The Ethics of Sex (2001)
Amazon UK: The Ethics of Sex
Standpoint: 1 Fully inclusive and affirming
Genre(s): Academic writing, Ethics, History, and Theology
Especially suitable for: Academics
The topic of sexual ethics and interest in sexuality in theology generally, has grown considerably in recent years. Mark Jordan has written a provocative and stimulating introduction to the issues involved, filling a much-needed void in this field. Jordan summarizes key topics and themes in the teaching and discussion of religious ethics as well as pushing forward the debate in interesting and original directions.
The Ethics of Sex is divided into three parts, covering problems in principles of ethics, difficulties in the history of ethics, such as marriage, divorce, and crimes against nature; and finally, new possibilities in Christianity, such as redeeming pleasure. The discussion throughout the volume shows the distinctive power of Christian rhetoric to create, develop, and impose moral identities for which sex is central. Some of these identities are positive, such as the Virgin Martyr, which others are sexual sin-identities, such as the Adulterer or the Sodomite. However, we can only move beyond these established “characters” by recognizing that they were written to be theological roles – and that some theology may be needed to rewrite them.
“As an undergraduate student unfamiliar to the history of Christian views of sex, I found the genealogy alone very enlightening (even though I felt sick as I learned the genealogy of ‘orthodoxy’). The concluding portion of the book was excellent as well, coming as a refreshment and source of excitement for contemporary Christian sexual ethics. Jordan seems to know how pick his arguments and points of contention well, so the book feels (at times) breezy and light yet engaging and rigorous. In one sense, however, it therefore has the feel of a more introductory work – which I would argue it is!” — Chris
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