Jesus was gay, says murdered British playwright Christopher Marlowe in newly released spy papers
Jesus was gay, British playwright Christopher Marlowe claims in newly released documents written by a government spy.
The manuscripts, made public today by the British Library, are a record of conversations Marlowe had with double agent Richard Baines – just days before Marlowe was stabbed to death in May 1593.
Marlowe, who scholars generally agree was gay, was a friend and professional rival of William Shakespeare, and is considered one of the greatest playwrights and poets of his era.
But after allegedly posting a poem promoting violence against anyone who traded immigrants on a London church – and being snitched on by his roommate, fellow playwright Thomas Kyd – Marlowe was surveilled.
The government ordered informer Thomas Drury to find further evidence that Marlowe was an atheist, and he convinced part-time spy Richard Baines to join him.
In the papers, Baines calls Marlowe an “Atheist” with too much love for “Tobacco & Boies (boys),” providing further support for the idea Marlowe was gay.
The playwright also presents a number of “monstrous opinions” about religion, Baines notes.
As well as claiming Jesus was gay, Marlowe doubts God’s existence and says Christian communion would be better if congregants were allowed to smoke the sacrament “in a tobacco pipe”.
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The writer, who the British Library calls “the wild boy of Elizabethan literature,” also
claims he could have done a better job of composing the “filthily written” New Testament.
Because of these opinions, Baines suggests in the report that “all men in Christianity ought to endeavour that the mouth of so dangerous a member may be stopped.”
Days later, Marlowe was murdered outside a lodging house in Deptford, aged 29, in what some historians have suggested was a government-ordered assassination.
The British Library has housed the manuscripts since it was founded in 1753, but this is the first time it has been made widely available to the public.