Christianity and Sexuality in the Early Modern World surveys the ways in which people from the time of Luther and Columbus to that of Thomas Jefferson used Christian ideas and institutions to regulate and shape sexual norms and conduct, and examines the impact of their efforts.
Global in scope and geographic in organization, the book contains chapters on Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa and Asia, and North America. It explores key topics, including marriage and divorce, fornication and illegitimacy, clerical sexuality, same-sex relations, witchcraft and love magic, moral crimes, and inter-racial relationships. The book sets its findings within the context of many historical fields, including the history of gender and sexuality, and of colonialism and race.
Each chapter in this third edition has been updated to reflect new scholarship, particularly on the actual lived experience of people around the world. This has resulted in expanded coverage of nearly every issue, including notions of the body and of honor, gendered religious symbols, religious and racial intermarriage, sexual and gender fluidity, the process of conversion, the interweaving of racial identity and religious ideologies, and the role of Indigenous and enslaved people in shaping Christian traditions and practices. It is ideal for students of the history of sexuality, early modern Christianity, and early modern gender.
Praise for previous editions
"Wiesner-Hanks’ study of Christianity and sexuality represents a unique, global approach organized geographically…"
The Sixteenth Century Journal
"The author does a superb job dealing with a vast array of literature, and she adeptly avoids the obvious trap of developing a Eurocentric analysis. In fact, Wiesner-Hanks shows a great ability to read and analyse the African, Asian, Latin American, and North American situations."
American Historical Review
"Merry Wiesner-Hanks has offered a fully updated second edition of her groundbreaking book on Christianity and sexuality, and she carefully analyzes areas outside Europe in the colonial world… Hundreds of authors inform this study, which she concludes with several pages of her own conclusions. She stresses, for example, the centrality of sex in the formation and preservation of boundaries, an issue pertinent in the modern world as well. As she points out, norms and lived reality are still in tension today."
Donald J. Dietrich, The European Legacy: Toward New Paradigms
Introduction; 1. Christianity to 1500; 2. Protestant Europe; 3. Catholic and Orthodox Europe; 4. Latin America and the Caribbean; 5. Africa and Asia; 6. North America; 7. Conclusions