The reader is taken through an informed close reading of various gospels, revealing multiple interpretations. Jennings patiently and expertly unpacks a First-century social and political milieu, offering a full-bodied view of a fully-inclusive Jesus whose ministry spoke to all people, including the marginalized, then as now. Instead of focusing on Biblical texts that seem to condemn homosexuality, professor Jennings ha chosen to: “focus attention on texts that have been largely ignored in the discussion, above all… the relationship between Jesus and the man identified as the disciple Jesus loved in the Fourth Gospel”. The book examines the Gospels of Matthew; mark and Luke as well as other texts from the same time in history with similar questions about what they might indicate about how Jesus related to other people’s sexuality, to gender roles and to what are called marriage and family values. Jennings declares that his purpose is to make ‘gay reading” of the Scriptures, offering a more inclusive vision of Jesus. The book is divided into three parts.
In the first, most valuable part, Jesus, we are told in the Gospel of John, had a special friend, though that man is never named. And during the last supper this Beloved Disciple rested his head on Jesus’ chest in an obvious sign of physical affection. Jennings reviews various attempts to identify the Beloved Disciple and goes into the stories of nude youth fleeing at the arrest of Jesus, of Lazarus, of the youth at the tomb of Jesus, and of the usage of the words ‘eros’ vs. ‘philia’ vs. ‘agape’ in the text .One of the issues addressed at length in the book’s first section is the identity of the Beloved Disciple. The Gospels give few details of the relationships between Jesus and his followers, and Jennings considers as candidates for who the Beloved Disciple was Peter’s brother Andrew, ...
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