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date: 03 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This essay examines the diverse ways in which representations of Jesus/Christ served as paradigms for authorizing, exemplifying, and promoting early Christian beliefs and practices. It asks how ancients might have read the sex/gender status of Jesus/Christ in such depictions of him as a savvy interlocutor in public debates, an exorcist, an eschatological warrior, the divine Son of God, divine Wisdom, an enthroned imperial ruler, a publicly humiliated and executed criminal, a slave, a homeless man, a mother, a eunuch, the husband of many virgins, a circumcised Jew. Representations of the gender and sexuality of Jesus/Christ appear in resistance to (Roman) violence and injustice; in the cultivation of moral and spiritual selves; in intra-Christian debates regarding sexual ethics; in the promotion of Christian teachings as divinely authoritative; in the polemics of identity formation and boundary setting, especially with regard to Jews; and in theological reflection, especially Christology and ecclesiology.

Keywords: sex, gender, Jesus, Christ, representation, masculinity, virginity, marriage, eunuch, circumcision

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