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Number of Pages: 266
Vendor: T&T Clark
Publication Date: 2008
|Dimensions: 8.9 X 5.9 X 0.7 (inches)|
Does sexual difference matter for marriage? Are there good theological reasons why the two main characters in a marriage should be a male and a female, or is marriage a more flexible covenant, which any two people can keep? Creation and Covenant analyzes latent but under-examined beliefs about sexual difference in the theology about marriage which has been dominant for centuries in the Christian west. The book opens by studying patristic theologies of marriage, which rested on mostly implicit and often incompatible beliefs about sexual difference. However, Roberts argues that Augustine developed a coherent theology of sexual difference, according it a shifting significance from creation to eschaton. Roberts traces how Augustine's theology influenced and was developed by subsequent theologians, such as Bernard of Clairvaux, Luther, Barth, and John Paul II. Finally, Roberts engages today's debates about gay marriage. Before becoming an academic, Dr. Roberts was a journalist. On behalf of PBS television, he covered both the Lambeth Conference in England and the World Council of Churches in Zimbabwe. During those years, he was disappointed by both the liberal and conservative arguments on homosexuality. Left-wingers seemed more interested in privacy, autonomy, and experience than in theology, and right-wingers seemed to have lots of prohibitions but little good news. In the final chapters, this book tries to do better, inviting liberals to improve the standard of their arguments, and explaining what is beautiful and persuasive about the traditional case.
The question of the significance of sexual difference is at the heart of many divisions within contemporary society. It is producing hurtful tensions within all of the major Christian Churches....Roberts' contribution to the debate is forceful and scholarly, while always charitable. This powerfully argued case for the abiding importance of our sexual identity shows how rich can be the contribution of the Christian tradition to our society's present search to understand the meaning of our lives. Even those who do not accept all of the author's conclusions should be grateful for this beautifully written and profound book. It will help us all in our journey towards understanding who we are in Christ.
With this book, Roberts has tried to raise the standard of theological argument about same-sex unions, and in this he succeeds admirably.
Creation and Covenant is clear, concise, and written with great respect for both the Christian orthodoxy on this subject and its contemporary opponents. It wears its scholarship lightly and is a major, thoughtful contribution to our thinking on men, women, and the relationship between our created bodies and our redeemed lives.
Roberts makes the best argument I know for a traditional Christian perspective on gender difference and marriage. He is a compelling and fluid reader of scripture, of Karl Barth, and of our bodies. His opponents had better be at least this biblical, this clear, and this gracious with their interlocutors.
In Creation and Covenant, Christopher Roberts has done both church and society a great service.
Christopher Roberts explores with clarity and precision of argument... an important contribution to present debates... done with care but critical sharpness...I am very grateful for this book, for its positive argument which will make any reader think again. It is a first class work of strong theology.
Roberts's analysis of the theological status of sexual difference addresses arguments about same-sex-partnerships that range well beyond academic boundaries.
This book is. a vital contribution to our contemporary debates about same-sex relationships .well-written and quite accessible to a generally educated reader .a model of scholarship done with respect for tradition and yet with an honesty and charity that lead the author not to claim more than can be claimed regarding tradition ..
This is a brave and welcome publication .The book is written in an accessible and interesting style. Its tone is sensitive and balanced. The real strength of this study lies in the kind of questions it asks and in the author's commitment to finding out 'facts' before offering answers - it is an example of honest and valuable scholarship.