Issues of sexuality and gender are hotly contested in both religious communities and national cultures around the world. In the social sciences, religious traditions are often depicted as inherently conservative or even reactionary in their commitments to powerful patriarchal and pronatalist sexual norms and gender categories. In illuminating the practices of religious traditions in various cultures, these essays expose the diversity of religious rituals and mythologies pertaining to sexuality. In the process the contributors challenge conventional notions of what is normative in our sexual lives.
Stephen Ellingson is assistant professor of sociology of religion and Director of the Lilly Program on Congregational Ministry at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary. He is co-author of Organizational Ethics in Health Care. M. Christian Green, formerly of the Park Ridge Center for the Study of Health, Faith, and Ethics, is a researcher at the Religion, Culture, and Family Project at the University of Chicago Divinity School.
"Ellingson's introduction to this volume asserts that "religion" is important "as a system of faith and ethics." Rooted in the Abrahamic traditions, such definitions are not necessarily pertinent to a "cross-cultural perspective" and are under renegotiation on the social sciences and humanities today. The eight distinguished senior scholars whose work Ellingson and Green have brought together write of religions and sexualities...Religion and Sexuality in Cross-cultural Perspective contains far more advanced and stimulating thinking-like the Comaroffs'-on both religions and embodiment... Journal of Anthropological Research 2003 ."