Search the Site


Did Jesus Bless a Same-Sex Relationship?

Season 2: Episode 53
Did Jesus Bless a Same-Sex Relationship?
Date Aired: 2/14/2024

The New Testament story known as the “Healing of the Centurion’s Slave” has been the subject of some intriguing scholarship in recent years. In the Greco-Roman world, the Greek word translated as “slave” or “servant” in the Bible also meant the younger partner in a same-sex male relationship. So the question is: by healing the centurion’s partner, did Jesus effectively bless a same-sex relationship? The evidence is compelling. Homosexual relationships were common in the Greco-Roman world, especially in the military where power dynamics were reinforced by sex. In this story, repeated in two New Testament gospels, the centurion clearly cares for his servant, but is he anything more than a concerned commander? Christopher Zeichmann joins Helen and Dave to analyze how the story of the centurion’s slave would have sounded to first-century ears and why it’s been embraced by advocates of a more inclusive Christianity.

Listen to the episode on the Biblical Time Machine website or wherever you get your podcasts.

Disclaimer: The Society of Biblical Literature is not responsible for the content of this podcast. The opinions expressed in this podcast do not necessarily reflect those of the Society of Biblical Literature, its members, or its staff.

  • The Biblical Time Machine Podcast is hosted by Helen Bond and Dave Roos. Helen Bond is professor of Christian origins at Edinburgh University. She is the author of Women Remembered: Jesus’s Female Disciples, The First Biography of Jesus: Genre and Meaning in Mark’s Gospel, and The Historical Jesus: A Guide for the Perplexed. Her research focuses on the social and political history of first century Judaea, the historical Jesus and the canonical gospels. Dave Roos is a journalist and writer who contributes to, HowStuffWorks and the popular podcast Stuff You Should Know. Dave has a degree in religious studies from Duke University.