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The Invention of Sodomy in Christian Theology

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In this reexamination of what it means to have a tradition, Catholic and otherwise, Mark D. Jordan offers a powerful and provocative study of the sin of erotic love between men. The Invention of Sodomy reveals the theological fabrication of arguments for categorizing genital acts between members of the same sex.


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In this reexamination of what it means to have a tradition, Catholic and otherwise, Mark D. Jordan offers a powerful and provocative study of the sin of erotic love between men. The Invention of Sodomy reveals the theological fabrication of arguments for categorizing genital acts between members of the same sex.

30 review for The Invention of Sodomy in Christian Theology

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Good grief this was hardgoing. Not just because of its dry style of writing, though that is certainly the case, but also because of the contortions and twisted logic that is sometimes exercised by the some of the Fathers of the Church in their obsession with all things willy related. Acquinas' comment about angels dancing on the head of a pin is normally seen, I think, as one which points out the ridiculous attempt to discuss and encapsulate things of the spirit in too simplistic terms. The rumi Good grief this was hardgoing. Not just because of its dry style of writing, though that is certainly the case, but also because of the contortions and twisted logic that is sometimes exercised by the some of the Fathers of the Church in their obsession with all things willy related. Acquinas' comment about angels dancing on the head of a pin is normally seen, I think, as one which points out the ridiculous attempt to discuss and encapsulate things of the spirit in too simplistic terms. The ruminating and over-obsessing about definitive fact and figures when debating the things of faith and God is a mixing up of different disciplines it seems and yet both 'sides' of the argument try and argue the other into submission using its own vocabulary and concept without attmepting to communicate in the other's lingo. It drives me insane because it prevents any meaningful opening out to the other. This book looks at the various approaches and developements, if that is the right word, of the history of the Church's stance on homosexuality as circumscibed with the word 'Sodomy'. It is a very academic tome and one that has not really affected my own feelings one way or the other unless it is to increase my frustration at so much effort given over by the Church to criticizing and belittling genuine attempts at living lives of love whilst injustice and rank poverty continues on unaddressed or certainly unabated.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Wayne

    Ever played "telephone", where one person tells another person something, it gets passed through several people, and comes out the other end of the chain completely different from how it started? The word "sodomy" is like that. This book tracks the process through time to reveal the lie. Fascinating read, and invaluable in setting the record straight (no pun intended) about how the concept of "sodomy" developed. Ever played "telephone", where one person tells another person something, it gets passed through several people, and comes out the other end of the chain completely different from how it started? The word "sodomy" is like that. This book tracks the process through time to reveal the lie. Fascinating read, and invaluable in setting the record straight (no pun intended) about how the concept of "sodomy" developed.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Mark Jordan's develops a genealogical analysis of sodomy in Christian theology. Drawing on the insights of Nietzsche and Foucault that challenge the objectivity, necessary and universality of the category of sodomy, Jordan shows how the concept has developed over time. The argumentative strategy of the book is thus to promote a kind of skepticism towards the essentialist conception of sodomy that often underlies popular debates about sexuality. Mark Jordan's develops a genealogical analysis of sodomy in Christian theology. Drawing on the insights of Nietzsche and Foucault that challenge the objectivity, necessary and universality of the category of sodomy, Jordan shows how the concept has developed over time. The argumentative strategy of the book is thus to promote a kind of skepticism towards the essentialist conception of sodomy that often underlies popular debates about sexuality.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bradford Robert

    This book is magnificent ("herrlich"). I can think of only one person I would trust (I expect there are others with whom I am not acquainted) to assess this book: Walter J. Ong, SJ, who died 2003. As I feel about any book worth a person's limited time on this earth to read, read the last chapter first. It will orient you to what comes before. And, curiously, even though the author says the last chapter may be relevant only to fellow Christians, I found it the clearest part of the whole book and This book is magnificent ("herrlich"). I can think of only one person I would trust (I expect there are others with whom I am not acquainted) to assess this book: Walter J. Ong, SJ, who died 2003. As I feel about any book worth a person's limited time on this earth to read, read the last chapter first. It will orient you to what comes before. And, curiously, even though the author says the last chapter may be relevant only to fellow Christians, I found it the clearest part of the whole book and I am agnostic. For myself, the main value of this book goes far beyond the author's enlightening exegesis of the contentious title word. I believe in the importance of hospitality. I personally read the Bible but disagree with conventional interpretations (item: I think Abraham was a criminal who, like Adolf Eichmann, just followed orders to murder Isaac). My main takeaways from this book concern the history of hypocrisy and repression of the spirits of so many individual living persons (not an aggregated "humanity") in Western Europe (and the rebellious British New World colonies) through the centuries and continuing today ("political correctness"). For my self, the climax(sic) or the book is on page 126, and it has nothing to do with same gender anything, but rather outs the Robert Borks and Amy Comey Barretts of this world. I am proud to learn that I am a sodomite, even though I have never copulated with another man (a Buddhist abbott did once try to seduce me, and I couldn't perform for him, but I remember his overture to me will kindness). To be safe, I have removed the dust cover from my copy of this book and replaced it with the dust cover of Carl Schorske's "Thinking with History", which is another great book. Tolle, lege!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Chloe

    Love a good mark jordan book. Love the way he engages seriously with all this medieval stuff on its own terms and attempts to them at the end direct people using methods rather than teachings. Everything for him must come out of love, and moral teaching as a science as described in the various texts he reads in this collection of connected essays.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Juan Carlos

    Una buena revisión del papel de la Iglesia en el discurso homófobo que se crea en la Edad Media. Echa por tierra la tesis de Boswell de una Iglesia tolerante hacia los homosexuales hasta el siglo XIII.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Valérie

    Interesting, and I learned a lot.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Peter Lambert

    This is a very interesting exploration of the invention of the Word Sodomy itself as well as the change of specific meaning over time in medieval Christianity. It reads like a dissertation, but has a lot of good and poignant information.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Sprinkle

  10. 4 out of 5

    Alex

  11. 4 out of 5

    Virginia Helen

  12. 5 out of 5

    Derrick

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tristan

  14. 4 out of 5

    Cherylann

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jayme Dale

  16. 4 out of 5

    Marty Jeane

  17. 4 out of 5

    Megan Rohrer

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sidsel Sander

  19. 4 out of 5

    Roger

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ibn Shamal

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ron Kastner

  22. 5 out of 5

    Roque Javier

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sara

  24. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kori

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lillian

  27. 5 out of 5

    Conrad

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lyle

  29. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

  30. 5 out of 5

    Micah Seppanen

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