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[XTalk] Eunuchery for the sake of the kingdom of heaven

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  • Nathan McGovern
    I was just reading essays by Leslie Fiedler and Christopher Looby on homosexuality in _Huckleberry Finn_; and in the course of thinking over the issue of human
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 6, 1999
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      I was just reading essays by Leslie Fiedler and Christopher Looby on
      homosexuality in _Huckleberry Finn_; and in the course of thinking over the
      issue of human sexuality, I was reminded of a question that had been in my
      mind regarding a saying found exclusively in GMatt:

      [His] disciples said to him, "If that is the case of a man with his
      wife, it is better not to marry." He answered, "Not all can accept
      [this] word, but only those to whom that is granted. Some are eunuchs
      because they were born; some, because they were made so by other;
      some, because they have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the
      kingdom of heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it.
      (Matthew 19:11-12)

      What I was wondering is, where does this teaching come from? Does it come
      straight from the creative mind of Matthew? This I find hard to accept
      only because just one verse earlier he goes to great pains to qualify that
      divorce is permissible in the case of "unlawful marriage." If it did not
      come from Matthew, whom did it come from? Jesus? I find this plausible,
      especially if one accepts that Jesus was celibate, as he is almost always
      portrayed (except in later, obviously fictitious accounts by libertine
      Christian groups). Is there any evidence for this, however (i.e., evidence
      for an Aramaic basis for the saying)?

      Nathan McGovern
      Franklin and Marshall College
      nm_mcgovern@...
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