It’s been reported some worshippers left a service in tears after a guest speaker at the University of Cambridge’s Trinity College chapel evensong explained to them how Jesus could have been transgender.
According to The Daily Telegraph, Joshua heath, a junior research fellow spoke at the service last Sunday.
Showing the congregation three Renaissance and Medieval paintings of Jesus on the cross, including artist Jean Malouel’s Pietà, Heath pointed out a side wound that he proposed looked like a female private part. He also used the 14th century Prayer Book of Bonne of Luxembourg to defend his point.
The Daily Telegraph reports that he said at the end of his sermon: “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.”
The paper said one worshipper shouted “heresy” before leaving what was viewed by some as an offensive sermon.
Another wrote a letter of complaint to Dr Michael Banner, the dean of Trinity College, expressing their shock at what took place.
“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,” the person wrote, who wishes to remain anonymous.
“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.”
Dr Banner defended the sermon in a response letter, writing: “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.”
Trinity College also stood by Heath’s sermon. A spokesman said: “The sermon explored the nature of religious art, in the spirit of thought-provoking academic inquiry, and in keeping with open debate and dialogue at the University of Cambridge.”