This guy makes “The Da Vinci Code” look orthodox.
Just in time for Easter, a professor at Jesuit-run College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts is getting new attention after an article in a college newspaper brought up some of his more bizarre interpretations of the gospels.
And considering he holds an endowed chair as a professor of New Testament studies at a college founded by the order of priesthood that includes the current pope, a lot of Catholics might find that more than a little bit troubling.
Writing in the Fenwick Review, an independent opinion journal at Holy Cross, student Elinor Reilly described how Professor Tat-Siong Benny Liew’s writings about the life of Jesus “reveal an unconventional approach to gender, sexuality, and race in the biblical texts.”
“Unconventional” might be one word for it. “Perverted,” “ludicrous” and even “blasphemous” might be some others.
Among other Liew writings, Reilly describes how the professor at one point discussed the foot-washing of the Last Supper – one of the most moving, instructive moments in the gospels – through the lens of gender relations (citations omitted):
“In addition, we find Jesus disrobing and rerobing in the episode that marks Jesus’ focus on the disciples with the coming of his ‘hour’. This disrobing … does not disclose anything about Jesus’ anatomy. Instead, it describes Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. As more than one commentator has pointed out, foot-washing was generally only done by Jewish women or non-Jewish slaves. John is clear that Jesus is (Jewish); what John is less clear about is whether Jesus is a biological male. Like a literary striptease, this episode is suggestive, even seductive; it shows and withholds at the same time.”
Maybe John didn’t have to be clear about whether Jesus was a biological male because everyone already knew that? Like, starting from the first line of the gospel of Matthew: “This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham …”
But that kind of drivel doesn’t stop with the Last Supper. Liew also takes his bizarre sexual interpretation to the Crucifixion itself. According to Reilly, the professor also argues that “[Christ] ends up appearing as a drag-kingly bride in his passion.’”
Things then move into perversion. Describing the crucifixion, Liew cites another author who states that Jesus, despite the tortures he has suffered, “reveals no weakening to the passions that might undercut his manly deportment.”
And then Liew goes off the reservation completely: (biblical citations omitted)
“If this is so, there is also something quintessentially queer here. During the passion, Jesus is not only beaten and flogged; his body is also nailed and his side pierced. Oddly, John defines Jesus’ masculinity with a body that is being opened to penetration. Even more oddly, Jesus’ ability to face his ‘hour’ is repeatedly associated with his acknowledging of and communing with his Father, who is, as Jesus explicitly states, ‘with me’ throughout this process, which Jesus also describes as one of giving birth. 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.”
It sounds like Professor Liew has some unresolved issues of his own. It also sounds like he’s been spending too much time alone in his room.
The man is obviously an accomplished academic. According to Reilly’s piece, he “received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Olivet Nazarene University and completed his doctorate at Vanderbilt University. Prior to his appointment at Holy Cross, Professor Liew had been Professor of New Testament at the Pacific School of Theology, and before that taught at Chicago Theological Seminary.”
But he’s clearly missing a good deal in the faith department. The weird pervert Liew describes could clearly not have been the Son of God that billions of people believe him to be – now and for the past 2,000 years.
And it’s not just at Holy Cross. To pick just a couple of examples: Notre Dame famously invited then-new President Barack Obama to deliver its commencement address (it had cause to regret it later, as The Weekly Standard noted); and, according to stories like this one from The Federalist, the supposedly Catholic Marquette University is practically becoming a poster child for putting gay rights over the beliefs of the church (and trampling regular American rights in the process.)
In an op-ed published by The Wall Street Journal on March 22, New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan took the dramatic step of calling out the Democrat Party for its open hostility to Catholic beliefs when it comes to life.
The headline was “The Democrats Abandon Catholics” (it’s behind a paywall, but that headline sums it up pretty well.)
With professors like Liew getting paychecks from colleges that supposedly represent their faith, Catholics have a right to wonder if some elite echelons of their church haven’t abandoned them too.
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