The Embrace of Eros
Bodies, Desires, and Sexuality in Christianity
Publication Year: 2010
The topic of sexuality intersects directly with the most contested historical, theological, and ethical questions of our day. In this edgy yet profound volume, noted scholars and theologians assay the Christian tradition's classic and contemporary understandings of sex, sexuality, and sexual identity.
The project unfolds in three phases: contemporary assessments of the Christian tradition, new thinking about eros and being human religiously, and new perspectives on classic mysteries in light of eros and embodiment.
Published by: Augsburg Fortress Publishers
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Title Page, Copyright
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I want to acknowledge a debt of thanks to the Workgroup on Constructive Theology, which under the leadership of Serene Jones and Paul Lakeland sponsored the April 21–23, 2006, conference on sex that planted the seeds for this anthology. At that conference, some of the authors in this volume presented papers that grew into these essays. Others subsequently con-...
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The lover followed the paths of his beloved absorbed in thought. He tripped and fell among the thorns, and it seemed to him that they — Ramon Llull, The Book of the Lover and the Beloved1 th e g e n e s i s o f The Embrace of Eros: Bodies, Desires, and Sexuality in Christianity was a 2006 conference attended by about fifty theologians and scholars of ...
part iHistory: Engaging Eros in the Tradition
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...fo r C e n t ur i es Ch r is t i A ns have argued about sex. The Bible fig-ures prominently in this history of argument, perhaps more prominently than anything else in Christian traditions. Across the generations, Christians have cited biblical texts to endorse or prohibit various sexual behaviors, argued with those same texts, and attempted to place them within broader theologi-...
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At i t s o r i g i n s , Christianity was deeply troubled about the role of the body and sexual expression in spiritual life (“It is well for a man not to touch a woman,” 1 Cor. 7:1). Today, however, many Christians are moving into a joyous space where sexual pleasure and intimacy are valued as a primary site of God’s presence in human community.1 This emergence into what I would ...
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A n e w A C C e p t A n C e o f s A m e -g e n d e r C o u p l e s is now dawn-ing in Western countries. In the United States a number of jurisdictions have begun to allow gay marriages or civil unions, and many more are likely to do so in the years ahead. Elsewhere, I have offered a detailed argument that the exclusively committed relationships of gay and lesbian couples should ...
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...th e t h e o l o g i C A l C A r e e r o f Au r e l i u s Au g u s t i n u s (354–430) has so influenced the Christian tradition that one could credibly argue that no person besides Jesus himself has had more of a hand in shaping its beliefs and practices. Augustine’s views on the Trinity, creation, the nature of the church, grace and free choice, and the efficacy of the sacraments all ...
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...sC h o l A s t i C i s m e x e r C i s e d A p r o f o u n d i n f l u e n C e on Christianity in the medieval West, and Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) was one of its foremost figures.1 Aquinas’s writings both reflect general trends in medieval Christian thought and display a brilliance of their own. Aquinas employed the methods and newly available sources of Scholasticism. At the ...
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...in t w e n t i e t h -C e n t u r y d o C u m e n t s on social, economic, and political matters, popes and the Second Vatican Council have spoken to the world with credibility and poignancy about the exploitation and oppression that fuel injustice for much of the world’s population.1 Addressing both con-temporary socioeconomic configuration and the scientific worldview, the ...
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A t h e o l o g i C A l p e r s p e C t i v e is s h A p e d, to a large extent, by a person’s experience of life. It is also the case that a well-articulated theological framework can inform the interpretation of experience by providing religious categories that enable us to make sense of our lives. This double-sided rela-tionship between experience and theology is pivotal to the following attempt ...
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...i f i r s t r e A l i z e d I had been passing when I was retrieving luggage from the overhead bin of an airplane. Preparing to race to my connecting flight, I was pulling down my bag in the midst of a crush of passengers. A man touched my arm to prevent my being bashed by another bag descending from the same bin. He then touched my arm again, steadying my carry-on ...
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...si n C e t h e se C o n d wo r l d wA r, churchly discourse about same-sex desire has changed remarkably—in its detail and volume, in its varieties of evidence and manners of argument, but above all in its choices to “baptize” certain identities or characters, as I prefer to say.1 Understanding changes in the chosen names for the characters projected around same-sex desire ...
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As t h e C l o C k A p p r o A C h e s the hour of her husband’s return, a nervous housewife readies herself for his arrival. She checks herself one last time in the mirror, smoothes her hair, and practices a sultry pout. Hearing her husband’s car in the driveway, she shuffles, penguin-style, to the front door and waits. After an uncomfortable delay, his key turns in the lock. The ...
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...in Af r i C A t o d A y, “eros” and erotic desire are linked to sickness and death. Indeed, there is an important sense in which both “eros” and erotic desire have become agents of sickness and death. This can be ascertained through two simple observations that follow from each other. The first is that in Africa, HIV/AIDS is predominantly transmitted through sex or through ...
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...in h i s 1995 e x p o s É entitled The Rhythms of Black Folk, Jon Michael Spencer identifies the influence of hip-hop culture among white youth as a kind of return of the repressed—a penetration of vanilla suburbs by the sounds of subjugated blackness—that demands analysis in postmodern America as a profound datum.1 This essay will sound out that sonic eruption ...
part iIIReconstruction: Erotic Theology
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...go d C r e A t e s . This statement represents one of the central doctrinal claims at the heart of most Christian theology. At the heart of God’s creative activity is reflected God’s relational essence, love (1 John 4:8). In its rich and multidimensional form, love is both the power and the material by which God constructs creation. According to Protestant systematic theologian Paul ...
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... —Darby Kathleen Ray1in C A r n A t i o n A n d t h e r e l A t i o n s h i p of the body to divin-ity has long been a theme in feminist, womanist, black, and other liberation concepts of God. The very idea that divine essence and will are somehow located in the struggles of the oppressed focuses incarnation in two related ...
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Eroticism begins where sexual emotion becomes, beyond its procreative Our age, which has probably lost the notion of amorous passion, because the latter is more religious than sexual, considers it childish to be preoccupied with love, and expends all its efforts on marriage.fr o m t h e so n g o f so n g s to the present day, images of human ...
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...is t h e r e s e x in h e A v e n ? Given the antierotic tendencies of Christi-anity historically, one might assume a resounding “No!” Nevertheless, various scholars have recently investigated how important theological figures within the Christian tradition of the past (Augustine and Dante Alighieri) might be read as answering: “Maybe.” In her article “Sex and the City (of God),” ...
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...black man, woman and child who could make it through, took her great heart to the Clearing. . . . In the heat of every Saturday afternoon, she sat It started [this] way: laughing children, dancing men, crying women and then it got mixed up. Women stopped crying and danced; men sat down and cried; children danced, women laughed, children cried, until, exhausted and ...
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...i h A d t h e p r i v i l e g e of being present at this book’s beginning: a Workgroup on Constructive Theology conference convened in Nashville several years ago.1 Fifty theologians from around the country had gathered, as we do every year, to wrestle with topics pertinent to present-day life. That year, the provocative title of our meeting was “Sex as a Daily Practice.” After ...
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Biblica l Reference Index
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Page Count: 368
Publication Year: 2010