Christian Attitudes to Marriage
From Ancient Times to the Third Millennium
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Christian Attitudes to Marriage: From Ancient Times to the Third Millennium is a thorough exposition on the subject of marriage; looking at the widest range of sources of the Christian atttitude, including Near Eastern and Classical as well as Biblical. The ancient world struggled with the problem of marriage relationships, divorce, and support for women, in ways that largely determine the shape of Christian ethos.
In Christian Attitudes to Marriage, Bishop Peter Coleman brings together the separate disciplines of the Old Testament, the New Testament and social history, creating a unique resource for students and academics with an interest in Christianity and sociology, as well as historical Christianity.
"This is an extremely thorough, but clear and readable, history of attitudes to marriage from Israelite times to our own. Whilst showing the ever-changing cultural contexts, it points up some general principles, which are as valid today as ever. Marriage may be going through a mutation but, this book suggests, we still have the capacity to love each other, to share a common life and to provide for the next generation. This historical perspective will be of very great value to anyone thinking seriously about the institution of marriage in today's world of changing sexual mores." -- Rt Revd Richard Harries, Bishop of Oxford
"The author was Anglican bishop of Crediton in England and lecturer in Christian Ethics at London, Bristol, and Exeter universities. This survey provides a broad but cogent overview of the historical and theological context for the construction of the Christian marriage ethos. (...)The format is well-suited as a textbook for undergraduate or theology students. Thanks to the editor who completed the manuscript, there is an index of names and of subjects(...) Each chapter considers both general thematic developments and the contribution of individual theologians and authors, and provides some quite extensive citations from primary sources. Monica Sandor, Brussels, INTAMS review II 2005.
"Throughout one feels in good hands, guided by a learned and unprejudiced scholar who is not grinding an axe but aware of complexity and fair to both rigorist and liberal interpretations." Helen Oppenheimer, Jersey, C.I., Theology, July/August 2005.
"Coleman was keen to portray the lengthy inheritance of ideas that informed Christian attitudes about marriage, and he demonstrates convincingly that over history each faith, nation or community has tended to adapt or modify the ideas of its predecessors. (...)Throughout the book, Coleman is interested in how the views of key thinkers were influenced by their own experiences of marriage and family life. (...)The selection of quotations from these key thinkers is thoughtful, and thanks to the indices compiled by Langford, it will be possible for this book to be of use in a wide range of future projects." Elizabeth Foyster, Clare College, Cambridge, Ecclesiastical History, Vol.57/2 April 2006.
"While its specific goal is to be helpful in contemporary debates in "England, with special emphasis on the Church of England experience" (203), the book's wealth of references makes it useful for those of us living outside that geography and denomination. In fact, the book has two great strengths: first, its breadth, in that it includes Christian and other religious sources on marriage from 3000 B.C.E up to some very recent Anglican study texts on homosexuality; and, second, its desire to be irenic, in that it emphasizes "convergence on moral issues ...[and] at least some overlap between what a Christian sees marriage to be all about and what civil society sees it to be". William McDonough, College of St Catherine, Saint Paul Minnesota, Worship, November 2006, Vol.80, N°6.
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