In late November, Cambridge researcher Joshua Heath delivered a disgusting “sermon” at Trinity College, which left many worshipers in shock. I do not have access to his full script. But according to Daily Mail and The Economic Times, Heath suggested that Christ had had a trans body. One of the pieces of the evidence he offered to the already speechless audience was the side wound on Jesus’ body in a fourteenth-century painting that looked like a female genital opening (see below).
This Cambridge student did not seem to care that he also had several children in the audience because he went ahead to make another scandalous claim that the “Miniature of Christ’s Side Wound and Instruments of the Passion” in the Prayer Book of Bonne of Luxembourg of the fourteenth century “takes on a decidedly vaginal appearance.”
According to The Telegraph, this man concludes his unashamed blasphemy with the following remarks: “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.”
Even more shocking was the Dean’s response to the worshipers’ dismay; when confronted by the rightfully distressed worshipers, Michael Banner, Trinity College’s Dean, Fellow and Director of Studies in Theology and Religious Studies, defended Heath, saying the student’s “speculation was legitimate.” And later, the spokesperson of Trinity College wrote, “[Heath’s claim was] in the spirit of thought-provoking academic inquiry . . . [and it] was in keeping with open debate and dialogue at the University of Cambridge.”
I am struggling for words to describe the absurd insanity of this Cambridge incident. Heath’s offensive presentation does not even deserve an academic discussion because what he does is not an academic inquiry but the worst mixture of populism and presumptuous eisegesis. Worse yet is that there were worshipers–including children (O Lord, have mercy upon us!)–who came to hear the word of God and Heath did that under the guise of the so-called academic freedom! No wonder many of them left in shock and in tears.
This Cambridge incident proves again how precisely correct the Apostle Paul was concerning human beings: φάσκοντες εἶναι σοφοὶ ἐμωράνθησαν “Claiming to be wise, they became foolish” (Rom 1:22). This heartbreaking incident also makes me wonder whether today’s biblical scholars and theologians are doing our work in the right way. This is a clear example of our tendency to dump so many extra-textual things onto the text and call it biblical interpretation.
To me, the most unbelievable thing about Joshua Heath is that he can see a female genital opening in the scandalous wound inflicted upon the body of our Lord Jesus Christ who came to die an unspeakably brutal death to save us from our sins.