April 25th, 2007
From our days in Sunday school, many of us are familiar with the Gospel story where Jesus healed the servant of a Roman centurion. This story is recorded in Matthew 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10. In Matthew, we are told that the centurion came to Jesus to plead for the healing of his servant. Jesus said he was willing to come to the centurion’s house, but the centurion said there was no need for Jesus to do so — he believed that if Jesus simply spoke the word, his servant would be healed. Marveling at the man’s faith, Jesus pronounced the servant healed. Luke tells a similar story.
Just another miracle story, right? Not on your life!
In the original language, the importance of this story for gay, lesbian, and bisexual Christians is much clearer. The Greek word used in Matthew’s account to refer to the servant of the centurion is pais. In the language of the time, pais had three possible meanings depending upon the context in which it was used. It could mean “son or boy;” it could mean “servant,” or it could mean a particular type of servant — one who was “his master’s male lover.” (See note 18.) Often these lovers were younger than their masters, even teenagers...
Thus, all the textual and circumstantial evidence in the Gospels points in one direction. For objective observers, the conclusion is inescapable: In this story Jesus healed a man’s male lover. When understood this way, the story takes on a whole new dimension.
Current Mood: hopeful
|Date:||April 25th, 2007 07:21 pm (UTC)|| |
Interesting - thankyou
Wow... Why am I am not surprised that the Church and cultural politics skewed another piece of this Truth.
thank you for sharing this tidbit.
I'm interested in hearing more about this, but could you explain how "pais", with its three possible meanings, should necessarily mean "lover" in this context? It doesn't look like an inescapable conclusion to me, but maybe I'm missing something. In addition, what sort of relationship are we talking about if we use the third meaning of "pais"? A fully consensual one, or one where the man was a sexual servant?