The Sacred Embrace of Jesus and Mary: The Sexual Mystery at the Heart of the Christian Tradition

Excerpts & Samples

By Jean-Yves Leloup

Publisher : Inner Traditions/Bear & Company

ABOUT Jean-Yves Leloup

Jean-Yves Leloup
Jean-Yves Leloup is a theologian and founder of the Institute of Other Civilization Studies and the International College of Therapists. His books include Jesus and Judas, The Sacred Embrace of Jesus and Mary, The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, The Gospel of Philip, and The Gospel of Thomas. He More...



An examination of how the teachings of Jesus reveal the essential role of sexuality in spiritual growth and transformation

• Shows that Jesus did not come to redeem humanity from the life of the flesh, but to honor it as a spiritual path

• Uses Hebrew, gnostic, and early Christian source texts to reveal the true context of the words attributed to Jesus

• Explores the spiritual and physical relationship shared by Jesus and Mary Magdalene

Of all the major religions, Christianity is the only one that has utterly rejected sexuality as one of the many paths that can lead to enlightenment and salvation. But if Jesus was indeed “the Word made flesh” and serious consideration is given to the mystery of his Incarnation, is it reasonable that physical love would have been prohibited to him?

Drawing from the canonical and apocryphal gospels, the Hebrew esoteric tradition, and gnosticism, Jean-Yves Leloup shows that Jesus did not come to save humanity from the life of the flesh but to save the life of the flesh so that it would truly transfigure all people. Leloup explains that when Saint Paul said it was good to be without women, he did not cite any words of Jesus in support of this contention. In fact, Paul’s statement utterly contradicts the words of God in Genesis: “It is not good that man should be alone.” Leloup argues that the elimination of the divine feminine and sacred sexuality set in motion by Paul’s words does not reflect the true teachings of Christ, and that the transformation of Jesus into a celibate is the true heresy. His research restores Christ’s true human sexuality and shows it to be a vital part of humanity’s spirituality. Leloup contends that by understanding the sacred nature of the embrace shared by man and woman as a true reflection of humanity made in God’s image, Christianity can again become the powerful path of transfiguration Christ intended.
“In this remarkable book, we are invited to encounter the real Jesus, who became incarnate in order to embrace and consecrate flesh, offering ‘life abundant’ through a spiritual path of integration. Springing from Jewish tradition, this Jesus celebrates marriage and sexual union as a theophany manifesting the presence of the divine.”
Margaret Starbird, author of The Woman with the Alabaster Jar and Mary Magdalene, Bride in Exile

“Jean-Yves Leloup’s bold vision of Jesus opens entirely new doors to the understanding of both Jesus’ full humanity and our own human possibility for conscious love.”
Jacob Needleman, author of The Wisdom of Love and Lost Christianity

"This thoughtful and detailed discussion has a more academic tone than some of his other books and may seem daunting, but fans of Leloup and true seekers of the meaning of love, the holiness of sexuality and the deeper aspects of the relationship between Jesus and Mary won't be disappointed."
Publisher's Weekly, March 13, 2006

"The controversy of Mary Magdalene and her role in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ is presented by Leloup in a well documented, Biblically cited, text that unlike many others on the subject, is written by an Orthodox theologian."
Institute for Hermetic Studies, Aug 2006

"It is fascinating to follow the development of this ostensible misogyny into the all-pervasive and quite dysfunctional attitude to sexuality as late as this supposedly enlightened 21st century. This is a deeply philosophical work that is rewarding in a number of ways."
Jennifer Hoskins, New Dawn, Nov-Dec 2006

"By resorting to canonical and apocryphical scriptures, philosophy and literature [Leloup] is presenting a contemplative philosophical exercise within this theological domains that we recommend with pleasure."
The Cauldron Brasil, Feb 2007

". . . if you are looking for an in-depth perspective on this topic, this book is a great start. . . . Scholarly, but very intense."
Karen Phillippi, Facing North, Jan 2007