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The New Testament does not explicitly indicate that Jesus had any sexual relationships. Many Christians believe that he remained celibate until his death. Throughout history, however, there have been those who have argued or suggested that there may be more to be said about Jesus' sexuality; some have argued that Jesus lived as a eunuch, and others on the contrary have argued that he had a sexual relationship. The details of these theories often vary widely.
Divorce and eunuchs
- Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.
- The disciples said to him, "If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.
- Jesus replied, "Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage (or have made themselves eunuchs) because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it. (NIV)
Jesus' praise for those who have made themselves eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven has, for many centuries, been interpreted by Christian theologians as a metaphor for chastity, since the term "eunuch" normally referred to a castrated man. Some Christians (including, according to a few sources, Origen) went farther than this by interpreting Jesus' words literally and hence physically castrating themselves as an act of devotion. The early Church Father Tertullian, who wrote that Jesus himself lived as a eunuch, likewise encouraged people to adopt this practice.
The beloved disciple
Some have suspected Jesus had a sexual relationship from the Gospel of John's references to the disciple whom Jesus loved (John 13:23, 19:26, 21:7,20), a phrase which does not occur in the Synoptic Gospels. In the text, this beloved disciple is present at the crucifixion of Jesus, with Jesus' mother, Mary; Jesus tells Mary that here is [her] son, and tells the beloved disciple that here is [his] mother.
Much depends upon the exact interpretation of the Greek words translated "love", and the extent to which they imply or exclude a sexual relationship has been hotly contested.
It has traditionally been assumed that the disciple whom Jesus loved is a self-reference by the author of the Gospel, traditionally regarded as John the Apostle; Rollan McCleary, thinks this identification would make the phrase highly significant
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