Celibacy and Religious Traditions / Edition 1

Celibacy and Religious Traditions / Edition 1

by Carl Olson
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0195306317

ISBN-13: 9780195306316

Pub. Date: 12/07/2007

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

If sexuality is inherently social, the same thing can be said about celibacy. An understanding of celibacy, argues Carl Olson, can be a useful way to view the significance of the human body within a social context. The purpose of this book is to examine how the practice of celibacy differs cross-culturally as well as historically within a particular religious

Overview

If sexuality is inherently social, the same thing can be said about celibacy. An understanding of celibacy, argues Carl Olson, can be a useful way to view the significance of the human body within a social context. The purpose of this book is to examine how the practice of celibacy differs cross-culturally as well as historically within a particular religious tradition. The essays (all previously unpublished) will demonstrate that celibacy is a complex religious phenomenon. The control of sexual desire can be used to divorce oneself from a basic human biological drive, to separate oneself from what is perceived as impure, or to distance oneself from a transient world. Within different religious traditions there can be found the practice of temporary celibacy, commitment to long-term permanent celibacy, and outright condemnations of it. By maintaining a state of virginity, members of some religious traditions imitate divine models; other traditions do not admit the possibility of emulating such paradigms. Whether or not a religious tradition encourages or discourages it, the practice of celibacy gives us insight into its worldview, social values, gender relations, ethics, religious roles, and understanding of the physical body. Celibacy can contribute to the creation of a certain status and play a role in the construction of identity, while serving as a source of charisma. In some religious traditions, it is possible to renounce sex and gain sacred status and economic support from society. Each essay in the collection will be written by an expert in a particular religious tradition. Each will address such questions as: Why do some members of a religious community decide to maintain a celibate style of religious life? Is celibacy a prerequisite for religious office or status? Are there different contexts within a given religious tradition for the practice of celibacy? What does the choice of celibacy tell us about the human body in a particular religious culture? What is the symbolic significance of celibacy? What is its connection to the acquisition of power? What are its physical or spiritual benefits? The first collection of its kind, this book will be a valuable resource for courses in world religions, as well as a contribution to our understanding of this very widespread but puzzling human phenomenon.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195306316
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
12/07/2007
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
9.30(w) x 6.30(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents


Contributors     xi
Celibacy and the Human Body: An Introduction   Carl Olson     3
Celibacy in the Greco-Roman World   Willi Braun     21
"And Jacob Remained Alone": The Jewish Struggle with Celibacy   Eliezer Diamond     41
Celibacy in the Early Christian Church   Glenn Holland     65
"Let Anyone Accept This Who Can": Medieval Christian Virginity, Chastity, and Celibacy in the Latin West   Karen Cheatham     85
Celibacy and the Protestant Traditions: From Celibacy to the Freedom of the Christian   M. Darrol Bryant     109
Islamic Tradition and Celibacy   Shahzad Bashir     133
Celibacy in Classical Hinduism   Patrick Olivelle     151
Hindu Devotionalism, Tantra, and Celibacy   Carl Olson     165
Sthulabhadra's Lodgings: Sexual Restraint in Jainism   Paul Dundas     181
Celibacy in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism   John Powers     201
Celibacy in East Asian Buddhism   John Kieschnick     225
Sexual Control and Daoist Cultivation   Livia Kohn     241
Shinto and Celibacy   C. Scott Littleton     265
A Social-Cultural Analysis of Celibacy among the Yoruba: Oyo Alafin'sServants as a Case Study   Oyeronke Olajubu     275
Celibacy and Native American Indians   Carl Olson     285
Abstinence, Balance, and Political Control in Mesoamerica,   Jeanne L. Gillespie     301
Index     315

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