The active enforcement role of the Pharisees really does slip by us. It adds another dimension to understanding Paul’s letters. We tend to glide over “and-Saul-persecuted-the-Christians” thing without envisioning it, without figuring out what he was actually doing.
The new information in The Galilee Episode” opens up a huge kettle of worms. For me, for the first time, I think Jesus may actually have been gay. Why would someone record Philip’s ruling in the Q Source, and for what audience, if not mainly gays and lesbians?
It reminds me of the word “justice”. I was an activist from way back, my parents let me carry a picket sign when I was a kid. Yet when I became an adult Christian, the popular emphasis on justice seemed forced to me, that it really wasn’t an emphasis in the Bible. Old Testament, yes, but not the New Testament. When I learned that there were a bunch of places in the New Testament where the Greek word for justice was translated “righteousness” instead of “justice”, I realized why “justice” seemed so artificial and forced.
Now I realize that evidence of an incident of gay and lesbian persecution is in the oldest layers of gospel tradition, and how that evidence barely survived. Concern for LGBTQIA people is not a matter of, “Oh, of course, God even loves them.”
No, homophobia sparked the formation of the Jesus movement itself. Gays and lesbians were at the very beginning of the Jesus movement. Philip’s ruling on the Bethsaida Four is the basis of Luke 17:34-35. Those gay and lesbian couples are the Bethsaida Four.
Just as the KJV translators made a political decision to hide New Testament concern for justice, some scribes at the very beginning of the gospel materials tried to hide the gays and lesbians around Jesus.