Innocent Ecstasy: How Christianity Gave America an Ethic of Sexual Pleasure

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Oxford University Press, 30. mai 1985 - 202 sider
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Though they disagree on virtually everything else, evangelicals and gays, Catholics and agnostics all agree that sex should be innocent and ecstatic. For most of Western history people have not had such expectations. Innocent Ecstasy shows how Christianity led Americans to hope for so much from sex. It is the first book to explain how the sexual revolution could have occurred in a nation so deeply imbued with Christian ethical values. Tracing our strange journey from the hands of Jonathan Edward's angry Puritan God to the loving embrace of Marabel Morgan's Total Woman, Gardella draws his surprising evidence from widely disparate sources, ranging from Catholic confessionals to methodist revival meetings, from evangelical romances to The Song of Bernadette. He reveals the sexual messages of mainstream Protestant theology and the religious aspirations of medical texts found at the Kinsey Institute for Sex Research. He sheds new light on such well-known figures as Henry Adams, Margaret Sanger, Aimee Semple McPherson, and Harriet Beecher Stowe, and introduces us to such fascinating, lesser-known characters as Dr. John Harvey Kellogg and Sylvester Graham, inventors of corn flakes and Graham crackers, who devised their products as anti-aphrodisiacs. While detailing the development of moral obligations to pursue sexual pleasure and to follow certain patterns of sexual practice, Gardella incidentally provides one of the few books to bring together the liberal Protestant, Roman Catholic, and evangelical perspectives on any aspect of American culture. Gardella attributes the American ethic of sexual pleasure to the eagerness of Americans to overcome original sin. This led to a quest for perfection, or complete freedom from guilt, combined with a quest for ecstatic experience. The result, he maintains, is an attitude that looks to sex for what was once expected from religion.

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Innhold

Introduction
3
Catholic Sensuality
9
Protestant Reactions
25
Medical Christianity
39
Medical Prophets
68
Evangelical Ecstasy
80
The Song of Bernadette
95
Redemption through Sex
130
Conclusion
150
Notes
163
Bibliography
187
Index
195
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Side 5 - Original Sin standeth not in the following of Adam, (as the Pelagians do vainly talk;) but it is the fault and corruption of the Nature of every man, that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam; whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the spirit; and therefore in every person born into this world, it deserveth God's wrath and damnation.
Side 117 - In any previous age, sex was strength. Neither art nor beauty was needed. Every one, even among Puritans, knew that neither Diana of the Ephesians nor any of the Oriental goddesses was worshipped for her beauty. She was goddess because of her force; she was the animated dynamo; she was reproduction — the greatest and most mysterious of all energies; all she needed was to be fecund.
Side 117 - Adams began to ponder, asking himself whether he knew of any American artist who had ever insisted on the power of sex, as every classic had always done; but he could think only of Walt Whitman; Bret Harte, as far as the magazines would let him venture; and one or two painters, for the flesh-tones.
Side 5 - ... yea, in them that are regenerated ; whereby the lust of the flesh, called in Greek phronema sarkos, which some do expound the wisdom, some sensuality, some the affection, some the desire of the flesh, is not subject to the Law of God. And although there is no condemnation for them that believe and are baptized, yet the Apostle doth confess that concupiscence and lust hath of itself the nature of sin.
Side 88 - Ye are not your own, ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
Side 95 - I sleep, but my heart waketh: It is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, "Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: For my head is filled with dew, And my locks with the drops of the night.
Side 167 - Sydney E. Ahlstrom, A Religious History of the American People (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1972); a more compact account is by Winthrop S.
Side 31 - Yes, she should ascend from glory to glory, — but his should be the hand that should lead her upward. He would lead her within the consecrated grate, — he would pronounce the awful words that should make it sacrilege for all .other men to approach her ; and yet through life he should be the guardian and director of her soul, the one being to whom she should render an obedience as unlimited as that which belongs to Christ alone. Such were the thoughts of this victorious hour, — which, alas !...
Side 101 - Chartres, as he knew by the record of work actually done and still before his eyes, was the highest energy ever known to man, the creator of four-fifths of his noblest art, exercising vastly more attraction over the human mind than all the steam-engines and dynamos ever dreamed of; and yet this energy was unknown to the American mind. An American Virgin would never dare command; an American Venus would never dare exist.
Side 111 - And his banner over me was love. Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples : For I am sick of love. His left hand is under my head, And his right hand doth embrace me.

Om forfatteren (1985)

Peter Gardella is Assistant Professor of Religion at Manhattanville College. He has also taught at Yale, Colgate, Indiana University, and Miami University (Oxford, Ohio).

Bibliografisk informasjon