Catalogue


From shame to sin [electronic resource] : the Christian transformation of sexual morality in late antiquity /
Kyle Harper.
imprint
Cambridge, Massachusetts : Harvard University Press, 2013.
description
304 pages ; 24 cm
ISBN
9780674072770 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
More Details
imprint
Cambridge, Massachusetts : Harvard University Press, 2013.
isbn
9780674072770 (alk. paper)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
contents note
Introduction: From city to cosmos -- The moralities of sex in the Roman Empire -- The will and the world in early Christian sexuality -- Church, society, and sex in the age of triumph -- Revolutionizing romance in the late classical world -- Epilogue: Sex and the twilight of antiquity.
catalogue key
9871604
 
Includes bibliographical references (pages 259-298) and index.
A Look Inside
Reviews
Review Quotes
Harper puts together materials in ways that highlight some of the important changes in sexual morality that Christianity wrought. In particular, he challenges the tendency set in motion by Veyne, Foucault, and followers that emphasized the similarities between the 'restraint' and 'moderation' counseled by Roman-era philosophers ('gloomy Stoics') and literary men, and the more drastic renunciation preached by (some) Christians.
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Summaries
Main Description
When Rome was at its height, an emperor's male beloved, victim of an untimely death, would be worshipped around the empire as a god. In this same society, the routine sexual exploitation of poor and enslaved women was abetted by public institutions. Four centuries later, a Roman emperor commanded the mutilation of men caught in same-sex affairs, even as he affirmed the moral dignity of women without any civic claim to honor. The gradual transformation of the Roman world from polytheistic to Christian marks one of the most sweeping ideological changes of premodern history. At the center of it all was sex. Exploring sources in literature, philosophy, and art, Kyle Harper examines the rise of Christianity as a turning point in the history of sexuality and helps us see how the roots of modern sexuality are grounded in an ancient religious revolution. While Roman sexual culture was frankly and freely erotic, it was not completely unmoored from constraint. Offending against sexual morality was cause for shame, experienced through social condemnation. The rise of Christianity fundamentally changed the ethics of sexual behavior. In matters of morality, divine judgment transcended that of mere mortals, and shame'a social concept'gave way to the theological notion of sin. This transformed understanding led to Christianity's explicit prohibitions of homosexuality, extramarital love, and prostitution. Most profound, however, was the emergence of the idea of free will in Christian dogma, which made all human action, including sexual behavior, accountable to the spiritual, not the physical, world.
Main Description
When Rome was at its height, an emperor's male beloved, victim of an untimely death, would be worshipped around the empire as a god. In this same society, the routine sexual exploitation of poor and enslaved women was abetted by public institutions. Four centuries later, a Roman emperor commanded the mutilation of men caught in same-sex affairs, even as he affirmed the moral dignity of women without any civic claim to honor. The gradual transformation of the Roman world from polytheistic to Christian marks one of the most sweeping ideological changes of premodern history. At the center of it all was sex. Exploring sources in literature, philosophy, and art, Kyle Harper examines the rise of Christianity as a turning point in the history of sexuality and helps us see how the roots of modern sexuality are grounded in an ancient religious revolution. While Roman sexual culture was frankly and freely erotic, it was not completely unmoored from constraint. Offending against sexual morality was cause for shame, experienced through social condemnation. The rise of Christianity fundamentally changed the ethics of sexual behavior. In matters of morality, divine judgment transcended that of mere mortals, and shame-a social concept-gave way to the theological notion of sin. This transformed understanding led to Christianity's explicit prohibitions of homosexuality, extramarital love, and prostitution. Most profound, however, was the emergence of the idea of free will in Christian dogma, which made all human action, including sexual behavior, accountable to the spiritual, not the physical, world.
Table of Contents
Introduction: From City to Cosmosp. 1
The Moralities of Sex in the Roman Empirep. 19
The Will and the World in Early Christian Sexualityp. 80
Church, Society, and Sex in the Age of Triumphp. 134
Revolutionizing Romance in the Late Classical Worldp. 191
Conclusion: Sex and the Twilight of Antiquityp. 237
Abbreviationsp. 247
Notesp. 259
Acknowledgmentsp. 299
Indexp. 301
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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