- The Washington Times - Friday, December 22, 2017

Students at a private college just outside Philadelphia will soon be able to take a class that “destabilizes long held assumptions” about the Christian faith called “Queering the Bible.”

Swarthmore College, founded in 1864, plans to usher in 2017 with a religious course that inculcates students with “queer and trans readings of biblical texts.” The one-credit class, first reported Friday by The College Fix, promises to deliver a “complexity of constructions of sex, gender and identity in one of the most influential literary works produced in ancient times.”

“This class destabilizes long held assumptions about what the bible — and religion — says about gender and sexuality,” a summary on the college’s website reads.

The educational watchdog said it could find no other Bible-based classes in 2018 at the school, although one class covered grammar and vocabulary necessary to read the Old Testament in its original Hebrew.

Inquiries by The College Fix went unanswered by school officials and instructor Gwynn Kessler.

“Repeated attempts by The College Fix to learn more about the course, and whether or not any additional Bible courses would be offered at Swarthmore next year, were met with silence,” the nonprofit organization said. “Multiple emails to Gwynn Kessler and the Swarthmore Religion Department, as well as phone calls to both, were not returned.”

Swarthmore College also offers a course titled “Queering God: Feminist and Queer Theology,” which “seeks to stretch the limits of gendering-and sexing-the divine.”

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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