This is a book which criticises the oppression of women in the Catholic Church and in Western society. It begins with ancient, pre-Christian taboos and the relatively healthy attitudes of the ancient Jews towards sexual matters, and presents evidence that the early Christians chose pagan models of sexual conduct, and not the Jewish perspective. The book argues that from the apostle Paul to Pope John Paul II, the Church has denigrated sex, degraded women, and championed a perverse ideal of celibacy which, according to the author, stems from a misinterpretation of Christ's words in Matthew 19:11. The book suggests that the Church has glorified Mary's virginity, implying that all normal conception and childbearing are somehow polluted, and has denied the fact that Jesus had siblings. The book shows that the Church has damned birth control, campaigned fiercely against masturbation, which is never mentioned much less forbidden, in the Bible, and has even banned the use of condoms by AIDS patients.
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Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German
A bestseller in Europe, this erudite, impassioned attack on the Catholic Church's hostility toward sexual pleasure, women and the body is sure to spark controversy. German Catholic theologian Ranke-Heinemann argues that the historic Jesus opposed biases against women and evinced a positive attitude toward marriage but celibate theologians misinterpreted his message as a call to renounce marriage. Theology became the business of bachelors; sex was equated with sin. Excoriating the Church Fathers for their contemptuous attitude toward women, the author reviews the Church's positions on infanticide and abortion (often said to be the same), its revulsion for homosexuality and its "embittered struggle" against contraception. The Virgin Birth, she contends, is a New Testament metaphor, not a historical event. For expressing this opinion, she lost her ecclesiastical license to teach at a German university in 1987. Her scholarly polemic in Heinegg's flowing translation is crammed with absorbing sexual and religious lore.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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