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Queering Christianity

Jesus and the Shaman Tradition of Same-Sex Love

 

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“This heritage of queer shamanism is woven through the entirety of Western religious history. From the shaman who, by uniting with spirits, is abler to travel to the underworld and heaven; to Plato's lovers, who reflect each other's archetypes and by uniting attain the perfection that makes spiritual ascent pssible; to Jesus, who teachers his follwers to love others without regard for differences and, by uniting with him, enter heaven.”


Jesus Book


“Will Roscoe is one of the most important writers in the area of queer history, anthropology and particularly in the area of Native American two spirit traditions....His continued study of same-sex sensibility in myth and religion make his books must-reads for anyone seriously interested in reclaiming and re-membering GLBT history....A new book by Will Roscoe is nothing short of a major event.“—White Crane Journal

Recipient of the 2005 Lambda Literary Award for Religion/Spirituality

“Roscoe has indeed managed to synthesize a coherent spirituality that places same-sex love and modern gay consciousness at the heart of humankind's religious/spiritual quest.”—Toby Johnson, author of Gay Perspective: Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the Universe.

 
 


“Will Roscoe always takes us places we never thought we'd go. By delving into the sacred heart of the Jesus myth, he opens gateways of revelation that both astound and inspire. Precise, political, and deeply personal, Roscoe's work moves the discussion about the role of same-sex love in the evolution of human consciousness ahead by a quantum leap.”—Mark Thompson, author of the Gay Spirit, Gay Soul, Gay Body trilogy


“Will Roscoe takes us on a remarkable journey into the heart of Jesus, one who loved passionately and equally with his whole body and his whole being. We are invited to consider anew the radical nature of Jesus' life and how it speaks to the deepest spiritual longings of our age—finding hope in the midst of grief, finding community in the midst of alienating and oppressive culture—and to the revolutionary potential of those who strive to love without condition.”—Rev. Paul G. Fairley, MCC San Francisco

 
 

Ascent of Eros


The embrace of Eros on a fifth century BCE Greek bowl depicts the experience of ascending to heaven by uniting with one's lover as Socrates describes it in the dialogues of Plato.

From the cover...
Jesus and the Shamanic Tradition of Same-Sex Love is a passionate exploration of the history of Western religion as seen through the queer eye of one of the most widely acclaimed authors in gay spirituality. Drawing on recently discovered ancient sources, Will Roscoe offers a striking new view of Jesus as a charismatic mystic, whose teachings on love and the kingdom of heaven were complemented by a secret rite that served to impart the experience of entering heaven. After meticulously reconstructing this rite, Roscoe seeks its ultimate origins—an odyssey that eventually leads him to the margins of the inhabited world, where the ancient practices of shamanism survive to today.

   

Jesus

Jesus reviving Lazarus using a magician’s rod on a gold glass plate from the fourth century C.E. The stories of Lazarus and the naked youth at the scene of Jesus' arrest are hints of the secret baptism that Jesus gave to those youthful followers who declared their love for him: a ritual death and resurrection, and an experience of ascending to heaven.

Whether discussing early Christianity, Plato's Symposium, the rites of shamans, or the myths of ancient Mesopotamia, Roscoe uncovers fresh insights at every turn. He builds a persuasive argument that mysticism and gay love are powerfully connected, and that this connection forms a hidden tradition in the history of Western religion.


   

Original illustrations by Winfield Coleman