How did a religion fin ended on the loosening of earthly ties come to extol the virtues of the traditional family? In this richly-textured history ofthe relationship between Christianity and the family, Rosemary Radford Ruether traces their development to reveal the misconceptions at the heart of the 'family values' debate. Beginning with the Jewish and Roman families of antiquity, Ruether shows that the anti-family traditions of the Gospels and early Christianity can be understood as a critique of oppressive forms of family. But Christianity later defined and relied upon family life as it grew into a stable social force. Taking us to the present, Ruether examines how contemporary claims on the family - from same-sex marriage to feminism to the fragmentation of Christianity - shape the way Christians respond to and resist new definitions of private life. Finally, she argues convincingly for a way in which religion can accommodate the needs of believers without interference from the state, and how Christianity - always fluid and ever-evolving can satisfy its role to its adherents without ompromising its importance as a source of spiritual resilience. Rosemary Radford Ruether, one of the world's leading feminist theologians, is the author of over thirty books, and was the Georgia - Harkness Professor of Applied Theology at Garrett-Evangelical Seminary.