Sex Otherwise: Intersex, Christology and the Maleness of Jesus
Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion
Indiana University Press
Intersex conditions manifest in atypical physical sex and raise important theological questions about the significance of human sex. This paper examines the significance of Jesus's sex, suggesting that Christian theologies grounded in his undisputed maleness require rethinking in light of intersex. This includes the insistence by some Christians that priests must be male and not female because Jesus was male. The paper draws on constructive Christian theologies, including that of Karl Barth, and interviews with intersex Christians. It concludes that, while all humans are irreducibly sexed, sex is a human rather than a divine attribute and that maleness is not a necessary carrier of Jesus's soteriological capacity. Human sex does not in itself image God, but is a channel for other divine characteristics, such as generativity and relationality, imaged in humans. Maleness is not a quality of God imaged in Jesus, so also need not be a quality of Jesus which Christian priests “represent.”
This article was published as Sex Otherwise: Intersex, Christology, and the Maleness of Jesus. Susannah Cornwall, Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion Vol. 30, No. 2 (Fall 2014), pp. 23-39 . No part of this article may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted, or distributed, in any form, by any means, electronic, mechanical, photographic, or otherwise, without the prior permission of Indiana University Press. For educational re-use, please contact the Copyright Clearance Center (http://www.copyright.com/; 508-744-3350). For all other permissions, please visit Indiana University Press' permissions page (http://www.indiana.edu/~iupress/rights/rightsjournal.html).
Vol. 30 (2), pp. 23 - 39