Academic journal article Journal of Research in Gender Studies

The Bible as a Medium for Social Engineering: Jesus as the Androgynous Role Model

Academic journal article Journal of Research in Gender Studies

The Bible as a Medium for Social Engineering: Jesus as the Androgynous Role Model

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT. This paper presents how we may understand the pastoral psychologist David Bakan's suggestion that through the medium of the Bible, Jesus was presented as a supreme androgynous role model meant to inspire social change in the masculinized cultures of the time. As an early Christian symbol of salvation, I propose to reveal the psychological unification of the sexes into Jesus the androgyne as an early Christian symbol of salvation.

Keywords: Jesus, androgyny, Bible, Bakan, agency, communion

1. The Bible as a Medium for Social Engineering: Jesus as the Androgynous Role Model

From a contemporary stage it is generally understood that life must emanate from both male and female sources and that the events of the old and new testaments are often interrupted to conform to ambiguous prophecies (Gardner, 1996, 15, 35). Various cabalistic interpretations of the Old Testament and of the Synoptic Gospels have been used to support an accumulation of viewpoints and enthusiastic propaganda about sex and gender, for example, that Eve introduced sex into the world and was made responsible for man's morality and all of his sins (Topping-Bazin & Freeman, 1974). It surely remains controversial to claim that female deities as well as the philosophy and moral values of the feminine were once venerated, yet, the potential for democratic community structure as recorded in the Gnostic Gospels, was disrupted by a lineage of patriarchal kingships and dictatorships that have been supported by many religious dogmas (Jacobs, 2006). It is less controversial to say that the opening chapters of the Old Testament do not accurately represent the early history of the world (Gardner, 1996). It is in inter- pretations of the New Testament of Jesus as exemplar of remarkable and meritorious human beings, where the redemptive qualities of religions can arguably be seen.

Karen Homey (1885-1952) argued that differences between women and men were influenced more by culture than by biology (Homey, 1937). Although her theories were not teleological, I suggest the importance of individual connections to family, work, the law, politics, and religion in the shaping of personality are at the heart of her philosophy. Carl Jung (1875- 1961) proposed that religious myths represent a collective unconscious and according to Jung, the archetypes of the anima and animus were not fabricated as cultural constructs, rather, a priori elements of psychic life (Jung, 1941). Jung believed he identified these archetypes with images encountered in primitive mythologies, divine gods, paganism, and classical religion (Jung, 1959). He figuratively referred to the anima as a magical aura, affirming that with it we entered the realm of the Gods and that everything the anima touched became mysterious, awe-inspiring, and aroused spiritual and religious emotions.

Cloninger (1996) claims that religious myths are perhaps most important in providing social guidance. David Bakan (1921-2004) interpreted the activity of the biblical Jesus Christ to represent the archetypical balance of agency and communion in order to recover effective balance and integration in the personality (Bakan, 1975, 1979). The archetypical balance of agency and communion may be interpreted as the androgynous collective unconscious, since it is experienced by both males and females who share myth and religion

According to Alan Jacobs (2006), Gnosticism, the Egyptian Christianity that preceded orthodox Christianity, was a redemptive religion that produced an individualistic mysticism based on the image of a God that is both male and female and who is recorded in the Gnostic gospels as announcing "I am the voice... in the likeness of a female... in the thought of the likeness of my masculinity ... I am androgynous ..." (Jacobs, 2006, 8). This unification of the sexes serves as a symbol for salvation as we shall see shortly in Bakan's exegesis. The Bible is arguably a medium like any other and in extending Rebecca Bell-Metereau's view, media ". …

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