Creation and Covenant: The Significance of Sexual Difference in the Moral Theology of Marriage

Bloomsbury Publishing USA
Free sample

Does sexual difference matter for marriage? Are there good theological reasons why the two main characters in a marriage should be a male and a female, or is marriage a more flexible covenant, which any two people can keep? Creation and Covenant analyzes latent but under-examined beliefs about sexual difference in the theology about marriage which has been dominant for centuries in the Christian west. The book opens by studying patristic theologies of marriage, which rested on mostly implicit and often incompatible beliefs about sexual difference. However, Roberts argues that Augustine developed a coherent theology of sexual difference, according it a shifting significance from creation to eschaton. Roberts traces how Augustine's theology influenced and was developed by subsequent theologians, such as Bernard of Clairvaux, Luther, Barth, and John Paul II. Finally, Roberts engages today's debates about gay marriage. Before becoming an academic, Dr. Roberts was a journalist. On behalf of PBS television, he covered both the Lambeth Conference in England and the World Council of Churches in Zimbabwe. During those years, he was disappointed by both the liberal and conservative arguments on homosexuality. Left-wingers seemed more interested in privacy, autonomy, and experience than in theology, and right-wingers seemed to have lots of prohibitions but little good news. In the final chapters, this book tries to do better, inviting liberals to improve the standard of their arguments, and explaining what is beautiful and persuasive about the traditional case.
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About the author

Christopher Roberts 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.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Bloomsbury Publishing USA
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Published on
Nov 1, 2008
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Pages
282
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ISBN
9780567269676
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Religion / Ethics
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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 "In line with recent reviews of policy by Aung San Suu Kyi and the U.S. Government, ASEAN's Myanmar Crisis: Challenges to the Pursuit of a Security Community provides a clear and innovative analysis of why it is necessary to reassess regional and international approaches to Myanmar. For the first time, this book also reveals the full extent to which Myanmar has challenged the solidarity and development of ASEAN itself. This is a must read for anyone interested in either Myanmar or the future of Southeast Asia." - Maung Zarni, Research Fellow on Burma at the LSE Centre for Global Governance, London School of Economics and Political Science; Founder, Free Burma Coalition           "This is the first comprehensive study of the tensions for ASEANs security community concept arising from Myanmar's membership of ASEAN. Too much commentary about Myanmar is agenda-driven; this study is objective, meticulously researched, and finely balanced. Being an 'outsider', Christopher Roberts recognizes the dynamics that characterize these complex relationships, and analyses them with care and insight." - Trevor Wilson, former Australian Ambassador to Myanmar (2000-03); Visiting Fellow, Australian National University, Canberra
           "The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has set itself the goal of creating an ASEAN Security Community by 2015. This book is a highly original empirical study of instability in Myanmar and its transnational impact set within the framework of the security community theory. Roberts advances innovative policy proposals aimed at addressing Myanmar's human security issues in order to improve governance and the capacity for reform. This book will be the required reading for academics and policy-makers as the process of constructing a regional security community unfolds." - Carlyle A. Thayer, Professor of Politics, UNSW at the Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra
From the renowned and best-selling author of A History of God, a sweeping exploration of religion and the history of human violence.

For the first time, religious self-identification is on the decline in American. Some analysts have cited as cause a post-9/11perception: that faith in general is a source of aggression, intolerance, and divisiveness—something bad for society. But how accurate is that view? With deep learning and sympathetic understanding, Karen Armstrong sets out to discover the truth about religion and violence in each of the world’s great traditions, taking us on an astonishing journey from prehistoric times to the present.

While many historians have looked at violence in connection with particular religious manifestations (jihad in Islam or Christianity’s Crusades), Armstrong looks at each faith—not only Christianity and Islam, but also Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Daoism, and Judaism—in its totality over time. As she describes, each arose in an agrarian society with plenty powerful landowners brutalizing peasants while also warring among themselves over land, then the only real source of wealth. In this world, religion was not the discrete and personal matter it would become for us but rather something that permeated all aspects of society. And so it was that agrarian aggression, and the warrior ethos it begot, became bound up with observances of the sacred.

In each tradition, however, a counterbalance to the warrior code also developed. Around sages, prophets, and mystics there grew up communities protesting the injustice and bloodshed endemic to agrarian society, the violence to which religion had become heir. And so by the time the great confessional faiths came of age, all understood themselves as ultimately devoted to peace, equality, and reconciliation, whatever the acts of violence perpetrated in their name.

Industrialization and modernity have ushered in an epoch of spectacular and unexampled violence, although, as Armstrong explains, relatively little of it can be ascribed directly to religion. Nevertheless, she shows us how and in what measure religions, in their relative maturity, came to absorb modern belligerence—and what hope there might be for peace among believers of different creeds in our time.

At a moment of rising geopolitical chaos, the imperative of mutual understanding between nations and faith communities has never been more urgent, the dangers of action based on misunderstanding never greater. Informed by Armstrong’s sweeping erudition and personal commitment to the promotion of compassion, Fields of Blood makes vividly clear that religion is not the problem.
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