Amy Hollywood

You can reduce religion to sex only if you don't especially believe in either one. (Michael Warner 1996) In the face of what the social historian Judith Bennett refers to as the virtual absence of actual women from the sources of medieval lesbianisms, a number of literary and cultural scholars have recently turned to texts by and or about women to uncover homoerotic possibilities within the metaphoric structures of their writings or in the practices ascribed to women or female characters within...

Mark D Jordan

For many contemporary speakers, telling the truth about Jesus means finding the real or historical Jesus underneath the stories and theologies constructed around him. The truth about Jesus, they affirm, is the truth about what he really said and did as over against what various Christian communities made of him. So telling the truth about Jesus' body would mean reminding listeners that he was a Jewish peasant who did manual labor rather than an Anglo-Saxon movie star surrounded by a constant...

Gregorys Virginity

In the treatise On Virginity, the earliest of his surviving writings,5 Gregory skillfully demonstrates his humility by representing himself as lacking what he nonetheless dares to praise - namely virginity. He expresses regret that his own knowledge of virginity's beauty is like water placed out of reach of a thirsty man - vain and useless. Happy they who have still the power of choosing the better way, and have not debarred themselves from it by engagements of the secular (tCC koivCC pico) as...

Queer Origins

Having encountered the lives of queer Christians within and without the contemporary church, we now turn to consider the Western tradition, beginning with two of its paradigm texts Plato and the Bible. For it is through the reading - interpreting - of these textual bodies that later Christians and Jews developed their theological understanding of the body and its desires. Not only these texts, of course. But these two are fundamental for thinking about eros, and then agape for thinking about...

Enlightenment and Church

When we turn to the Enlightenment period, and to our second paradigm shift, interestingly but perhaps not surprisingly we find ourselves turning not so much to the theologians and the churches but rather to the scientists and society, for it was science and society which led the way, and the church followed. Of course, Luther and company assumed without question the prevailing scientific ideas about sex and gender of their own day. In the early modern period, relying still on the ancient...

Virgin Mother New

The riches - some might say the excesses - of the Marian tradition have their origins in three theological insights of the early church Mary is Virgin, Mary is Mother of God or Godbearer (Theotokos), and Mary is the New Eve. In patristic theology, none of these titles is an optional extra - all of them are central to the doctrine of the incarnation and the meaning of salvation. From the fourth century, Mary's virginity has been increasingly interpreted as a sign of sexual purity, with the...

Balthasar and Sexual Difference Introductory Notes

Why is sexual difference important for Balthasar Diastasis - difference in relation - is of central importance for the structure of his theology Theologically, the diastasis between God and creation, within which the freedom of the creature becomes possible, is grounded in the diastasis of the persons of the Trinity. Anthropologically, the human person exists as inescapably ordered towards union with what is other than her, a union that brings about not self-contained completeness but...

The Risk of Desire

When the breeze blew from the turret, Given that institutional Christianity represents for many queer individuals the most visible source of oppression, asserting the potential godliness of gay sex from within a Christian framework fulfills a crucial theological and pastoral role. On the other hand, from the far left wing of Christianity and within a more spiritually ambiguous queer popular culture, the association of sex and transcendence has (in the interest of pro-gay apologetics) been made...

Queer Church

The chapters in the second part of the book remain with the church, and consider how Christian thought queers accepted notions of sexual desire, difference, and fecundity. For as the authors show, Christianity's eschatological orientation changes the way these things are thought. The point is not to queer the tradition, but to let its orientation queer us. In many ways, Elizabeth Stuart's chapter is programmatic for this book certainly for the argument of this introduction. For Stuart...

Lying and Lying Together or How Do Bodies Tell the Truth

A second oblique approach to Aquinas on natural law turns to his account of lying. In the Summa, Aquinas almost always bases his account of a vice, in Aristotelian fashion, on its corresponding virtue. At least twice he departs from that procedure. Both times he appeals to the law of nature rather than the virtues. The odd cases have never become important to a comprehensive account. Both anomalies resonate most powerfully not with the natural theory of Aristotle, but with the natural theory of...

Loves Wound

Some might perhaps think that these are the words of one in pain, not those of one in joy, especially when she says They struck me they wounded me they took away my veil. But if you consider the meaning of the words carefully, you will see they are the expressions of one who glories most in what she enjoys. . . . The soul that looks up towards God, and conceives that good desire for His eternal beauty, constantly experiences an ever new yearning for that which lies ahead, and her desire is...

Gods Bottom

Readers of Gregory's Life of Moses find their view of the biographical subject screened not only by the original biblical text of which Moses is both subject and (presumed) author but also by the added layers of Gregory's narrative simplifications and theoretical expansion. Inscribed, reduced, sublimated - in the end, Moses is made as fine and light as the thread of a spider web, enveloped in a tunic the color of air (Life of Moses 2.191 Gregory of Nyssa 1978 103).14 One begins to suspect that...

Elizabeth Stuart

Queer theology derives its origins not from the fictitious construction of human sexual experience as so much modern sexual theology has done with ultimately disappointing, though sometimes exhilarating results, but from the very life of God incarnate in the body of Christ and particularly in the sacraments, each one of which, every time it is celebrated, makes Christ as truly present as he was in a crib in Bethlehem or on a cross at Calvary. Sarah Coakley sees in Judith Butler's program of...

The Immanent Trinity Only Incestuous Homoerotics

How is one to stage the inner life of God To attain this near impossible task Balthasar employs gender terms, deriving from but transforming Aristotle. And in case we forget that analogy operates within an always greater difference, Balthasar uses the prefix uber - translated variously as over, above, supra or super - to signify that when supramasculine (ubermannlich) and suprafeminine (uberweiblich) are used of God, they are not to be literally or directly related to the masculine and feminine...

The Economic Trinity The Single Gendered Drama Continues

Balthasar's trinitarian drama - at the economic level - makes two key assumptions. Following the Johannine testimony, Balthasar argues that the Father is known only through the Son. This is the witness of most of the New Testament. Furthermore, for Balthasar, the Son as male is key in properly representing the supramasculine originless begetting Father. A woman could not represent this aspect of the Father. This is why, so to speak, God became incarnate in a man. Balthasar never tells us how...

Epilogue Philology as Theology

If there is anything distinctive about the Jewish way of doing theology, it is that there is no distinction between systematic and biblical theology, no distinction between dogmatic and narrative theology. Jews traditionally have done theology through reading narratives and producing narratives on narratives. There can be, I assert as a dogmatic claim, no Jewish theology without philology, no Jewish theology without close reading and textual reasoning. If the philology is not adequate, if the...

Going Underground

In David Fincher's highly successful adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk's cult novel, Fight Club 1992 the viewer is presented with an unwittingly prescient parable for the church of the twenty-first century. The film interrogates the transmutations of desire in the context of late-capital, and the manner in which this culture of desiring consumption is also a culture of death. Released in 1999, Fight Club begins with the narrator, possibly named Jack, sitting in a chair with a gun in his mouth in a...

Queer Orthodoxy

In the sixth part of the book we turn to consider some key doctrinal topoi the doctrines of Trinity, Christ, Mary, and the saints. Here the point is not to queer an ostensibly straight tradition, but to show that the tradition's doctrinal heart is already queer, and that as a named undertaking queer theology is itself belated. Angelo Scola, in a study of the nuptial mystery which largely draws on the work of Hans Urs von Balthasar, notes the great perplexity caused by those who have gone so far...

Queering Gender Queering Death

There is, however, also another silence, even deeper than the silence about women and that is silence about birth. I am not referring here to motherhood, but to what I have characterized elsewhere as natality natality as a philosophical category parallel to mortality see Jantzen 1998 . Death, mortality, has been taken as a central category of thought throughout the Western tradition. Plato, at its inception, characterizes a philosopher as someone who makes dying his profession death will...

Dont Tell Me What To Do with My Body Sexual Control and Church Decline

A weakness of classical theories of secularization which appeal to constants of modernization like rationalization in order to explain religious decline is their inability to account for the accelerated decline of churchgoing in many parts of the West since the 1960s. In Britain, for example, churchgoing roughly halved in the century between 1860 and 1960, then halved again in just three decades see Bruce 2002 . Even in the USA there is growing evidence that the 1960s initiated a new,...

Natural Law Meets Judith Butler

Natural law in ethics sounds like the very heart of an essentialist program. And the greatest exponent of natural law is supposed to be Thomas Aquinas. Not only Catholic, but even Protestant, Jewish, and non-theistic accounts of natural law cite and claim him.1 Yet a queer natural law it is. It is a natural law of which we can know with certainty only the proposition do good, avoid evil. It is a natural law in which animals do not properly par-ticipate.2 It is a natural law that no human being...

The Source of Desire

All things ceased I went out from myself, Theology must address the multifaceted relationship of sexual desire to desire for God in order to speak to those who, having felt the full force of the challenge queerness presents to traditional Christian doctrine, still sense or are at least open to the possibility that sexual practice can lead us towards God. The fluidity, gender crossing, and affinity with male homosexuality which shapes John's desire for God contributes, I have suggested, to a...

Were the Men of Sodom Sodomites

It is important at this point for me to discuss the story of the Destruction of Sodom, since this text has often been interpreted as encoding a condemnation of - and therefore production or presupposition of - a category of homosexuality Cantarella 1992 195 . The story is as follows Genesis 19.1-12 . God, having become aware of the evil of the people of Sodom has determined to destroy the city and sent angels in the form of men to announce this to Lot, so that he and his family can be saved. In...

Notes

1 See also the essays collected in Sautman and Sheingorn 2001 , and for groundbreaking theoretical and historical work on the early modern period see Traub 2002 . For materials directed toward specifically religious texts see J. Cohen 2003 154-87 Wiethaus 2003 Dinshaw 1999 143-82 Lochrie 1997 Holsinger 1993 Campbell 1992 and Lavezzo 1996 . 2 Lochrie does not provide a full history of the image. An early, intensely erotic and eucharistic example can be found in Aelred of Rievaulx's Rule of Life...

Penetrating Leviticus

Do not lie with a man a woman's lyings misksbei 'issa that is to ceba Leviticus 18.22 .1 This verse is usually taken in both scholarly and popular parlance to prohibit homosexuality tout court. What I would like to show is that the rabbinic culture of late antiquity did not understand this verse in terms of sexuality at all, although it did, of course, in terms of sex.2 I begin with the assumption that there is no more reason a priori to assume that ancient Jewish culture - biblical or talmudic...

Graham Ward

In Christian theology of the twentieth century Karl Barth and Hans Urs von Balthasar each attempted to situate the creation and vocation of man and woman within their wider systematic concerns see Barth 1936-75 III I-IV Balthasar 1986b 183-266 and Balthasar 1988-98 II, 365-95 . For Barth sexual difference was a repetition on a horizontal and social level of the vertical covenant between God and human beings. Sexual difference rehearses the dialectic of the self and the other the dialectic...

Basel Libellus For John The Evangelist

Basel Libellus For John The Evangelist

This book has been several years in the making, and I must thank all those who have worked on the project over that time. My greatest gratitude is of course to the contributors, to those who have been with the project from the first, and those who joined later, when others had fallen away. To all of them I owe more than it is possible to say. I must also thank the equally stalwart team at Blackwell, who patiently kept faith with the book. Alex Wright was the commissioning editor, but Rebecca...

Eros

So far, we have seen that for Plato desire is always involved in human knowing. We have also seen that a desire for knowledge is provoked initially by desire for beauty. Several dialogues show that this is in the first place characteristically the physical beauty of a human other. It is clear that human erotic desire, and of course most often the eros of male for male, is crucial for Plato's account of human understanding. But does this mean that he is not interested in the biologically and...

Catherine Pickstock

Ever since Plato, philosophy has seen that there is a profound link between the question of knowledge and the question of desire. Why is it that we desire at all, when it involves so much labor And is the question of the motivation of learning a clue to the nature of knowledge as such This link is particularly apparent in Plato's Meno, one of the most important loci for the Platonic doctrine of recollection. Socrates' interlocutor Meno puts to him a problem which has come to be known as the...