by Rachel Gladraggs

Our Ballroom Dancing Correspondent

In a remarkable new book to be published in time to catch the Christmas market Andrew Baumsterk, Professor of Inventive Hermeneutics at the University of Stornaway, will claim that the deacon Phoebe, mentioned in Paul’s Letter to the Romans, and long an icon for Christian feminists was, in fact, a transsexual.

This ground-breaking study, which is being hailed as a charter for transsexual clergy, demonstrates (contrary to much modern scholarship) that the Pastoral Epistles were genuinely written by Paul, and that a character mentioned at the end of the second letter to Timothy as one who resisted Paul’s preaching – Alexander the Coppersmith – later converted to Christianity, changed sex, and left Ephesus for a new life in Rome. There he altered his name to Phoebe and ultimately became a leading deacon.

The clue which led Baumsterk to this daring conclusion was, he says, the realization of the true significance of the name ‘Phoebe’. ‘Literally, in Greek it means shining one’, the Professor told a crowded press conference, ‘an allusion to Alexander’s former profession.’ But it was also a name for Diana, as goddess of the moon, and so carried a reference to Alexander/Phoebe’s native city. Phoebe, moreover, was the daughter of Uranus who, in mythology, was castrated by his son, Kronos, so alluding to the surgery at the hands of the evangelist and doctor, Luke, who performed the operation at Paul’s request on Alexander’s arrival in Rome.

Said a spokesperson for ACTS (The Association of Clerical Transsexuals): ‘We have known about an order of Transsexual Deacons in Albania and Macedonia in the ninth century for some time, but this is the first hard evidence of transsexuals in the Bible. It’s very exciting.’

Rev Angela Woodrow, a chaplain in the RAF, who was a long distance lorry driver until surgery and ordination, said: ‘Transsexual clergy have always been part of the rich diversity and inclusiveness of the Church. It is good to learn that from apostolic times we have played a full part in the unfolding story.’

Dr Jane Shaw was not available for comment.