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This long-awaited book by one of American Christianity's foremost ethicists proposes a framework for sexual ethics whereby justice is the criterion for all loving, including love that is related to sexual activity and relationships. It begins with historical and cross-cultural explorations, then addresses the large questions of embodiment, gender, and sexuality, and finall This long-awaited book by one of American Christianity's foremost ethicists proposes a framework for sexual ethics whereby justice is the criterion for all loving, including love that is related to sexual activity and relationships. It begins with historical and cross-cultural explorations, then addresses the large questions of embodiment, gender, and sexuality, and finally delineates the justice framework for sexual ethics. Though" Just Love"'s particular focus is Christian sexual ethics, Farley's framework is broad enough to have relevance for multiple traditions. Also covered are specific issues in sexual ethics, including same-sex relationships, marriage and family, divorce and second marriage, celibacy, and sex and its negativities.


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This long-awaited book by one of American Christianity's foremost ethicists proposes a framework for sexual ethics whereby justice is the criterion for all loving, including love that is related to sexual activity and relationships. It begins with historical and cross-cultural explorations, then addresses the large questions of embodiment, gender, and sexuality, and finall This long-awaited book by one of American Christianity's foremost ethicists proposes a framework for sexual ethics whereby justice is the criterion for all loving, including love that is related to sexual activity and relationships. It begins with historical and cross-cultural explorations, then addresses the large questions of embodiment, gender, and sexuality, and finally delineates the justice framework for sexual ethics. Though" Just Love"'s particular focus is Christian sexual ethics, Farley's framework is broad enough to have relevance for multiple traditions. Also covered are specific issues in sexual ethics, including same-sex relationships, marriage and family, divorce and second marriage, celibacy, and sex and its negativities.

30 review for Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics

  1. 5 out of 5

    Amicizia

    In March 2012 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith reported the presence of doctrinal errors in this book, where Sr. Farley did not present a correct understanding of Church teaching, and publication of her errors have caused confusion among the faithful. The report can be read here. For example: Sr. Farley writes: "Masturbation… usually does not raise any moral questions at all. … It is surely the case that many women… have found great good in self-pleasuring – perhaps especially in th In March 2012 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith reported the presence of doctrinal errors in this book, where Sr. Farley did not present a correct understanding of Church teaching, and publication of her errors have caused confusion among the faithful. The report can be read here. For example: Sr. Farley writes: "Masturbation… usually does not raise any moral questions at all. … It is surely the case that many women… have found great good in self-pleasuring – perhaps especially in the discovery of their own possibilities for pleasure – something many had not experienced or even known about in their ordinary sexual relations with husbands or lovers. In this way, it could be said that masturbation actually serves relationships rather than hindering them. My final observation is, then, that the norms of justice as I have presented them would seem to apply to the choice of sexual self-pleasuring only insofar as this activity may help or harm, only insofar as it supports or limits, well-being and liberty of spirit. This remains largely an empirical question, not a moral one" (p. 236). Deliberate use of sexual faculties outside marriage is contrary to its purpose. Sr. Farley's statement is in direct contradiction to Church teaching. Several other errors were found in Sr. Farley's work on the matter of marriage itself.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Katey

    Margaret Farley has dedicated her life to this work, and this book is a masterpiece. It is accessible and offers a paradigm of justice towards which we all should strive in every relationship, sexual or platonic. And, she certainly practices what she teaches in this book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    M Christopher

    With great care and lucidity, Margaret Farley accomplishes in this book just what the subtitle suggests -- she establishes a framework for Christian sexual ethics. She spends very little of the book (only the last chapter) doing much in the way of addressing specific issues in sexual ethics but the book is an important and needed step in setting the ground rules for conversation on a host of topics. Sr. Margaret (R.S.M.) begins with a survey of sexual ethics from a number of historical and cultur With great care and lucidity, Margaret Farley accomplishes in this book just what the subtitle suggests -- she establishes a framework for Christian sexual ethics. She spends very little of the book (only the last chapter) doing much in the way of addressing specific issues in sexual ethics but the book is an important and needed step in setting the ground rules for conversation on a host of topics. Sr. Margaret (R.S.M.) begins with a survey of sexual ethics from a number of historical and cultural milieus and considers how we might understand sex and gender from cross-cultural platforms. It is an impressive foundation for the book, well-thought out and clearly expressed. She then moves to understandings of love, again with historical referent and special attention to the teachings of Jewish and Christian scriptures. The meat of the book, in my opinion, is her work on the interplay between justice and love, on the one hand, and justice and sex on the other. Here is where she pulls all of the disparate threads she has presented together in beginning to create that coherent framework. This book will not please everyone. Conservatives in the Abrahamic religions will find much to argue with. It is, however, an honest attempt to deal with one of the hottest topics in today's ethics and one which does so with theological integrity. Highly recommended.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Dnicebear

    It's been a while since I've read a theology or ethics book, and I got inspired to read this when the pope recently censored Ms Farley and her writing, and then a former professor of mine made a comment about her on Facebook. Turns out it's a fabulous book, and I'm soaking up the gently written perspectives. Today I read and re-read the paragraph about "the biblical witness" that "claims to present truths that will heal us, make us whole; that will free us, not enslave us to what violates our ver It's been a while since I've read a theology or ethics book, and I got inspired to read this when the pope recently censored Ms Farley and her writing, and then a former professor of mine made a comment about her on Facebook. Turns out it's a fabulous book, and I'm soaking up the gently written perspectives. Today I read and re-read the paragraph about "the biblical witness" that "claims to present truths that will heal us, make us whole; that will free us, not enslave us to what violates our very sense of truth and justice. Its appeal to us is, in the words of the philosopher Paul Ricoeur, a 'nonviolent appeal.' As a revelation of truth, it asks for something less like a submission of will and more like an opening of the imagination--and hence the whole mind and heart. In its own terms, then, it cannot be believed unless it 'rings true' to our deepest capacity for truth and goodness." (p. 195) I keep reading here and there throughout the book while also reading through, and I'm enjoying this discussion--no, really, an invitation, to step into the times. After all it's going on 200 years since the ovum was discovered.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    I loved reading this non-fiction Catholic research work on searching for a new sexual ethic for our time, and, when I had to return my library copy, bought my own copy of this book. I will note, though, that the brook brought criticism and censure from the Holy See (specifically from the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith) for moral views which oppose the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, but that this book and its views has received both support and endorsement from the dissident g I loved reading this non-fiction Catholic research work on searching for a new sexual ethic for our time, and, when I had to return my library copy, bought my own copy of this book. I will note, though, that the brook brought criticism and censure from the Holy See (specifically from the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith) for moral views which oppose the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, but that this book and its views has received both support and endorsement from the dissident groups Leadership Conference of Women Religious and the Catholic Theological Society of America. (For those brave enough to go against the Church’s opinion, I very much recommend this book.) There are seven chapters within this book; in the first five chapters, the author, in dense theological language thicketed with footnotes, considers the questions of sex and morality. She looks at theories that have been popular in the West, at cross-cultural traditions, and at the question of what the body is, what the soul is, and what the relation is between the two. It is in her sixth chapter that she gets to the heart of her conclusions: essentially, that a sexual relationship between any two given people should be one in which no unjust harm is done, in which freely given consent of both parties is given, and in which mutuality, equality, commitment, fruitfulness, and social justice exists between the parties. In her final chapter she considers ramification of these proposed norms for married couples, for same-sex couples, and for those who are divorced and / or remarried. Personally, I think that these seven norms of sexual justice and love make eminent sense. However, the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith stated, “With this Notification, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith expresses profound regret that a member of an Institute of Consecrated Life, Sr. Margaret A. Farley, R.S.M., affirms positions that are in direct contradiction with Catholic teaching in the field of sexual morality. The Congregation warns the faithful that her book Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics is not in conformity with the teaching of the Church. Consequently it cannot be used as a valid expression of Catholic teaching, either in counseling and formation, or in ecumenical and interreligious dialogue. Furthermore the Congregation wishes to encourage theologians to pursue the task of studying and teaching moral theology in full concord with the principles of Catholic doctrine.” I believe that the Church essentially believes that sexuality should be confined only to sacramentally married heterosexual couples, who should only engage in sexual practices that can lead to the procreation of children, without reservation or birth control of any kind. Therefore, I can see why they would take issue with Sr. Farley’s much broader framework for Christian sexual ethics. So I recommend this book, in spite of the opinion of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, and if that means that I am not of the faithful of the Roman Catholic Church, so be it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mary Helene

    I did not actually read every word of this scholarly work. I have heard Margaret Farley lecture and so I went looking for the parts which interested me most. Years ago I heard her speak about the importance in moral decision making of asking questions. She posed 7 questions to ask and I have used those questions for a wider range of issues. (When my good friend wanted to kill herself as she was dying of cancer, and her family wondered if they could help her: I used these questions. When my son m I did not actually read every word of this scholarly work. I have heard Margaret Farley lecture and so I went looking for the parts which interested me most. Years ago I heard her speak about the importance in moral decision making of asking questions. She posed 7 questions to ask and I have used those questions for a wider range of issues. (When my good friend wanted to kill herself as she was dying of cancer, and her family wondered if they could help her: I used these questions. When my son moved in with his girlfriend: I used these questions. When friends wondered if they should treat their infertility with embryonic transfer, these questions were helpful. I thought they worked better in concrete situations than drawing a line and pre-packaging the answer.) I paraphrase her principles as questions here, drawn from p.231, and I assume the whole book leads up to these principles. Dr./Sister Fahley restricts these questions to sexual relationship, but in the absence of anything better, I apply them to a range of decisions, acts and relationships. 1.Does this act (or relationship) cause unjust harm? 2.Is this a freely chosen act? 3.Is this mutual? 4.Is it equal? 5.Is there a commitment? 6.Is it fruitful? 7.Is it socially just?

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sagely

    So much information and counter-information swirls about in the religious debates around sexuality. As our congregation seeks to navigate a faithful ethical course, I really wish for someone to cut through this mess. Margaret Farley's Just Love is not the book to do that. I had hoped it would be. The splash it made in the press and in the RC church led me to believe that JL had something new and insightful to say. In fact, the first three chs of introductory material fanned my hopes. JL does a gr So much information and counter-information swirls about in the religious debates around sexuality. As our congregation seeks to navigate a faithful ethical course, I really wish for someone to cut through this mess. Margaret Farley's Just Love is not the book to do that. I had hoped it would be. The splash it made in the press and in the RC church led me to believe that JL had something new and insightful to say. In fact, the first three chs of introductory material fanned my hopes. JL does a great job of situating the conversation around sexuality historically and cross-culturally. But all this good preparatory putters out when Farley turns to a constructive ethics. Instead of shedding light or cutting through the fog, Farley grabs some (very appealing) convictions shared in USAmerican culture and spins an ethics appealing but founded on air. Autonomy and relationality are admirable values. But to add to the conversation (or add clarity), they need to be robustly grounded as proper starting points for an ethics. Farley fails to do this in JL. Overall, JL leaves me disappointed, though still grateful for its introductory material.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    In a funny way, the Vatican did us all a favor by issuing a harsh rebuke about this book six years after it was first published. Never mind all that, Farley wrote a thoughtful, readable argument for ethical standards in matters of love and sexuality. Norms of commitment, equality, mutuality may or may not sound revolutionary but her claim that justice must be a component of all our relationships does. Farley convinces us that social justice is a necessary part of couple and familial relationship In a funny way, the Vatican did us all a favor by issuing a harsh rebuke about this book six years after it was first published. Never mind all that, Farley wrote a thoughtful, readable argument for ethical standards in matters of love and sexuality. Norms of commitment, equality, mutuality may or may not sound revolutionary but her claim that justice must be a component of all our relationships does. Farley convinces us that social justice is a necessary part of couple and familial relationships, and she means "social" beyond the couple or family. I am grateful to whoever in the Vatican called attention to this book, which has become an Amazon best seller since the critique. There's justice!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    An excellent text, Farley begins with a brief review of questions as to why this should be studied and why we need a framework at this time for sexual ethics. She then follows this with a long discussion of sexuality in historical, religious, and socio-cultural contexts and traditions. A discussion of sexuality and its meanings, including an examination of gender makes up a significant portion of what follows. There is then a short look at preliminary considerations and sources of Christian sexu An excellent text, Farley begins with a brief review of questions as to why this should be studied and why we need a framework at this time for sexual ethics. She then follows this with a long discussion of sexuality in historical, religious, and socio-cultural contexts and traditions. A discussion of sexuality and its meanings, including an examination of gender makes up a significant portion of what follows. There is then a short look at preliminary considerations and sources of Christian sexual ethics. It is not until two-thirds of the text has passed before you get to Farley's proposed framework for which she gives seven "Norms for Just Sex." They are: 1) do no unjust harm; 2) free consent; 3) mutuality; 4) equality; 5) commitment; 6) fruitfulness; and 7) social justice. She follows this with special questions related to adults versus adolescents, masturbation, and the negative potentials of sex. Her final chapter examines three contexts for the application of her proposed framework: marriage and family, same-sex relationships, and divorce and remarriage. Initially made aware of "Just Love" after hearing of the Catholic hierarchy's censure of the book as it allegedly promotes female masturbation and finds conclusions for the acceptability of remarriage after divorce. These were issues which were touched upon, but not in the flaming heretical ways one would think by the language of the censors. Instead, Sr. Farley, a highly regarded and respected Catholic feminist theologian, draws largely from Catholic teachings and traditions (and as a non-Catholic, I need to look some of these up for my own understanding) as well as those from various Protestant denominations. What comes through is not heresy, or a lack of Catholic theology as I have read on some Amazon.com reviews, but what I hope will one day be considered, a prophetic voice which has taken into account what has been, what is, and what may be. I would have appreciated a greater fleshing out of some of her thoughts, but I found myself engaging with the text as I have not done with any other for many years, underlining key phrases, looking up referenced sources for further study, making notes and asking questions in the margins. I would like to rate this at 4.5 stars because so little time, as compared to the review of histories and traditions, is spent on the framework itself and demonstrations of applicability, but as that is not possible, I have opted to "round-up" my rating as my interests and energies for moral and feminist theologies have been renewed.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rhonda Mccarty

    Farley does an excellent job of surveying the history of sexual ethics and attempts to introduce cross-cultural examples, although, by her own admission, those are limited in this book in order to get to the specific work at hand, carefully looking at information from a variety of disciplines and contexts, how we understand embodiment, gender, and sexuality, as well as how we relate justice to love, and then examine various frameworks of sexual ethics, keeping all of that in mind. Finally, she g Farley does an excellent job of surveying the history of sexual ethics and attempts to introduce cross-cultural examples, although, by her own admission, those are limited in this book in order to get to the specific work at hand, carefully looking at information from a variety of disciplines and contexts, how we understand embodiment, gender, and sexuality, as well as how we relate justice to love, and then examine various frameworks of sexual ethics, keeping all of that in mind. Finally, she gives us her own recommended framework, which she refers to as sexual justice, and discusses how it would apply to marriage and family, same-sex relationships, and divorce and remarriage. Her norms are based on “respect for autonomy and relationality that characterize persons as ends in themselves, and hence respect for their well-being” and include doing no unjust harm, free consent, mutuality, equality, commitment, fruitfulness, and social justice (p. 231). She does not engage scripture as much as De La Torre. She attempts to show that scriptures prohibiting homosexuality have been misinterpreted, but the bottom line is that they “must be read against the whole of the biblical witness” (273). For Farley the norm is love guided, protected, nourished and formed by justice (311), and we see this in her treatment of divorce and remarriage as well, where she allows for the reality of brokenness and the inability to make a failed marriage tolerable just by willing it to be so.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    eponis wrote: My favorite book so far on sexuality and Christianity is Margaret Farley's Just Love. She goes beyond disproving classic critiques of homosexuality to create a framework of ethical Christian sexuality that's sensible, Scriptural, and genuinely challenging. It's easy to say "srsly, y'all, gay people are okay"; she says "okay, so given the myriad of human sexualities, how can our sexual identities be incarnated with justice and love?" It's fabulous. -http://eponis.livejournal.com/4219 eponis wrote: My favorite book so far on sexuality and Christianity is Margaret Farley's Just Love. She goes beyond disproving classic critiques of homosexuality to create a framework of ethical Christian sexuality that's sensible, Scriptural, and genuinely challenging. It's easy to say "srsly, y'all, gay people are okay"; she says "okay, so given the myriad of human sexualities, how can our sexual identities be incarnated with justice and love?" It's fabulous. -http://eponis.livejournal.com/421901....

  12. 4 out of 5

    Adrienna

    I read up to 80 or so pages, reads too scholarly for me like a dissertation. No more!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    "A love is right and good insofar as it aims to affirm truthfully the concrete reality of the beloved." "A love is right and good insofar as it aims to affirm truthfully the concrete reality of the beloved."

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Anytime the Vatican condemns something, I wanna read it!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Caleb

    Sister Farley really did produce a classic that will have to be reckoned with generations to come. It had a lot of academic archaeology, in order to assure its readers its well considered proposals, and it had very consistent philosophical arguments for proposing her framework for sexual ethics. However while she did an excellent job with every other word in the title of her book, it was quite short on its 'christian' character. It did seem that she wanted to propose a framework that Christians Sister Farley really did produce a classic that will have to be reckoned with generations to come. It had a lot of academic archaeology, in order to assure its readers its well considered proposals, and it had very consistent philosophical arguments for proposing her framework for sexual ethics. However while she did an excellent job with every other word in the title of her book, it was quite short on its 'christian' character. It did seem that she wanted to propose a framework that Christians and secular people would embrace equaling- it is not that her ethic could not be considered 'Christian' only that she did not make it clear that it was, or how it would work within an explicitly theological or biblical framework, as opposed to a philosophical ethics framework. Furthermore, I was really hoping she would take to task the Roman Catholic position MORE than she did

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    much less academic than I expected, though it certainly is highly researched. As she recommends in her intro, it is perfectly acceptable to skip the first few chapters and jump to the overview of the framework. I did that and then went back to the earlier chapters for the historical overview and lit review, which certainly are a drier read.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Steven Fouse

    Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics by Margaret A. Farley is an academic look at the question of what a Christian sexual ethic might look like. Ultimately for Farley, a sound sexual ethic, both human and Christian, depends on justice. Farely takes great care in laying out her background for such a statement, and after laying it out, gives a few examples on how and why such a sexual ethic works. In Chapter 1, "Opening the Questions," Farley introduces the topic of sexual ethics, and Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics by Margaret A. Farley is an academic look at the question of what a Christian sexual ethic might look like. Ultimately for Farley, a sound sexual ethic, both human and Christian, depends on justice. Farely takes great care in laying out her background for such a statement, and after laying it out, gives a few examples on how and why such a sexual ethic works. In Chapter 1, "Opening the Questions," Farley introduces the topic of sexual ethics, and why we now sit at a convoluted time in the question. She gives the briefest of overviews of philosophical and theological approaches to the ethics of sexuality, and explains why further work is still needed. In Chapter 2, "The Questions and their Past," Farley discusses the history of the interpretation of human sexuality, highlighting Michel Foucault and Catherine MacKinnon. She also delves into the history of sexual ethics in the West, including the influences of Greece and Rome, Judaism, and early Christian traditions. Farley concludes the chapter with the contributions of secular advances of philosophy and medicine on the subject at hand. Chapter 3, "Difficult Crossings: Diverse Traditions," reads like a primer on the issue of sexual ethics in religious studies. This chapter gives an overview of sexual ethics in light of colonialism and postcolonialism, the pre-modern islands of the South Seas, African cultures, the Kamasutra and Hinduism, and Islam. Farley discusses the diversity found between and among these traditions and worldviews and their contributions to the question of sexual ethics. In Chapter 4, "Sexuality and Its Meanings," Farley discusses the concepts of the body, gender and its construction, and the meaning of sexuality in light of the three previous chapters. Any student of religion who is interested in embodiment or gender studies would find helpful resources and reflections in this chapter, particularly in light of questions of sexuality. With the groundwork completed, Farley begins outlining her sexual ethic in Chapter 5, "Just Love and Just Sex: Preliminary Considerations." Here Farley underscores the importance of justice in her sexual ethic, as well as an examination of sources of Christian ethics, found in the Wesleyan quadrilateral: scripture, tradition, secular disciplines of knowledge (reason), and contemporary experience. Farley concludes the chapter with an examination of the role of love in an ethical framework of sexual justice. Farley finally delineates her sexual ethic of justice in Chapter 6, "Framework for Sexual Ethic: Just Sex." After reiterating the importance and foundation of justice, Farley describes her seven-part ethic: 1) Do No Unjust Harm, which includes a discussion of various types of harm and how and why this is not a sufficient ethic in and of itself; 2) Free Consent, which includes the importance of privacy, truth-telling, and promise-keeping; 3) Mutuality, which describes the relationality of sex and the importance of mutual desire, action, and response; 4) Equality, which includes discussion of power in relationships and how it can be grossly unequal; 5) Commitment, which describes how and why sustaining sexual desire through commitment is more ethical than sustaining sexual desire through new and varied sexual partners; 6) Fruitfulness, which extends beyond procreation and includes family-making and interpersonal love; and 7) Social Justice, which includes respecting persons as ends in themselves, as well as how to live in the midst of sexual and gender injustice. Farley then turns to special questions of this ethic's applicability to teenagers, to masturbation, and to negative potentials of sex. The final chapter, "Patters of Relationship: Contexts for Just Love," offers and application of Farley's sexual ethic to marriage and family, to same-sex relationships, and to divorce and remarriage. Each of these sections could easily be a chapter unto themselves and offer a thorough examination of the questions, history, and application of the sexual ethic of justice to the questions raised. Farley provides a thorough, rigorously researched ethic of human sexuality in Just Love. While I would have enjoyed seeing more application of the ethic to more diverse sexual questions including parental instruction of children regarding sexual ethics, inter-cultural or inter-racial sex and marriage, and sex between persons of greatly-differing age, such discussions are easily possible with Farley's introduction to the subject and her thoughtful ethic. Justice as a foundation for sexual ethics works well and provides a framework with which to evaluate and answer any questions of sexuality that arise. Students of ethics and religion will find a lot to love and consider in Farley's work. Those without a foundation in ethics or the academic study of religion may be overwhelmed by the material contained in this work. However, if you are looking for just one work that could serve as a foundation for a personal sexual ethic or an introduction to sexual ethics on an academic level, I would submit Farley's work as a contribution that will not lead you astray.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Josh Sweeney

    Every high school student and above should read this book

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ruairí Meyler

    My book review for Just love A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics written by Margaret Farley In this book, Margaret Farley examines historical and contemporary attitudes and theories to sex with an aim to developing a sexual ethic for our time. The writing by Margaret Farley is informative nuanced and insightful, as she discusses everything you wanted to know about sex and love but were too afraid to ask. Tracing the history of sex and sexual Theory from the Greeks and Romans to Sigmund Freud a My book review for Just love A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics written by Margaret Farley In this book, Margaret Farley examines historical and contemporary attitudes and theories to sex with an aim to developing a sexual ethic for our time. The writing by Margaret Farley is informative nuanced and insightful, as she discusses everything you wanted to know about sex and love but were too afraid to ask. Tracing the history of sex and sexual Theory from the Greeks and Romans to Sigmund Freud and Michel Foucault. (Who was a French post-modern philosopher and the first to pen a history of sexuality and along with Freud laid the foundations for sexual theory.) In addition to The Kama Sutra and the sexual practices of Africa and the Polynesian Islands. While also shedding light on the sexual attitudes and insights of the three major monotheistic religions Judaism Christianity and Islam by examining these traditions Margaret Farley gives us insight into how our modern attitudes regarding sex love and relationships have been formed. However if I have one criticism of the book it is that she doesn't discuss the tradition which in my opinion has had the most impact on modern attitudes to love and sex that being romanticism however despite this oversight the traditions and theories she does discuss our intriguing and important furthermore she uses the insights gained from these various traditions and disciplines to craft a new sexual ethic for contemporary Times founded upon the principle of justice. In conclusion this is a dense yet immensely informative and thought provoking look at sex love and relationships that looks back to the past in order to confront controversies and conundrums surrounding sex sexuality love and relationships in the present, in the process uncovering the roots of our preconceptions and making us think differently about sex love and relationships, check it out now if you haven't already.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jim Mcnulty

    There is much in this book that is worth reading. It presents interesting and well researched thoughts about how concepts related to sex and morality are developed and maintained in various cultures. It also presents thoughts and suggestions that challenge some current views. The presentation style seemed much like a college lecture to me. After reading it I was a bit surprised that it was the subject of such strong criticism from the American Conference of Catholic Bishops. Although it explored There is much in this book that is worth reading. It presents interesting and well researched thoughts about how concepts related to sex and morality are developed and maintained in various cultures. It also presents thoughts and suggestions that challenge some current views. The presentation style seemed much like a college lecture to me. After reading it I was a bit surprised that it was the subject of such strong criticism from the American Conference of Catholic Bishops. Although it explored thoughts and views that are not main stream I did not think that the author was advocating positions that represented any threat to a system of morality rooted in Love. On the contrary, it seemed to be an attempt to encourage an honest adherence to views that reflect love, kindness, and understanding.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    It's an academic book; if you're not accustomed to this kind of reading, or aren't passionately interested in the subject matter enough to get through that, this book will probably come across as meandering and opaque. The subject matter dealt more with the Christian side of things than I was anticipating; thus it didn't seem as relevant to the human condition in general than it could have. This book was assigned for a college course. I didn't have to read the whole thing, but since it helps me c It's an academic book; if you're not accustomed to this kind of reading, or aren't passionately interested in the subject matter enough to get through that, this book will probably come across as meandering and opaque. The subject matter dealt more with the Christian side of things than I was anticipating; thus it didn't seem as relevant to the human condition in general than it could have. This book was assigned for a college course. I didn't have to read the whole thing, but since it helps me contextualize assigned passages in the scope of the total argument, I did so. The bulk of it took me around three days. It's hardly light material, but once you get in the pace of it, it's not too hard to follow. It makes some interesting points, but I feel the Christian contexts could have been done without.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn Francis

    This book reminds me why rogue nuns are often such great theologians. Perhaps because they have no opportunity to climb the church hierarchy, there is a kind of boldness and freedom to name the challenging truths which those in power find so uncomfortable. This is not to say this kind of writing does not require courage. Our wider discussions on sexual ethics would be vastly improved if we took Margaret Farley's lead and placed justice front and centre in our considerations. The writing is a lit This book reminds me why rogue nuns are often such great theologians. Perhaps because they have no opportunity to climb the church hierarchy, there is a kind of boldness and freedom to name the challenging truths which those in power find so uncomfortable. This is not to say this kind of writing does not require courage. Our wider discussions on sexual ethics would be vastly improved if we took Margaret Farley's lead and placed justice front and centre in our considerations. The writing is a little dry and, at times, this leaves the discussion of human relationships a little joyless and intellectual. Nevertheless this has been a great contribution to my own understand of ethics and intimacy.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dave McNeely

    Farley's framework is systematic and reconciles the much-needed ethic of justice to understanding healthy relationships. However, Farley's efforts at making this a "Christian" ethic stray too far afield from Christian theology to claim that label with much support. Her ethical framework still may yet overlap with a Christian one, but it is difficult to tell how her approach is uniquely and explicilty Christian. Farley's framework is systematic and reconciles the much-needed ethic of justice to understanding healthy relationships. However, Farley's efforts at making this a "Christian" ethic stray too far afield from Christian theology to claim that label with much support. Her ethical framework still may yet overlap with a Christian one, but it is difficult to tell how her approach is uniquely and explicilty Christian.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

    A dot-the-Is,cross-the-Ts case by a leading religious ethicist for re-examining and revising christian teachings on Sexuality and creating a new sexual ethic based on a christian understanding of justice rather than on ancient fads and misunderstandings of biology. Not easy reading, and gentler of Vatican sensibilities than is truly warranted.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    Really great insight into that subject a lot of Christians do not want to face outside of short absolutes. I was particularly interested in Farley's same-sex ideas. I appreciate how she was able to construct a positive ethical stance towards homosexuality without resorting to redundant appeals to blind Biblical hermeneutics or wishy-washy appeals to tolerance. Really great insight into that subject a lot of Christians do not want to face outside of short absolutes. I was particularly interested in Farley's same-sex ideas. I appreciate how she was able to construct a positive ethical stance towards homosexuality without resorting to redundant appeals to blind Biblical hermeneutics or wishy-washy appeals to tolerance.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Nick Jordan

    Somewhere between 3 and 4 stars. Farley's out of her depth (and field) on some of the interdisciplinary work, and the "framework" is so bare and reduced that it's hard to see a Christian particularity to it. For all that, I do love the addition of "social justice" to the more standard and expected descriptions of what committed, loving, sexual relationships are meant to be. Somewhere between 3 and 4 stars. Farley's out of her depth (and field) on some of the interdisciplinary work, and the "framework" is so bare and reduced that it's hard to see a Christian particularity to it. For all that, I do love the addition of "social justice" to the more standard and expected descriptions of what committed, loving, sexual relationships are meant to be.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    A little dense, but the best paradigm I have discovered for thinking about sexual ethics in today's world. I will make my future husband read this before we get married. Actually, I might just make everyone read it. A little dense, but the best paradigm I have discovered for thinking about sexual ethics in today's world. I will make my future husband read this before we get married. Actually, I might just make everyone read it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn Saunders-Allen

    A thorough and thoughtful exploration of Christian sexual ethics. Love and justice go hand in hand without only saying sex is good or bad. A nuanced framework of Christian sexual ethics is so important for the church and the health and relationships of Christians.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sadie

    A really great book that I read over the course of my semester.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Stedwards

    Great, great book. I'm now a Farley devotee. Great, great book. I'm now a Farley devotee.

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