Christianity and Sexuality in the Early Modern World is the first global survey of such for the early modern period. Merry Wiesner-Hanks assesses the role of personal faith and the church itself in the control and expression of all aspects of sexuality. The book ranges over developments within Europe and beyond to the European colonies including Brazil, Mexico, South Africa and Goa, which were establishing themselves around the world. Christian missionaries and rituals and structures accompanied all of the imperial powers and the control of the sexuality of both indigenous peoples and colonists was an essential part of policy.
The book is introduced with a clear, original and engaging account of the central concepts in the study of sexuality in Christianity, such as shame, sin, the body, marriage and gender. Drawing on diverse evidence including literary, medical and historical the following sections chart changes in Western Christianity in the Late Middle Ages, Protestantism and Catholicism in Europe, Orthodoxy in Eastern Europe and Russia, and finally the Spanish, Portuguese, English and Dutch Colonies. Merry Wiesner-Hanks exciting book covers both the ideas and effects in each period.
Christianity and Sexuality in the early Modern World includes discursive bibliographies which discuss major books and articles at the end of each chapter.
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Merry Wiesner-Hanks is Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and author of Women and Gender in Early Modern Europe (1994).Review:
Wiesner-Hanks has accomplished a remarkable task: she has written a highly informative and readable, even enjoyable textbook on sexuality in the early modern world.--Peter Sigal, California State University.
The information and coverage in this book reveal the learnedness of its author and provide both teachers and studnets with an indispensable introductory perspective on early modern European Christain colonial relations and their effects in the domain of sexuality. This text will prove enormously valuable in the classroom.--Carla Freccero, University of California.
One of the book's most valuable features is a section on Selected Further Reading following each chapter. Here the English language secondary literature is listed, organized, and commented upon. Wiesner-Hanks's obvious expertise in this vast literature, her grasp of the complexity of the subject and her sensitivity to the danger of generalizations are laudable.
–Religious Studies Review
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