Holy Cross Professor:  Jesus Was A ‘Drag King’

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2018/03/29/holy-cross-professor-jesus-was-a-drag-king/

Jesus of Nazareth appears as a “drag king” in the Gospels, healed the male slave-lover of a Roman soldier, and may not have been a biological male, a Holy Cross professor argues.

Tat-siong Benny Liew, a professor of New Testament Studies at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester since 2013, shows “an unconventional approach to gender, sexuality, and race in the biblical texts,” according to an article by Elinor Reilly, a senior at Holy Cross, in the March issue of The Fenwick Review.

Holy Cross is a Roman Catholic college run by Jesuits. The Fenwick Review, named for the 19th century bishop of Boston who founded Holy Cross, Benedict Fenwick, is a conservative journal of opinion at the school.

Reilly’s article sets forth in matter-of-fact fashion some of Liew’s biblical scholarship published between 2004 and 2016, drawing on academic articles and books he has written, co-written, or edited.

The professor in one article likens the washing of the disciples’ feet in Chapter 13 of the Gospel of John to “a literary striptease,” focusing on the image of Jesus taking off his outer garment and wrapping a towel around his waist, calling it “suggestive, even seductive,” according to Reilly’s article.

Liew argues elsewhere that images of water in the Gospel of John – including the piercing of Jesus’s side by a lance after he dies on a cross – “speak to Jesus’ gender indeterminacy and hence his cross-dressing and other queer desires.”

The professor also suggests that “there is something quintessentially queer” about Jesus’s relationship with God the Father, and he interprets Jesus’s suffering on a cross in erotic terms.

Liew teaches the school’s primary class on the New Testament.

According to the Holy Cross website, his interests include the synoptic gospels, the Gospel of John, cultural and racial interpretations and receptions of the Bible, apocalypticism, and Asian-American history and literature.

Tat-siong Benny Liew

Holy Cross recently announced that it will no longer use the Crusader as a mascot or in its logo, citing a wish to distance the school from an image associated with the medieval wars Christians fought to try to end control of the Holy Land by Muslims. The school is retaining Crusader as its nickname.