In a shocking revelation, an academic from the University of Sheffield has claimed that the son of God was also a victim of sexual abuse, when he was stripped to be crucified.
Writing for the website The Conversation, Dr Katie Edwards says this was a 'powerful display of humiliation and gender-based violence.'
In an article headlined with the words '#Him Too', written with an academic from the University of Otago in New Zealand, she wrote: 'This is not just a matter of correcting the historical record.
Accoridng to Dr Edwards, if Jesus is named as a victim of sexual abuse it could make a huge difference to how the churches engage with movements like #MeToo, and how they promote change in wider society.'
While the MeToo movement has been supported by Hollywood actors, who wore black to support it, and attacked by feminist Germaine Greer as 'ballyhoo', the article is thought to be the first to link it with the crucifixion.
However, not everyone is pleased, Dr Stuart Waiton, a criminology expert and senior lecturer in the sociology department of the University of Abertay, said that using Jesus Christ in this way was farcical. He even went on to call it, ‘ahistorical and odd.’
Dr Edwards is director of the Sheffield Institute for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies and has called for more attention to be paid to the stripping of Jesus, which she claims receives 'little attention and minimal discussion.'
The paper, written with Professor David Tombs, Howard Paterson chair of theology and public issues at the University of Otago, further sees her saying that the MeToo movement had exposed a common tendency to deny and dismiss sexual assault, harassment and abuse.
The article continues: 'With this in mind, during this present Lenten period, it seems especially appropriate to recall the stripping of Jesus and to name it for what it was intended to be: a powerful display of humiliation and gender-based violence, which should be acknowledged as an act of sexual violence and abuse.'
Stripping was a deliberate action used by the Romans to humiliate and degrade those they wished to punish, although historical depictions of the crucifixion tend to show Jesus wearing a loincloth.
The article says scenes of the crucifixion contrast the power and control of the Romans against the forced submission of their prisoner, while hinting at further sexual violence in store.
The authors conclude: 'The sexual abuse of Jesus is a missing part of Passion and Easter story retellings. It's appropriate to recognise Jesus as a victim of sexual violence to address the continuing stigmafor those who've experienced sexual abuse, especially men.'...