a Roman soldier had a “vaginal appearance,” and thus the fact that Jesus’ penis had also been depicted in non-erotic depictions in historical art, combined with the “vaginal appearance” to “urge a welcoming rather than hostile response towards the raised voices of trans people. … In Christ’s simultaneously masculine and feminine body in these works, if the body of Christ as these works suggest the body of all bodies, then his body is also the trans body.”

Disturbed worshippers at the sermon, which showed art works including Jean Malouel’s 1400 work Pietà and Henri Maccheroni’s 1990 “Christs” reacted harshly; one shouted “heresy” while another wrote a letter to the Dean, Dr. Michael Banner, which stated:

I left the service in tears. You offered to speak with me afterwards, but I was too distressed. I am contemptuous of the idea that by cutting a hole in a man, through which he can be penetrated, he can become a woman. … I am especially contemptuous of such imagery when it is applied to our Lord, from the pulpit, at Evensong. I am contemptuous of the notion that we should be invited to contemplate the martyrdom of a “trans Christ,” a new heresy for our age.

But Banner defended the sermon, as reported by The Telegraph, writing that the sermon “suggested that we might think about these images of Christ’s male/female body as providing us with ways of thinking about issues around transgender questions today.”

Banner called the speculative idea of a transgender Jesus legitimate, continuing, “For myself, I think that speculation was legitimate, whether or not you or I or anyone else disagrees with the interpretation, says something else about that artistic tradition, or resists its application to contemporary questions around transsexualism.”

“The sermon explored the nature of religious art, in the spirit of thought-provoking academic inquiry, and in keeping with open debate and dialogue at the University of Cambridge,” said a Trinity College spokesman.

Rowan Williams wrote letters when he was archbishop of Wales in which he asserted, “An active sexual relationship between two people of the same sex might therefore reflect the love of God in a way comparable to marriage, if and only if it had about it the same character of absolute covenanted faithfulness.”

“The church has shifted its stance on several matters, notably the rightness of lending money at interest and the moral admissibility of contraception, so I am bound to ask if this is another such issue,” he added.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  ‘I Left The Service In Tears’: Dean Of Trinity College Defends Sermon Claiming Jesus Could Have Been Transgender