The Gay Apostle and Other Essays

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The Gay Apostle and Other Essays is a sociological study of Saint Paul and the controversies emanating from his teaching about homosexuality, the role of women, marriage, and divorce. The title essay contends that St. Paul was homosexual and that his conversion to Christianity resulted from a psychotic seizure due to mental stress brought on by homosexual urges that ran counter to his deeply-engrained religious faith. Paul eventually formed an affective but celibate relationship with St. Luke and sublimated his sexual desires by pouring energy into a passion for God as the missionary to the Gentiles, which conveniently took him into the safer, more tolerant, non-Judaic Roman world. Yet despite all this, he bequeathed to Christianity a homophobic outlook. Some say Paul has been misunderstood, but David Dawkins argues that his condemnatory words mean exactly what they say, though they do require explanation, and in our better-informed age Paul’s opinions should be rejected. This questions the notion of the Bible as “The Word of God.” Following Paul, the Church adopted a view of marriage as divinely ordained and strictly monogamist, but research in evolutionary biology and behavioural science indicates that family and marriage are variable social constructs. By medieval times, the Church had institutionalized marriage and divorce as a means of exerting socio-political influence, but one king wrested power from the Vatican by reclaiming a right established in the Magna Carta. His story, encompassing geopolitics and papal corruption and venality, also reveals how willing the Church has been to disregard its own rules.