The Romance of Innocent Sexuality, Geoffrey Rees
Geoffrey Rees

The Romance of Innocent Sexuality

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From the polling place to the pulpit, The Romance of Innocent Sexuality investigates the passions that are enacted in debates about same-sex marriage. In a critique that is at once humorous and unrelenting, Geoffrey Rees argues that sexual desire is fundamentally a desire to make sense of oneself as a whole person. Through a constructive engagement with the writings of Saint Augustine on original sin, Rees turns on its head the conventional wisdom regarding the goodness of sexual relationship, arguing that sin, not innocence, is the starting point in pursing justice in sexual ethics. To that end Rees boldly reclaims the wisdom of the most disreputable teachings of the Augustinian tradition: that original sin is a literal inheritance of all humanity of the singular disobedience of Adam and Eve in Eden, and the inherent sinfulness of all human sexuality. This work also engages theological readings of nineteenth-century fiction and literary readings of contemporary theological writings. In so doing Rees shows that debates about same-sex marriage are so compelling because the participants are all telling a common story in which they seek to establish the innocence of their own preferred forms of self-understanding as defined against some other persons' sinful selves. In contrast to this, Rees argues for the acceptance of responsibility for the sinful exclusions that make possible finding the meaning of embodied personal identity through marriage between any two persons.
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536 printed pages
Original publication
2011

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