Swidler’s Androgynous Jesus

In White Women’s Christ and Black Women’s Jesus, Jacquelyn Grant refers to the view of Leonard Swidler that Jesus had male and female personality traits.  Here is how Swidler characterizes Jesus according to gender characteristics, and it appears on page 105 of Dr. Grant’s book.  (For the characteristics, I’ll be using the language that appears in Dr. Grant’s book, without providing quotation marks):


Reasonable and cool (Luke 4:28-30; 20:20-26)

Firm, aggressive (Mark 8:33; Luke 12:49)

Advocates of justice (Mark 5:6, 17-19)

Pride and self-confidence (Matthew 21:8-20; John 18:33-37; 19:10)

Providers of security (food, clothing, shelter) (Luke 12:22; John 6:35, 67)


Feeling and emotions (Luke 7:11-15; John 11:33-36)

Gentle, peaceful (Matthew 5:4; Luke 2:14; 7:50; 13:34)

Advocates of mercy (Matthew 5:7; 9:13)

Humility and reserve (Matthew 6:1-6; Luke 14:7-11)

Need security (Matthew 15:34)

I’m a little confused by the final item in the list, which has concern for children, persons, and organization structure.  I’m unclear what belongs where, due to a problem in indentation.

I’m not sure if all of these Scriptures fit those characteristics.  I checked a few, and the connections appear rather weak.  But I agree that Jesus had both a firm and also a vulnerable side.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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