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    The Making of Fornication: Eros, Ethics, and Political Reform in Greek Philosophy and Early Christianity (Hellenistic Culture and Society) (Hardback) By (author) Kathy L. Gaca

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    DescriptionThis provocative work provides a radical reassessment of the emergence and nature of Christian sexual morality, the dominant moral paradigm in Western society since late antiquity. While many scholars, including Michel Foucault, have found the basis of early Christian sexual restrictions in Greek ethics and political philosophy, Kathy L. Gaca demonstrates on compelling new grounds that it is misguided to regard Greek ethics and political theory--with their proposed reforms of eroticism, the family, and civic order--as the foundation of Christian sexual austerity. Rather, in this thoroughly informed and wide-ranging study, Gaca shows that early Christian goals to eradicate fornication were derived from the sexual rules and poetic norms of the Septuagint, or Greek Bible, and that early Christian writers adapted these rules and norms in ways that reveal fascinating insights into the distinctive and largely non-philosophical character of Christian sexual morality. Writing with an authoritative command of both Greek philosophy and early Christian writings, Gaca investigates Plato, the Stoics, the Pythagoreans, Philo of Alexandria, the apostle Paul, and the patristic Christians Clement of Alexandria, Tatian, and Epiphanes, freshly elucidating their ideas on sexual reform with precision, depth, and originality. Early Christian writers, she demonstrates, transformed all that they borrowed from Greek ethics and political philosophy to launch innovative programs against fornication that were inimical to Greek cultural mores, popular and philosophical alike. The Septuagint's mandate to worship the Lord alone among all gods led to a Christian program to revolutionize Gentile sexual practices, only for early Christians to find this virtually impossible to carry out without going to extremes of sexual renunciation. Knowledgeable and wide-ranging, this work of intellectual history and ethics cogently demonstrates why early Christian sexual restrictions took such repressive ascetic forms, and casts sobering light on what Christian sexual morality has meant for religious pluralism in Western culture, especially among women as its bearers.


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  • Full bibliographic data for The Making of Fornication

    Title
    The Making of Fornication
    Subtitle
    Eros, Ethics, and Political Reform in Greek Philosophy and Early Christianity
    Authors and contributors
    By (author) Kathy L. Gaca
    Physical properties
    Format: Hardback
    Number of pages: 376
    Width: 150 mm
    Height: 226 mm
    Thickness: 33 mm
    Weight: 680 g
    Language
    English
    ISBN
    ISBN 13: 9780520235991
    ISBN 10: 0520235991
    Classifications

    B&T Book Type: NF
    BIC E4L: REL
    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: T6.4
    BISAC Merchandising Theme: TP028
    Ingram Theme: RELI/CHRIST
    Warengruppen-Systematik des deutschen Buchhandels: 15440
    B&T General Subject: 690
    BIC subject category V2: JFCX, HPQ, HRCM, HRCC1
    BIC geographical qualifier V2: 1QDAG
    Ingram Theme: CHRN/ANCIEN, CULT/GREECE
    BISAC V2.8: REL072000, REL015000
    Ingram Subject Code: TH
    Libri: I-TH
    BISAC V2.8: PHI002000
    Ingram Theme: CULT/MEDITR
    LC subject heading: ,
    B&T Merchandise Category: UP
    BISAC V2.8: HIS002010
    ECPA Christian Book Category: THLTHOETH, GNRRSTSSC
    BISAC V2.8: REL067070
    ECPA Christian Book Category: GNRGSEPHY
    BIC subject category V2: 1QDAG
    BISAC V2.8: REL105000
    DC21: 241.66
    LC subject heading: , , ,
    DC22: 241.6609015
    LC classification: 2002012604
    LC subject heading: , ,
    DC22: 241/.66/09015
    LC classification: BT708 .G33 2003
    Thema V1.0: QDTQ, QRM, QRVG, QRAX, JBCC9
    Thema geographical qualifier V1.0: 1QBAG
    Edition statement
    New ed.
    Publisher
    University of California Press
    Imprint name
    University of California Press
    Publication date
    04 August 2003
    Publication City/Country
    Berkerley
    Author Information
    Kathy L. Gaca is Associate Professor of Classical Studies at Vanderbilt University.
    Review quote
    "This is an extensive study of the theorizing about sexual norms and proprieties of certain major Greek philosophical traditions on the one hand (Platonism, Stoicism, Pythagoreanism), and various key figures of the Judeo-Christian tradition on the other (Philo of Alexandria, Paul, Tatian, Clement, Epiphanes), in order to demonstrate what the author terms their 'discontinuity' ....[Gaca] examines the history of these concepts in the Hellenic and the Judeo-Christian traditions more clearly and comprehensively than I have seen it done elsewhere. The book is of considerable importance in understanding the roots of the early Christian attitude to sexuality--something that still has repercussions today."
    Back cover copy
    "This is an extensive study of the theorizing about sexual norms and proprieties of certain major Greek philosophical traditions on the one hand (Platonism, Stoicism, Pythagoreanism), and various key figures of the Judeo-Christian tradition on the other (Philo of Alexandria, Paul, Tatian, Clement, Epiphanes), in order to demonstrate what the author terms their 'discontinuity.'. . . [Gaca] examines the history of these concepts in the Hellenic and the Judeo-Christian traditions more clearly and comprehensively than I have seen it done elsewhere. The book is of considerable importance in understanding the roots of the early Christian attitude to sexuality--something that still has repercussions today."--John Dillon, Trinity College Dublin"This book is a gold mine of information for anyone interested in the dynamics of sexual morality in Western culture. General readers, students, and scholars will find surprising data about sexual views, theories, practices, and politics in ancient Greek and Roman society, Hellenistic Judaism and philosophy, and early and patristic Christianity. Gaca's dynamic prose is exciting to read. Her detailed footnotes are a virtual encyclopedia of sexual morality in Western culture."--Vernon K. Robbins, Winship Distinguished Research Professor of Religion, Emory University
    Flap copy
    "This is an extensive study of the theorizing about sexual norms and proprieties of certain major Greek philosophical traditions on the one hand (Platonism, Stoicism, Pythagoreanism), and various key figures of the Judeo-Christian tradition on the other (Philo of Alexandria, Paul, Tatian, Clement, Epiphanes), in order to demonstrate what the author terms their 'discontinuity.'... [Gaca] examines the history of these concepts in the Hellenic and the Judeo-Christian traditions more clearly and comprehensively than I have seen it done elsewhere. The book is of considerable importance in understanding the roots of the early Christian attitude to sexuality--something that still has repercussions today."--John Dillon, Trinity College Dublin "This book is a gold mine of information for anyone interested in the dynamics of sexual morality in Western culture. General readers, students, and scholars will find surprising data about sexual views, theories, practices, and politics in ancient Greek and Roman society, Hellenistic Judaism and philosophy, and early and patristic Christianity. Gaca's dynamic prose is exciting to read. Her detailed footnotes are a virtual encyclopedia of sexual morality in Western culture."--Vernon K. Robbins, Winship Distinguished Research Professor of Religion, Emory University
    Table of contents
    Acknowledgments Abbreviations 1. Introduction: Ancient Greek Sexual Blueprints for Social Order Part I. Greek Philosophical Sexual Reforms 2. Desire's Hunger and Plato the Regulator 3. Crafting Eros through the Stoic Logos of Nature 4. The Reproductive Technology of the Pythagoreans Part II. Greek Biblical Sexual Rules and Their Reworking by Paul and Philo 5. Rival Plans for God's Sexual Program in the Pentateuch and Paul 6. From the Prophets to Paul: Converting Whore Culture into the Lord's Veiled Bride 7. Philo's Reproductive City of God Part III. Patristic Transformations of the Philosophical, Pauline, and Philonic Rules 8. Driving Aphrodite from the World: Tatian and His Encratite Argument 9. Prophylactic Grace in Clement's Emergent Church Sexual Ethic 10. The Fornicating Justice of Epiphanes 11. Conclusion: The Demise of Greek Eros and Reproduction Bibliography Index