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Title: Sex and the City (of God) : an overview of the writings of Augustine on sex and sexuality and how they relate to the development of his understanding and teaching on marriage
Author: Wallace, Alister
ISNI:       0000 0004 6060 1107
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2016
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Julian of Eclanum suggested that Augustine's dark and foreboding outlook on sex was, partly, derived from his retrospective guilt over his youthful excesses, described in Confessiones. This work tests this thesis and suggests other significant influences. Chapter 1 examines Augustine's sexual history and finds evidence to support Julian's claim. However, chapter 2 examines the ecclesiastical context Augustine entered after his conversion 'under the fig tree'. The Church's teaching regarding sex, even within marriage, meant that Augustine, with his 'tainted past' found plenty of material with which to galvanise his shame. Unsurprisingly, Augustine's teaching on sex resonates with his predecessors and peers. Chapter 3 examines the influences of Augustine's Manichaean past. Avoiding procreation as a 'Manichaean Hearer' would inevitably have led to him practicing contraception in various forms. Drawing from historic abjurations and other ancient commentators on the sexual norms of the Manichees, I suggest that Augustine's teaching on unnatural sexual acts can be traced to this period of his life rather than his youth. Chapter 4 examines the Jovinian controversy where Augustine offers his 'three goods of marriage' (where sex is for procreation only) as a compromise between the liberal Jovinian and the anti-marital Jerome. Chapter 5 examines Augustine's reaction to the Pelagian suggestion that God intended sexual pleasure within marriage as part of His good creation. Augustine struggles to find pleasure in general, and sex in particular, as a God ordained good. The City of God (chapter 6) speculates on how procreation could have been possible before the Fall without sexual concupiscence or pleasure. Chapter 7 examines his exegeticaf methods and selectivity of scripture to negate the possibility of sexual pleasure being part of God's intention for marriage. Overall, the residual guilt of Augustine's sex life and Church politics have combined to bequeath a dark legacy on all sexuality,
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available