Male Confessions: Intimate Revelations and the Religious Imagination

Male Confessions: Intimate Revelations and the Religious Imagination

Male Confessions: Intimate Revelations and the Religious Imagination

Male Confessions: Intimate Revelations and the Religious Imagination

Synopsis

Male Confessions examines how men open their intimate lives and thoughts to the public through confessional writing. This book examines writings- by St. Augustine, a Jewish ghetto policeman, an imprisoned Nazi perpetrator, and a gay American theologian- that reflect sincere attempts at introspective and retrospective self-investigation, often triggered by some wounding or rupture and followed by a transformative experience. Krondorfer takes seriously the vulnerability exposed in male self-disclosure while offering a critique of the religious and gendered rhetoric employed in such discourse. The religious imagination, he argues, allows men to talk about their intimate, flawed, and sinful selves without having to condemn themselves or to fear self-erasure. Herein lies the greatest promise of these confessions: by baring their souls to judgment, these writers may also transcend their self-imprisonment.

Excerpt

“I have become a problem to myself,” writes Saint Augustine in the fourth century. “I shall nevertheless confess to you my shame, since it is for your praise.”

“I have made the first and most painful step in the dark and slimy maze of my confessions,” writes Jean-Jacques Rousseau at the beginning of modernity. “It is not crimes that cost me to speak, but what is ridiculous and shameful.”

“I am disconcerted by an irritating tendency to blush,” writes modernist Michel Leiris in the twentieth century.

“Finally I want to tell You what is meant only for Your ears,” writes Calel Perechodnik, a Jewish ghetto policeman, to his wife already killed by Germans. “I have deceived You.”

“Te moment of transformation filled me with an ardent love,” writes Oswald Pohl after his conversion to Catholicism and shortly before he is hanged as a Nazi war criminal.

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