All Organic Tampons

P4290011, originally uploaded by Zoomtard.

Well it all turns out for gain. After last Friday’s debacle, this Friday brought a not-so-surprise delivery from An Post. The open envelope bearing my week old Jenny Lewis tickets arrived through the letter box.

Sure I missed the gig of the year, but now we know An Post will post anything. Twice.

Jimlad is the newest furious thinker. Welcome him with applause and garlands, sexual favours and golden handshakes. No golden showers though. The last new furious thinker, Yellow Snow, did not appreciate that one little bit. Teragram will learn for the future. Anyway, Jimlad amazed us with his piece of crap blogspot efforts so much that we let him into the cool gang. We’ll transfer all his old entries over sometime in the next month but don’t expect it anytime rapid like, on account of momentous happenings in Jimlad’s life. Today he follows me and many other trendsetters by marrying a woman. He knows her so that helps. It should be a great day for most everyone involved, except maybe the person who has to sit beside me after my 2nd West Coast Cooler.

I subscribe to a great magazine called The Atlantic Monthly and every time a new edition pops through the letterbox with the various errata I stuffed into post boxes the previous week, I look forward to the reviews by a writer called Caitlin Flanagan. Maybe she is a little bit scattered in her attacks (who am I to judge that?), but damn she has a way with words. Imagine Kevin Myers but with unbelievable cheekbones and having a go at feminists who think wealth leads to liberation instead of having a go at Republicans who think that violence leads to liberation. As a Christian with slightly odd views about many things I know what its like to stick your head above the parapet to say, “Lads, I don’t think you are on solid ground there”. But far worse than being a Christian amidst fundamentalists is to be a feminist amidst fundamentalists. Flanagan has been having a hard time this week because she has published a book that looks into the hazy, misty, never-really-existed past and proposed that traditional marriage formulations can offer a lot more than the “You go girl!” pastiche feminism we have to endure. The point of all this is that Flanagan is now a writer with the New Yorker so you can read her for free and you can also see the hilarious interview she did with the genius Stephen Colbert here.

Can I just ask you all to pause a moment and consider how thematically coherent this Zoomtard has been? Marriage, feminist who gets attacked for her views on marriage and now Zoomtard talking about Christian feminism. Maybe I could do this seriously sometime….

Early in May we will endure the awful newspaper features copy and pasted by lazy journalists about whether or not the new Da Vinci Code movie secretly tells us what early Christianity was all actually, really about. I feel like every week since Zoomtard began I have had to vent in some way on the crazy ideas that Christianity is:

    Protecting powerful forces in society
    Clouded in the dense fog of history with no historical basis

In reality, Jesus was an extraordinary feminist, a literal nightmare for powerful interests to the point that they had to kill him and better recorded by a huge distance than any figure in classical history. But today I just want to touch on the feminist thing. It matters to me. Like all male feminists, I imagine, my feminism stems from viewing my mother. She worked full time and by all accounts, exceptionally well, as a primary school teacher for decades while co-raising six kids, maintaining a still blossoming marriage and nurturing all kinds of wider family connections that involved real sacrificial love. You couldn’t enjoy the company of my mom and ever think the Bible was wrong when it says, “Men and women, He created them equal”.

And yet there are many churches today that insist that women should not be in leadership. Even if a woman is gifted, called and accepted for leadership by God the Father, by the Holy Spirit and by the local congregation in turn, even then they should sit down and shut up. Grr I say. Then I punch them. It is at about that point that Jimlad’s wife (well, she will be in 4 hours) steps in and calms everything down. But I have a lot of friends in Christianityland who have vaginas and who have the skills to pay the bills leadership-wise. My colleague in deepest darkest Norn Iron and I are nerding up on the area of “Biblical Equality” or “Complementarity without hierarchy” or “Female leadership” or just as I prefer to say, “Chicks rule”. And what I am finding is appalling.

Two things. I won’t keep you long making my point. In the Judaism that Jesus (who was a Jew, you guys keep forgetting that!) grew up in we read things like if a woman speaks with a man in public she should be divorced without having her dowry paid back (Mishnah Ketubbot 1:8, 7:6). We get a hint of this in John’s Gospel when Jesus has a chat with the Samaritan (read: Racially inferior) woman at the well. While the Apostles have gone to get some lunch, Jesus has an amazing interaction with this woman and she is the first person he reveals his divinity to. Anyway, when the Apostles get back they’re all like, “Hey hey hey! Get away from him woman. Jesus! Don’t you know you shouldn’t be talking to her? Come over here and eat with us.” Maybe those weren’t the exact words but Jesus was radically against the prevailing winds of his culture as he conversed with women, treated them as equals, was happy to be close to them, was happy to have them as followers, asked them to learn from him and accepted their financial help. His first Resurrection witnesses are women. The only person he takes commands from is a woman. Jesus thought women were equal.

That is blatant fact number one that I feel like getting off my chest. But fact number two is astonishing. It is terrifying. It is shocking. It is a real scandal in the place of the fake Da Vinci Code kind. Sadly, it isn’t nearly as entertaining as the Da Vinci Code and it has no role for Audrey Tautou. In Romans 16:7 we read that there is a person called Junias and he along with Andronicus is highly esteemed among the Apostles. They are in fact, outstanding Apostles. That is, these are people who have seen the Resurrected Jesus (there were about 500 of them) and they have now gone on to do marvellous things. You read this and you think that these folk must have been pretty obvious leaders of the church.

Here is the shock. Between the 1940s and the 1970s, the name in the text “Iounian” has been translated as Junias. The masculine Junias has never occurred in any writing, archeology, architecture or cultural artefact of any kind in the whole New Testament period. Except here in Romans of course. Furthermore, older translations of the Bible, (KJV, Geneva, Tyndale, Wycliffe and Weymouth) all translate it as Junia. Junia is a girl’s name. Junia is one of the most common names of the era, especially frequent around Rome. Even the accenting on the letters in the original manuscripts rule out the masculinisation of the name. The fact of the matter is that Paul, in a letter to be read by a whole congregation communally, takes special care to thank a woman called Julia and awards her the title of outstanding among the Apostles. And Evangelical Christians who put together the NIV and other commonly used Bibles and who claim that they take Scripture as the supreme authority in all matters of faith, have skewered the meaning of the name to support their societal prejudices against women. Astounding!

Of course there are obvious implications for the robust historicity of the text if manipulations and alterations can be so easily detected but I’ll leave you to stew on that one while sitting in the cinema watching Tom Hanks stare meaningfully at the Rosetta Stone.

Your Correspondent, Diminishing femininity by making all his daughters wear fake beards.

3 Responses to “All Organic Tampons”

  1. ortho says:

    Interesting revelations on the manipulation of translations of the bible. Makes you wonder what else has been tampered with in such a way. Though I am still not sure if I would term Jesus a radical feminist, but maybe I have been brainwashed by my church. And what about Paul and the submission of wives to husbands and all that. Paul was doesn’t appear to have been any sort of feminist. Would love to hear more about this nerdling research.

  2. zoomtard says:

    I think it alleviates fears about tampering because it shows how unimaginably difficult it would be to get away with it.

    As for Paul, I think he will be forever remembered in the feminist hall of fame for his earth shattering proclomation: “There is neither man nor woman, Greek nor Jew, slave nor free. We are all one in the Christ, Jesus”. I will add your “Prove Paul Thought Women Were Equal” challenge to the list and get around to it soon.

    As for Jesus, is there anything except the inappropriate conservatism of some branches of the Western Christian church embracing their societal gods and idols instead of teh teachings of their Lord that makes you uncomfortable about describing him as the Gospels do- as a radical feminist?


  3. […] Well continuing on from that last bombshell dropped here at Zoomtard Central, check out this article from Books and Culture about the apostle we have put in drag, Junia. This is a pretty complete survey of the situation by a whipsmart theologist called Sarah Hinlicky Wilson. I know, first a female apostle and now a female theologian. Surely the horsemen of the Apocolypse are on their way. Props to Dr. Mitchel for the link to that article. You really should comment sometime, elder! […]