Worshippers were left ‘in tears’ after leaving a sermon where the Dean of Trinity College claimed that Jesus may have been transgender.
But the view of a transgender Jesus is ‘legitimate’, according to Dr Michael Banner, the Cambridge Dean who stepped in to defend the claim made at a Sermon last Sunday that Christ had a ‘trans body’.
The Mail Online reports: Dr Michael Banner, the Dean of Trinity College, was backing up junior research fellow Joshua Heath, who displayed Renaissance and Medieval paintings of the crucifixion depicting a side wound that he likened to a vagina in front of the congregation.
The side wound ‘takes on a decidedly vaginal appearance’, said Heath, whose PhD was supervised by the former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.
‘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,’ claimed the researcher.
Heath used the 1400th-century painting Pietà with the Holy Trinity by Jean Malouel, on display in the Louvre, to illustrate his point, according to The Daily Telegraph.
French artist Henri Maccheroni’s 1990 work ‘Christs’ also appeared during the sermon, as did the Prayer Book of Bonne of Luxembourg.
In a letter to the Dean, one worshipper said: ‘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.’
Others said they felt unwelcome in the church, adding that the children attending were visibly uncomfortable.
But Banner wrote a letter defending the sermon, seen by The Telegraph, saying: ‘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.’
He said however that he would not issue an invitation to someone who he thought would deliberately seek to shock or offend the congregation, or who he anticipated would speak against the Christian faith.