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Body and Society: Men, Women, and Sexual Renunciation in Early Christianity
Winner of the 1989 Phi Beta Kappa Society's Ralph Waldo Emerson Award.
Synopses & Reviews
In his monumental book Peter Brown addresses the practice of permanent sexual renunciation--continence, celibacy, and life-long virginity--that developed in Christian circles from the first to the fifth centuries A.D. Brown vividly describes the early Christians and their strange, disturbing preoccupations. He follows in detail the reflection and controversy these notions generated among Christian writers. Among the topics covered are marriage and sexuality in the Roman world, Judaism and the early church, Origen and the tradition of spiritual guidance, sexuality in the desert fathers and Augustine and sexuality. "The Body and Society" is a significant study on sexuality and the family in the ancient world by a renowned scholar. Besides being of great interest to readers in ancient history and early church history, and to classicists and medievalists, it will engage readers concerned with women's studies and the history of sexuality.
"The reader of Peter Brown's work is always uncertain which to admire most, the grace and clarity, the scope and erudition, or the ability to bring diverse and complex units into a meaningful whole. These merits are all fully on display in The Body and Society." New York Times Book Review
"A profound sociological and intellectual study... Brown has written a magisterial survey, a lasting work of scholarship." The New York Review of Books
About the Author
Peter Brown, formerly professor of Classics and History at the University of California, Berkley, is now Rollins Professor in the Department of History at Princeton University. His previous books include Augustine of Hippo, The World of Late Antiquity, The Making of Late Antiquity, The Cult of The Saints, Religion and Society in the Age of Saint Augustine, and Society and the Holy in Late Antiquity.
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