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 Harkin has seen the book through to completion, and with Rebecca an always cheerful and endlessly helpful team of people, including Linda Auld, Sophie Gibson, Kelvin Matthews, Karen Wilson and most especially Louise Cooper. And I must also thank my long-suffering copy-editor, Elaine Bingham, who worked with me on Alien Sex, and who also copy-edits Theology & Sexuality, the journal that I co-edit with Elizabeth Stuart and Heather Walton.
I was teaching in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne when I began this book, but during the course of its writing, Newcastle University decided to close the Department and transfer its permanent staff south of the Tyne, to the newly named Department of Theology and Religion at Durham University That move has not been without its stresses, but on the whole it has been a happy one, and I gladly acknowledge the kindness and support that my colleagues at Durham - and in particular John Barclay - have shown to the newcomers from Newcastle. But the closure of the Newcastle Department was less happy for the overall provision of teaching and research in theology and the study of religion in the United Kingdom. The nearby University of Sunderland had already closed its departments of Philosophy and Religious Studies in 2001, and Newcastle its Department of Philosophy in 1989. It is increasingly the case that universities do not know why they are so named.
What little there is of theological substance in my own contributions to this book is the result of others, who over the years have enriched my life with their writings and conversation and friendship. I am happy to say that many of them are contributors to this volume, and they will know who they are. In addition I must also thank - for various kinds of help and support, friendship and insight - Pamela Sue Anderson, Jeremy Carrette, Sarah Coakley, Elaine Graham, Fergus Kerr OP, Janet and Nicholas Lash, Rob MacSwain, Alison and John Milbank, Andrea and Paul Murray, George Newlands, John Sawyer, Paul Julian Smith, Janet Martin Soskice, Will Sweetman, Mark Vernon, Alison Webster and Alex Wright, Jane and Rowan Williams. There will be many I have forgotten, and though unnamed they too will know who they are, and I thank them all. Finally I must remember Andrew Ballantyne, not only for being there, but for being there with such quiet good sense and infinite patience.
Some of the chapters in this book were first published elsewhere, and I am grateful to the authors and their publishers for permission to reproduce them here. Kathy Rudy's chapter on "Subjectivity and Belief" first appeared in Literature & Theology (15.3  224-40),
Catherine Pickstock's chapter on "Eros and Emergence" was first published in Telos (127  97-118) and James Alison's chapter on "The Gay Thing" was first published in Sexuality and the U.S. Catholic Church: Crisis and Renewal, edited by Lisa Cahill, T. Frank Kennedy, and John Garvey (Herder and Herder, 2006). Other chapters have had earlier outings, but appear here in modified, extended versions. Mark Jordan's chapter is a revised version of chapter 5 of Telling Truths in Church (reprinted by permission of Beacon Press, 2003), and Gerard Loughlin's chapter first appeared in a shorter version as "The Body" in The Blackwell Companion to the Bible and Culture, edited by John F.A. Sawyer (Blackwell, 2006). Daniel Boyarin's chapter is an augmented version of an earlier essay asking "Are There Any Jews in 'The History of Sexuality'?" in the Journal of the History of Sexuality (5.3  333-55), while Virginia Burrus's chapter manages to both contract and expand on chapter 2 of her study "Begotten Not Made" (2000). The excerpt from "The Dark Night" is from The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, translated by Keiran Kavanaugh and Otilio Rodriguez (copyright © 1964, 1979, 1991 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, ICS Publications, 2131 Lincoln Road, NE, Washington, DC 20002-1199; www.icspublications.org).
This book is dedicated to the memory of two people who died too young; two theologians who sought - though in very different ways - to queer how we think about the world and God, about ourselves as bodies in church and society.
Gareth Moore OP (1948-2002) had many interests, including music and philosophy Like many of his Dominican brothers he was deeply influenced by the work of Ludwig Wittgenstein, and this is evident in his book on Believing in God (1988). But the writings for which he will be remembered - and which are nowhere mentioned in the memorial collection of essays published in New Blackfriars (July/August 2003) - are about sex and truthfulness. In The Body in Context (1992) and A Question of Truth (2003), Gareth interrogated the official teaching of the Roman Catholic Church on sex and sexuality, and found it deeply wanting. In the earlier of these two books he did not deny that there might be good arguments in support of the Church's teaching, but merely showed that if so they had yet to be found. But in the second book he suggested that the Church's commitment to truth - which is the truth of Christ - is seriously compromised by the failure to offer cogent arguments in support of its teaching; the failure to admit that there are no such arguments to offer. (It is the failure in honesty that disheartens, and not only in the Catholic Church.)
After Gareth published The Body in Context, I urged him to write a book that would display the reformed Catholic teaching on sexuality and human relationships to which I thought his book pointed. It would be a book in which the humanity of certain sexualities were no longer in question, in which the full complexity of human desire, as it gets caught up into the desire of God, is told truthfully and without prejudice. In response he suggested that it was perhaps something I should write. Queer Theology may not be what either of us imagined at the time, but I would like to think that it is something like. For it imagines what the church may yet be on the basis of what it has been, and what it has been in the light of what is yet to come and is even now arriving in the lives of queer Christians.
Grace Jantzen (1948-2006) was also a philosopher of religion. But unlike so many of her fellow philosophers she was from the first aware that reason has a fleshy nature - that we think as bodies. In her first book - God's World, God's Body (1984) - she identified the divine logos with the world's materiality. She sought to uncover and challenge the gender bias in philosophy of religion, a discipline which presumed to view the world (and God) from a genderless perspective, but which everywhere betrays the locatedness of its (mostly male)
practitioners. Like Gareth, Grace's interests increasingly turned to questions of culture, gender, and sexuality, which she pursued in both historical and contemporary contexts. She produced two important studies on medieval mystics - Julian of Norwich (1987) and Power, Gender and Christian Mysticism (1995). But the latter was as much about writing on the mystics as on the mystics themselves. As the title of the book indicates, Grace had come to see that the mystics cannot be studied apart from the cultures and dynamics of power by which they were made: the cultures in which they lived and live again in modern discourse, in the appropriations of theologians and philosophers. And as Grace always insisted, we must constantly ask whose interests are served by such making and remaking.
More recently Grace sought to reinvigorate philosophy of religion by developing -alongside such philosophers as Pamela Sue Anderson - a feminist philosophy of religion that has proved to be the single most important development in the field in recent years. In Becoming Divine (1998) Grace began to develop a philosophy of natality that she opposed to what she saw as the West's fascination with death, with a theology and philosophy of mortality that looks to our ending rather than beginning and becoming for the meaning of life. This theme was but in embryo in Becoming Divine, for it was to grow into an ambitious project to map the West's morbidity in a multi-volume work on "Death and the Displacement of Beauty" The first volume of this bold undertaking was published in 2004 as The Foundations of Violence. In this last book, as in all her work, Grace confronted our complacencies with the possibility of a different imaginary, one that queers the world we take for granted. Like all good evangelists she wanted to open up "new ways of being," and like all wise ones she knew that these new ways arrive in our venturing upon them - like the divine "rule" for which Jesus taught his disciples to pray
In an essay on the "Contours of a Queer Theology" (Jantzen 2001) Grace argued the need for a "lesbian rule" to measure the "multiple shapes and curves and differences" of such an undertaking (Jantzen 2001: 285). The rule takes its name from the island of Lesbos where it was invented to deal with the "queer shapes" that give the otherwise straight columns of classical architecture "their beauty" (Jantzen 2001: 277). Made from lead it bends to the shape of its object (Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, V10), deviating with the deviant, becoming what it measures. With such a rule of beauty Grace imagined building a theology "with curves and flutes and rounded columns set far enough apart so there [is] plenty of room for the wind of the spirit to blow through" (Jantzen 2001: 278). Grace may not have cared for all the rooms that have been constructed in this volume, but I like to think that she would have seen something of the "lesbian rule" with which she sought to build a queer theology.
Gerard Loughlin Newcastle upon Tyne The Nativity of the Virgin Mary 2006
The wedding at Cana Libellus for John the Evangelist (Upper Rhine before 1493) Öffentliche Bibliothek der Universität Basel (A.vi.38, fol.4r)
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