By Elaine Pagels
The disgust felt by way of early Christians for the flesh was once a thorough departure from either pagan and Jewish sexual attitudes. in truth, as Princeton professor Pagels (The Gnostic Gospels) demonstrates, the ascetic move in Christianity met with nice resistance within the first 4 centuries A.D.
Sex grew to become absolutely tainted, inextricably associated with sin lower than the lessons of Augustine. This bothered sinner invoked Adam and Eve to justify his idiosyncratic view of humanity as completely scarred by way of the autumn. rather than being disregarded as marginal, Augustine's grim outlook took carry, in line with Pagels, since it used to be politically expedient. Now that Christianity had develop into the imperial faith, Rome sought after its imperfect topics to obey a powerful Christian kingdom. This hugely provocative background hyperlinks the spiritual roots of Western sexual attitudes to women's inferior prestige in the course of the centuries.
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Extra info for Adam, Eve, and the Serpent: Sex and Politics in Early Christianity
Someone casually mentioned a vibrator store in the neighborhood, but to my disappointment no one suggested we visit. I snuck away from the group that day and crossed the threshold of Good Vibrations for the first time. I, like so many others before and after, walked through the door, stopped, and just gazed, with equal parts wonder, embarrassment, and terror. I headed straight for the bookshelves, picked up a book of illustrations of women’s genitals, and gasped. I picked up a magazine full of images of lesbians having sex and gasped again.
That inhibited me in ways I am only now coming to grips with. It hurt me in a very deep, well-hidden way, and robbed me of a lot of self-esteem that I deserved to enjoy. Despite the fact that we’re well into the twenty-first century, and decades have passed since the feminist women’s health movement inspired a generation of women to switch on the lights, haul out the hand mirrors, and take a long, loving look between their legs, vulva shame remains rampant. And certain unscrupulous medical professionals are more than willing to take advantage of this sad state of affairs by offering surgery to “aesthetically modify” women’s genitalia.
Imagine getting a thank-you letter from a woman who had never had an orgasm before purchasing her vibrator. Or the woman who feared that the trauma from a violent rape might permanently interfere with her ability to feel sensations during sex, but who shared sex toys with her husband as a way of overcoming her fear and inhibition. ” Imagine a friendly conversation between two lesbians helping a nervous husband decide which dildo to buy his wife. Or our sympathy when a self-described “sex-starving female from a forgotten land” wrote us from Iran asking if we could smuggle some lesbian magazines to her.
Adam, Eve, and the Serpent: Sex and Politics in Early Christianity by Elaine Pagels