Item description for Marriage in the Western Church: The Christianization of Marriage During The Patristic and Early Medieval Periods (Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae, V. 24) by Reynolds...
Author Philip Reynolds examines how marriage acquired a specifically Christian identity in the Latin West during the first millennium after Christ. Beginning with Jesus, everything the Christians did, including getting married, began a process of differentiation. Christians did not invent marriage, but they did redefine it, thereby hoping to solve the inherent problem of reconciling secular, carnal sexual relations with a holy and sanctified state of being, one that would ultimately become a sacrament. This twofold aspect of the Christian marriage was a formative principle throughout the Middle Ages and beyond. Reynolds offers three themes for theological reflection and interpretation: Jesus' teaching, Paul's Letter to the Ephesians, and Paul's justification of marriage as a solution to the problem of sexual desire. This book begins with the examination of Roman and Germanic law, followed by the turning from civil to ecclesiastical law. Then Reynolds presents Augustine's theology of marriage, and finally, the nuptial process. Reynolds' insights into the Christainization of marriage makes this a valuable book at both the scholarly and the practical level. This publication has also been published in hardback, please click here for details.
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Studio: Brill Academic Publishers
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9" Width: 5.52" Height: 1.3" Weight: 1.55 lbs.
Release Date Dec 1, 2001
Publisher Brill Academic Publishers
ISBN 0391041088 ISBN13 9780391041080
Availability 0 units.
More About Reynolds
Philip Lyndon Reynolds is Director of the Aquinas Center of Theology at Emory University and is an Assistant Professor of Historical Theology at Candler School of Theology.
Reviews - What do customers think about Marriage in the Western Church: The Christianization of Marriage During The Patristic and Early Medieval Periods (Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae, V. 24)?
Comprehensive--answers all your questions Jun 26, 2007
Marriage is a hot topic right now. And there can be no doubt that marriage is changing--gay marriage, divorce, living together, and plunging fertility rates are all indications of the sweeping changes.
It's a good time to consider how western society's beliefs about marriage grew. This book will tell you.
The ancient world viewed marriage as existing "for the sake of the procreation and education of children" (p 15). Augustus, alarmed when the elite procreation rate plunged, taxed the unmarried, while giving a raft of goodies to those who had more than three legitimate children.
Roman girls were married young, frequently before menses. Divorce was easy, adultery was viewed as morally indifferent for men, and abortion and infanticide common except among Jews.
And then came Christianity. Christian regarded marriage as holy state by which two people could grow together toward God. Adultery? "The Latin Fathers...categorically rejected the double standard" (p 122) with regard to adultery, an extraordinary action in the ancient world. Some bishops were so rigorous they excommunicated adulterers, male or female.
Christianity took marriage far more seriously than any of the ancient civilizations. Divorce was forbidden and so was remarriage. "Not only does a man who remarries after divorcing his wife commit adultery, Ambrose argues, but his crime is all the more serious because he has sought legal justification for his sin" (p 126). Tertullian even felt that the widows ought not to remarry.
Christianity regarded marriage as a profound and important union. A man and woman entered into a covenant bond in marriage, not a relationship. God had invented marriage for the good of both the man and the woman. "Augustine's theory of the sacrament of marriage is the premise that marriage is indissoluble in the Church" (p 281). Marriage was regarded as honorable because it was a figure or type of Christ's union with the Church. Temporal marriage was a little version of the great union.
There is a long and interesting chapter on the Matthean exception and the whole "porneia" problem, as well as a discussion of consummation and how it came to be regarded as integral to marriage. Status issues and questions about cousins marrying are also included.
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