Creation and Covenant
This book articulates often latent and under-examined, but nonetheless significant, beliefs about sexual difference in the theology about marriage which has been dominant in the Christian west. Chapter one explains that patristic theologies of marriage rested on mostly implicit beliefs...
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This book articulates often latent and under-examined, but nonetheless significant, beliefs about sexual difference in the theology about marriage which has been dominant in the Christian west. Chapter one explains that patristic theologies of marriage rested on mostly implicit beliefs about sexual difference, and sometimes these beliefs were incompatible with one another. However, chapter two argues that Augustine developed a coherent theological anthropology of sexual difference, according it a shifting significance from creation to eschaton. Chapters three through five show that for the major subsequent pre-modern theologians, the significance of sexual difference was rarely the subject of direct discussion. Nevertheless, Augustine's most important successors both presupposed and occasionally developed his beliefs about sexual difference. Bernard of Clairvaux shows how sexual difference in marriage is privileged material for allegories of God's love; Aquinas emphasised the procreative significance of sexual difference; and the Reformers argued that because God made the sexes, marriage should be central to Christian life. Chapters six and seven study Barth and John Paul II, who each discuss sexual difference with a hitherto unknown degree of sustained systematic attention. Their anthropology and biblical exegesis is rooted in Christology, which leads them to conclude that humanity is created for fellowship, and that sexual difference is necessary for this fellowship. Chapter eight explains why certain contemporary and revisionist theologies of marriage, notably ones which seek a rationale for gay and lesbian marriages, are problematic. These contemporary theologies have not yet reckoned with theologically important and defensible claims about the meaning of sexual difference. The conclusion suggests that renewed clarity and selfconsciousness about the theological significance of sexual difference should strengthen any Christian ethic of sexuality and marriage, enabling the church to be more articulate in its dialogue with contemporary culture and science, and more coherent in its own internal practices.
Christopher C. Roberts (Ph.D., Kings College, London) is Catherine of Siena Ethics Teaching Fellow at Villanova University. Prior to this position, Roberts spent several years as Bill Moyers' research assistant and as a reporter for the PBS show Religion and Ethics Newsweekly. He is the author of Creation & Covenant: The Significance of Sexual Difference in the Moral Theology of Marriage.
Koorong - Editorial Review.
- I. Introduction; Ii. Five Early Theologians; Iii. Augustine; Iv. Bernard Of Clairvaux; V. Thomas Aquinas. Vi. Luther; Vii. Karl Barth; Viii. John Paul Ii; Ix. Three Proposals For The Insignificance Of Sexual Difference; X. Conclusion.