"Absolutely brilliant." Stanley Hauerwas, Duke University"Loughlin envisages a complete remodelling of traditional Christian ideas on the place and importance of sexual activity in life... Loughlin's subject will increasingly preoccupy intellectually, socially and morally adventurous Christians, and there will be changes...
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"Absolutely brilliant." Stanley Hauerwas, Duke University"Loughlin envisages a complete remodelling of traditional Christian ideas on the place and importance of sexual activity in life... Loughlin's subject will increasingly preoccupy intellectually, socially and morally adventurous Christians, and there will be changes in the Church's attitudes to sex in the decades to come." Times Literary Supplement"Alien Sex offers a significant and distinctive contribution to the Christian discourses of 'body theology' and 'cinematic theology.' ... Alien Sex is a creative, original book. It will be a ... necessary task for the wider Christian community to discern the practical implications of Loughlin's insights." Reviews in Religion and Theology"There is a growing body of literature on the relationship between religion and film, but Gerard Loughlin's Alien Sex is unlike any other book in the field. ... Informed by a combination of fine theological scholarship and an almost mystical wonder at the strange relationship between desiring human bodies and God, Loughlin shows how the visual medium of film might become a form of theology, for those who know how to look. ... It is a rare treat to encounter a theologian whose writing, like good poetry, is as gracious as it is complex. ... Loughlin's theology is suffused with a sense of awe and wonder at the strangeness and the beauty of God's desire for us and our desire for God, mediated not only in the body's couplings and partings, but in the mutual capacity of cinema and church to illuminate and inspire each other." The Tablet"Loughlin is not only a close reader of all things theological, including Emmanuel Levinas, Slavoj Zizek, and, of course, the erotic Hebrew allegory of God's love, The Song of Songs; he dabbles extensively, and successfully, in a rare form of cinephilia: he regards movie theatres as divine inversions of Plato's cave, spaces more closely linked to the sacred realms of temple and church. The source of illumination, rather than the shadows cast, becomes the focal point for allegorical meaning. For Loughlin, the cinema is an apparatus for honing human desire, heightening corporeal phenomena, and bringing one closer to God. But in his unique stance of sustained devotion and hermeneutical concentration Loughlin himself becomes the real alien. That, by the way, is the selling point for this book: seek out his strange otherness, ye heathens, and you just might find one more reason to believe." Film Comment"Alien Sex develops a daring new Christian body theology that defends human sexuality - whether hetero or homosexuality - as the sphere of life where we encounter the divine most powerfully. Alien Sex is a significant accomplishment in the field of contemporary theology. Loughlin's prose is dense but clear, and his exposition of the films and related theological issues add depth to the reader's understanding of both. This is not a text that distorts the messages of films in service of a theological agenda, nor is it one in which theology bows entirely to culture. Loughlin's theology may be radical, but it is deeply committed to the submerged but persistent current of sacred eroticism that he finds in the Christian tradition." Journal of Religion and Popular Culture"Having been slow in starting, a literature on the relationship between film, religion and theology is now gathering pace. Gerard Loughlin's book marks an especially substantial and theologically coherent contribution to this literature... [It] is refreshing and energizing for theology to get out into an area of contemporary culture that is at one and the same time genuinely popular and thought-provoking." Modern Theology
Gerard Loughlin is one of the leading theologians working at the interface between religion and contemporary culture. In this exceptional work, he uses cinema and the films it shows to think about the church and the visions of desire it displays. ^Discusses various films, including the Alien quartet, Christopher Nolan's Memento, Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey and A Clockwork Orange, Nicolas Roeg's The Man Who Fell to Earth and Derek Jarman's The Garden. ^Draws on a wide range of authors, both ancient and modern, religious and secular, from Plato to Levinas, from Karl Barth and Hans Urs von Balthasar to Andre Bazin and Leo Bersani. ^Uses cinema to think about the church as an ecclesiacinema, and films to think about sexual desire as erotic dispossession, as a way into the life of God. ^Written from a radically orthodox Christian perspective, at once both Catholic and critical.
"Absolutely brilliant." Stanley Hauerwas, Duke University "Alien Sex is part of Blackwell's Challenges in Contemporary Theology series, a series that has produced some of the most creative theological thinking in recent years. Loughlin's book is no exception... Loughlin's innovative method of dealing with his material is in line with the theological approach taken but also connects with the cinematic perspective. His subject matter, however, covers a wider range of interests than film and theology and delves into the realms of art history and literature. ... Loughlin's Alien Sex is an extremely interesting and important work." Journal of the American Academy of Religion "Alien Sex presents Gerard Loughlin's incarnational theology in a compelling mantle of film theory... The book's three parts... display continual jump cuts between film texts, theology, and philosophy with dizzying effect, but Loughlin keeps readers from potential frustration through fascinating readings of a wide array of films... he works wonders with eclectic and appropriate juxtapositions of theological and scriptural texts." Journal of Religion "Alien Sex refuses, without coyness, to be quite the book promised by its subtitle. It is the more dazzling for the refusal... Alien Sex is rather an exercise in writing about incarnation under the present regime of mass images. It inter-cuts traditional Christian discourses with selections from recent films in hopes of recognizing holy bodies... Loughlin's book is not theology and film; it is theology after film - theology simply and splendidly... The final effect - despite and because of its brilliance - raises questions." Studies in Christian Ethics "It is frankly difficult to see how a book with a title like this could fail to be interesting and Loughlin does not disappoint... [It is] difficult to imagine anyone other than Loughlin bringing together Christian tradition and pop culture in such a provocative and endlessly inventive way... Loughlin's work is an important revisionary reading of the role of sexuality in both theological tradition and secular modernity... I would nominate this brilliant synthesis of theology, film and cultural theory as my book of the year within the field [of religion]." The Year's Work in Critical and Cultural Theory (2005) "Loughlin envisages a complete remodelling of traditional Christian ideas on the place and importance of sexual activity in life... Loughlin's subject will increasingly preoccupy intellectually, socially and morally adventurous Christians, and there will be changes in the Church's attitudes to sex in the decades to come." Times Literary Supplement
Gerard Loughlin is Professor of Theology and Religion at the University of Durham. His previous publications include "Telling God's Story: Bible, Church and Narrative Theology" (1996) and "Alien Sex: The Body and Desire in Cinema and Theology" (Blackwell, 2004). He is a co-editor of the "Journal Theology and Sexuality,"
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