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Queer Readings of the Centurion at Capernaum: Their History and Politics
Christopher B. Zeichmann
BibRec 5
Publication Date
November 2022


The first-ever monograph on the history of queer biblical interpretation of this controversial biblical passage

Since the 1950s, homoerotic readings of the pericope in which Jesus heals a Roman centurion’s slave have been built upon three of the account’s features: the specific Greek word pais, which can refer to youth, slave, or the junior partner in a sexual relationship between two men; Luke’s characterization of the young man as “dear” (entimos) to the centurion; and commonplace homoeroticism in the Roman army. Rather than affirming or denying the historical reality of a sexual relationship between the centurion and the young man,  Christopher B. Zeichmann instead traces the shifting patterns of queer readings of the text and the influences of the sexual, political, and theological discourses of late twentieth- and early twenty-first-century Europe, the United States, and Australia. Readers will see how distinct political contexts have led interpreters to find very different meanings about the sexual subtexts of this story.

Christopher B. Zeichmann teaches in the departments of History and Religious Studies at Toronto Metropolitan University. He is the author of The Roman Army and the New Testament (2018) and The Database of Military Inscriptions and Papyri of Early Roman Palestine (2022). He is also the project manager of Brown University’s Inscriptions of Israel/Palestine project.

Download volume front matter, including table of contents and introduction.

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