The Sacred Embrace of Jesus and Mary: The Sexual Mystery at the Heart of the Christian Tradition
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An examination of how the teachings of Jesus reveal the essential role of sexuality in spiritual growth and transformation
• Shows that Jesus did not come to redeem humanity from the life of the flesh, but to honor it as a spiritual path
• Uses Hebrew, gnostic, and early Christian source texts to reveal the true context of the words attributed to Jesus
• Explores the spiritual and physical relationship shared by Jesus and Mary Magdalene
Of all the major religions, Christianity is the only one that has utterly rejected sexuality as one of the many paths that can lead to enlightenment and salvation. But if Jesus was indeed “the Word made flesh” and serious consideration is given to the mystery of his Incarnation, is it reasonable that physical love would have been prohibited to him?
Drawing from the canonical and apocryphal gospels, the Hebrew esoteric tradition, and gnosticism, Jean-Yves Leloup shows that Jesus did not come to save humanity from the life of the flesh but to save the life of the flesh so that it would truly transfigure all people. Leloup explains that when Saint Paul said it was good to be without women, he did not cite any words of Jesus in support of this contention. In fact, Paul’s statement utterly contradicts the words of God in Genesis: “It is not good that man should be alone.” Leloup argues that the elimination of the divine feminine and sacred sexuality set in motion by Paul’s words does not reflect the true teachings of Christ, and that the transformation of Jesus into a celibate is the true heresy. His research restores Christ’s true human sexuality and shows it to be a vital part of humanity’s spirituality. Leloup contends that by understanding the sacred nature of the embrace shared by man and woman as a true reflection of humanity made in God’s image, Christianity can again become the powerful path of transfiguration Christ intended.
like Socrates after him, deserved to be called a Christian. The neoplatonic philosopher Amelios even referred to Heraclitus as having been plagiarized by the “barbarian” author of the gospel! It is interesting that Heraclitus wrote of the Logos at Ephesus, six centuries before St. John is supposed to have proclaimed—also at Ephesus—the beautiful face of the one who, for him, incarnated the Logos, the visible face of the invisible. According to Heraclitus, it is the element of fire that holds
all the more reason not to fantasize about the details of the intimacy between Yeshua and Miriam! Instead, I study all the gospel texts and see that they are consistent with the doctrine of the Incarnation, which tells us that the Logos manifested not only spiritually, or through the Word, but “in the flesh,” as is said in the prologue to the Gospel of John. But The Da Vinci Code and other texts often cite the Gospel of Philip, which says: “The Teacher loved her [Miriam] more than all the
chamber.12 This logion only reinforces the resonance between this Gospel of Philip and the Letter on Holiness attributed to Nahmanides, which offers a kind of explanation of the gospel text: The sexual relationship is in reality a thing of great elevation when it is appropriate and harmonious. This great secret is the same secret of those cherubim who couple with each other in the image of male and female. And if this act ever had the slightest taint of anything ignoble about it, the Lord of
destiny. But it is love, rather than death, that truly transforms life into destiny. Alongside the manifestations of the numinous in art and in nature, there are its manifestations in the encounter between two human beings. Here we focus on the encounter between woman and man. A man whose knowledge of women is dominated by his fear knows nothing of them. Yet there remains in him a glimpse of light, a fragment of what God is, in his melancholy at women’s laughter, in his invincible nostalgia at
the majority of Christians. Yet the 1945 discovery of the texts at Nag Hammadi further support them. They lead us toward a deeper faith in the full humanity of Jesus and might also help us to arrive at a different view of sexuality itself: That it is no longer an obstacle but is itself a path to a life that is more spiritual—that is, a life animated by pneuma, the Breath of Life. The Nag Hammadi Gospels As we have learned, the gospels discovered at Nag Hammadi are not opposed to those