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WISHLISTS

The End of Sexual Identity

Paperback|Mar 2011
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$25.99

Concepts like "gay" or "straight" are relatively recent developments in human history. We let ourselves be defined by socially constructed notions of sexual identity and sexual orientation, even though these are not distinctly biblical or Christian ways of thinking about...


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Concepts like "gay" or "straight" are relatively recent developments in human history. We let ourselves be defined by socially constructed notions of sexual identity and sexual orientation, even though these are not distinctly biblical or Christian ways of thinking about sex.
^^Anthropologist Jenell Williams Paris offers a Christian framework for sexuality that accounts for complex postmodern realities. She unpacks how sexual identities are socially constructed in our cultural context, and assesses problems with common cultural and Christian understandings of heterosexuality and homosexuality. Ultimately, linking sexual feelings to human identity leads us to a dead end.


^^Avoiding simplistic moral exhortation about sexual behavior, Paris argues that the Christian tradition holds a distinct vision for sexuality without sexual identity categories. The End of Sexual Identity: Why Sex Is Too Important to Define Who We Are moves beyond culture war impasses to open up new space and vocabulary for conversations with people in diverse communities both inside and outside the church.^^
-Publisher.



"Jenell Paris has produced a provocative and astute diagnosis of our situation in the US: living in 'an oversexualized culture with an undersexualized spirituality.' She refuses to argue in broad generalizations and to remain content with the polarized categories that Christian reflections on sex and sexuality so often produce. As a Christian cultural anthropologist she digs below the surface and brings a sophisticated interpretation of the cultural complexity of our sexual lives. Her most piercing contribution is in challenging the 'sexual identity framework' itself that traps both Christian and non-Christian reflection on sexuality. She exposes just how paralyzed Christians become by the categories borrowed from the cultural waters we swim in, particularly the socially constructed and historically recent categories of 'heterosexual' and 'homosexual.' As someone who describes herself as a 'sex only within marriage between a man and a woman' kind of Christian, Dr. Paris's insights will surprise and challenge readers from seemingly incompatible perspectives on these issues. She is consistently gracious, but definitely notnice."
-Publisher

Sexual identity has become an idol in both the culture at large and in the Christian subculture. And yet concepts like "gay" or "straight" are relatively recent developments in human history. We let ourselves be defined by socially constructed notions of sexual identity and sexual orientation--even though these may not be the only or best ways to think about sexuality. Anthropologist Jenell Williams Paris offers a Christian framework for sexual holiness that accounts for complex postmodern realities. She assesses problems with popular cultural and Christian understandings of heterosexuality and homosexuality alike. The End of Sexual Identity moves beyond culture-war impasses to open up new space for conversations in diverse communities both inside and outside the church.
-Publisher

PRODUCT DETAIL

Jenell Williams Paris

Jenell Williams Paris (Ph.D., American University) is professor of anthropology and sociology at Messiah College in Pennsylvania. She regularly teaches introductory anthropology courses. She was formerly Professor of Anthropology at Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota and has co-authored Introducing Cultural Anthropology: A Christian Perspective with Brian M. Howell.
She has written for such publications as Christianity Today, Books & Culture and Christian Scholar's Review. Her books include Birth Control for Christians; Urban Disciples and most recently The End of Sexual Identity:Why Sex Is Too Important to Define Who We Are.

  • Preface
  • Introduction: A Word About Sex
  • 1 What Is Defined As Real
  • 2 The Trouble With Heterosexuality
  • 3 The Trouble With Homosexuality
  • 4 The Promise Of Sexual Holiness
  • 5 Sexual Desire Is (not) A Big Deal
  • 6 Having Sex Is (not) A Big Deal
  • 7 Celibacy Is (not) A Big Deal
  • Epilogue: The End Is Near
  • Discussion Questions
  • Notes
  • Acknowledgments
  • Name And Subject Index
  • Scripture Index

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