This is the first post in a series exploring the presence of gays and lesbians in the Q community, and the dispersal and destruction of that community in a campaign against its perceived apostasy and heresy. I welcome your questions and feedback, although I can’t promise to publish everything. I will, however, take all your input under advisement!
Gays and Lesbians among Jesus’ Followers
This is the story of a small group of Jesus’ first followers. They were attracted to Jesus’ message of love and acceptance, but to more than just a message. They saw him embrace the marginalized and rejected. They saw him include common laborers in his circle of friends. They heard him denounce religious leaders whose religion was the pursuit of popularity and political power.
In this story, I will demonstrate that among Jesus’ followers in Galilee there were a significant number of gays and lesbians. Whether or not these gay and lesbian followers included any of “the twelve apostles” is beyond the scope of my research. Their presence is unmistakable, however. The interests of gay and lesbian believers are clearly present in the earliest layers of the gospel tradition. The stories and wisdom that were preserved in those earliest layers reflect the interests and experiences of Jesus’ gay and lesbian followers.
This is not, however, the story of the group traditionally called “the twelve apostles.” The relationship between these two groups (“the twelve” and the Q community) seems to me, at this time, impossible to know with any degree of confidence. While there may have been some overlap between “the twelve” and this group which included gay and lesbian believers, it is not my thesis that Jesus’ disciples were all homosexuals.
Gays and Lesbians in the Q Community
It is my belief that a significant number of Jesus’ Galilean followers were homosexuals, and that this entire community, both gay and straight, were responsible for the earliest strata of what became the synoptic tradition. The passages in the synoptic gospels that reflect gay and lesbian interests, that record the Q community’s memories of Jesus’ ministry, are all found in what is known as Q.
The Disappearance of the Q Community
Q scholars have reached no consensus as to the disappearance of the Q community. The completion of the other gospels suggests a receptive audience that supported their composition and transmission. Thus, scholars discuss the Matthean community, the Markan community, the Lucan community, and the Johannine community based on the unique characteristics of each gospel.
In contrast, the fragmentary, unrefined condition of the Q source is evidence that it was never brought to anything approaching the comparatively neat and tidy packages presented in the four gospels. While scholars do discuss the Q community, they confess ignorance as to what brought about its demise. The somewhat disjointed, sometimes disorganized condition of the Q source suggests to me that its composition was interrupted, interrupted by the same forces that brought an end to the Q community itself.
One Rabbi’s Campaign against the Q Apostates and Heretics
The second section of this story required me to uncover the individual who should be “credited” with the destruction of the Q community. I stumbled across this prime suspect rather accidentally during my research, but the deeper I dug, the more I discovered that he had means, motive, and opportunity to defend his faith against these Q heretics. A cover-up followed in the years that followed this rabbi’s anti-Q campaign, motivated by the desire to protect the Jewish communities around the empire against an emerging alliance of the Roman empire and a Christian church losing its bearing because of its new found political power.
To read more in the series on Ten Years in Galilee, go to the index here.