“Welcome to the 183rd Post on the Zingcreed blog. No holds are barred in this personal polemic where I think aloud about religion and life. I hope you get something from it!” Peter Turner, M.A. M.Sc.
Jesus went in for inclusive commensality, (see Image above), he shared a table with anyone. He was quite likely labelled “a glutton and a drunkard and a friend of tax collectors and sinners” because he did overindulge his appetites. This might even be what the Kingdom of God is about (partly!). His profession – a tekton – or day labourer-cum-carpenter was a group of artisans noted for ‘chasing skirt’.(i) Working away from home rebuilding Sepphoris and Tiberias he would have had plenty of opportunity, and judging by the Biblical account of his healing and preaching ministry, he seems to have been something of a ‘chick magnet’!
Martin Scorcese, in his film of Nikos Kazantzakis’ book “The Last Temptation of Christ” shows a mis-cast bare-breasted Barbara Hershey as the village pro. She is covered in tattoos, and does her business on a 4 poster bed while a line of customers sits on the floor patiently awaiting their turn. Jesus seems to be her old school friend, and I think he called her ‘Mary Magdalene’. I don’t think any of this is explicit in the Bible however!
As Crossan says, referring to the feasts, “He makes no appropriate distinctions and discriminations. And since women were present, especially unmarried women, the accusation would be that Jesus eats with whores, the standard epithet for any female outside appropriate male control. All of those terms – tax collectors, sinners, whores – are in this case derogatory terms for those with whom, in the opinion of the name callers, open and free association should be avoided.” (Emphasis added) (ii)
Horsley doesn’t think “prostitute” is a good translation either. Referring to the woman who anointed Jesus feet with perfume (Lk 7:35-50) and to Jesus’ description of how prostitutes and tax collectors will get into the Kingdom of God first (Matt. 21:31-32), he says the Greek word for the women simply means ‘sinners’. He goes even farther and points out that the same word can be interpreted as ‘debtor’. (iii)
In conclusion there is no biblical evidence that Jesus ever consorted with such ladies at all.
(i) Zingcreed Post: Small dark ugly and illiterate – the real Jesus?
(ii) Crossan, John Dominic “Jesus. A revolutionary biography” HarperOne (1994) p.70
(iii) Horsley, Richard “Jesus and the spiral of violence” Harper and Row (1987)