In spite of the fact that marriage is recognized as a sacrament by the Church, the attitude of Christian thought towards the sexual relationship and its spiritualizing potentialities has been in practice singularly limited and negative. From the start Christian authors have been ill at ease with the whole subject. Sexual activity tended to be seen as a sign of man's sinful and degenerate state and the modern Christian is taught to distinguish between love in the New Testament sense — "agape" — and "eros", and to see "eros" as a debased form of "agape", if not actually opposed to it. All in all, the Church has done scant justice to its insight that sexual love is, at least potentially, a sacrament.
In this concise yet challenging work Philip Sherrard does not provide a systematic theology of sexual love but indicates some of the considerations and principles that must be taken into account before such a theology can be adequately formulated. His four essays are entitled ‘The Sexual Relationship in Christian Thought’, ‘The Body, Beauty, and Sexuality’, ‘Towards a Theology of Sexual Love’, and ‘An Approach to the Sacrament of Marriage’.
A theology that encompasses the spiritual potential of sexual love is even more urgently needed now than ti was when this book was first published some 20 years ago, for distorted views are still continuing to produce their casualties.
About the Author
Philip Sherrard was an English author and scholar educated at Cambridge. Among the works for which he is best known is his collaboration in the complete translation of the Philokalia. The combination of his interests in metaphysics, theology, art and aesthetics led to his participation in the review Temenos, of which he was one of the founders in 1980. He was also recognized as a leading voice in situating modern attitudes and behaviors regarding the environment within a Christian framework.
In all his works, Dr. Sherrard sought to express an all-embracing vision, in which the natural and the supernatural come together in a wholeness that bears witness to the numinous wonder of life. This vision is the leit-motif of his last three books: The Eclipse of Man and Nature: An Enquiry into the Origins and Consequences of Modern Science (1987), The Sacred in Life and Art (1990), and Human Image, World Image (1992). He reposed in 1995.
Publisher: Denise Harvey Publishing, Greece (June 1, 1995)
Paperback: 94 pages