I’ve been away for a few days, so I’m slightly behind on this one, but I can’t help myself: this may be a new low to which the feminist academy has sunk. According to Susannah Cornwall of Manchester University’s Lincoln Theological Institute, Jesus may have been a hermaphrodite. The London Daily Telegraph chronicles this train wreck of speculation:

Dr Susannah Cornwall claimed that it is “simply a best guess” that Jesus was male.

It’s as much a guess as that Caesar wasn’t actually the name of a salad that happened to get appended to a famous Roman general.

In her paper “Intersex & Ontology, A Response to The Church, Women Bishops and Provision”, she argues that it is not possible to know “with any certainty” that Jesus did not suffer from an intersex condition, with both male and female organs.

It’s also not possible to know with certainty that Jesus wasn’t an alien from the planet Teegeeack.

In an extraordinary paper she says: “It is not possible to assert with any degree of certainty that Jesus was male as we now define maleness.

I’m not sure how they define “maleness” at Manchester U, but I suspect it has something to so with scissors.

“There is no way of knowing for sure that Jesus did not have one of the intersex conditions which would give him a body which appeared externally to be unremarkably male, but which might nonetheless have had some “hidden” female physical features.”

When you get right down to it, there’s no way of knowing for sure whether Jesus had any internal organs at all. Maybe He was actually a cyborg from the future. Or an android. Heck, how do we know He even had a body at all? Maybe it was just an elaborate illusion designed to fool those Jewish primitives He hung around with?

Dr Cornwall argues that the fact that Jesus is not recorded to have had children made his gender status “even more uncertain”.

Because all people who do not have children should be assumed to be intersexed.

She continues: “We cannot know for sure that Jesus was male – since we do not have a body to examine and analyse – it can only be that Jesus’ masculine gender role, rather than his male sex, is having to bear the weight of all this authority.”

People whose sex is also unknown: Genghis Khan, Cleopatra, Alexander the Great, Moses, Muhammad (now that’s gonna cause some trouble), Gandhi, Alfred Hitchcock, the passengers of the Titanic, Gary Coleman, Amelia Earhart, Osama bin Laden, Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys, Robert Heinlein, Ru Paul, L. Ron Hubbard, Janis Joplin, Vincent Price, H.G. Wells, Adolf Eichmann, and George Harrison, among others. All of these are people whose bodies were cremated, lost at sea, or have since turned to dust. Without proper examination (I mean, who really checked out bin Laden’s innards before they dumped him overboard? For all we know, he could have been half goat!), we have no way of saying anything about the sex of any of these people (with one exception meant to see if you read the whole list, and things are a bit uncertain even in that instance, if you know what I mean).

One serious thing to say, and that’s this: if this is the kind of epistemological standard that some academics are going to employ, they should be stripped of their positions at once. Why? Because it is next to impossible for them to know anything at all about their so-called “specialties,” and what their “research” and “papers” amount to is writing down what the voices in their heads tell them. Undergraduates don’t need some fruitcake with a Ph.D to tell them bizarre stories–that’s what frat parties and beer is for.

*Line from Madeleine Kahn in Blazing Saddles–it’s a punning reference to Bismarck Herring, a brand of fish sold in Germany, named in honor of the first Prime Minister of united Germany, Otto von Bismarck, from which her character Lili Von Shtupp hails.

(Via MCJ.)

UPDATE: For more on the academic origins of this particular form of insanity, check here, an article by someone named Bruce Gerig called “Jesus the Intersexual.”