Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyA bestseller in Europe, this erudite, impassioned attack on the Catholic Church's hostility toward sexual pleasure, women and the body is sure to spark controversy. German Catholic theologian Ranke-Heinemann argues that the historic Jesus opposed biases against women and evinced a positive attitude toward marriage but celibate theologians misinterpreted his message as a call to renounce marriage. Theology became the business of bachelors; sex was equated with sin. Excoriating the Church Fathers for their contemptuous attitude toward women, the author reviews the Church's positions on infanticide and abortion (often said to be the same), its revulsion for homosexuality and its ``embittered struggle'' against contraception. The Virgin Birth, she contends, is a New Testament metaphor, not a historical event. For expressing this opinion, she lost her ecclesiastical license to teach at a German university in 1987. Her scholarly polemic in Heinegg's flowing translation is crammed with absorbing sexual and religious lore. (Dec.)
Library JournalThis broadside against the Catholic church's approach to sexuality portrays it as misogynistic, guilt-inducing, and joyless. The author accuses the church of ignoring Jesus' loving attitude toward women and the healthy sexuality of Judaism, adopting instead the jaundiced attitude of Gnosticism and Stoicism. She has almost nothing favorable to say concerning scores of theologians and church lead ers: Augustine, whom Ranke-Heinemann believes was mentally ill, and Aquinas are discussed in especially unfavorable terms. The author was ousted from the Catholic theology chair at the University of Essen in Germany because of her writings on Mariology, and this work is already a cause celebre in Europe. It's easy to see why. Interested laypeople will want to explore the controversy for themselves.-- Richard S. Watts, San Bernardino Cty . Lib., Cal.
- The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
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- 1st ed
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