Academic journal article Theological Studies

Sexual Ethics: A Theological Introduction

Academic journal article Theological Studies

Sexual Ethics: A Theological Introduction

Article excerpt

SEXUAL ETHICS: A THEOLOGICAL INTRODUCTION. By Todd A. Salzman and Michael G. Lawler. Washington: Georgetown University, 2012. Pp. xxix + 250. $26.95.

This volume is a recasting of the authors' award-winning The Sexual Person: Toward a Renewed Catholic Anthropology (2009). The earlier book was intended for a theologically educated audience, while this one aims to be "a Catholic book on sexual morality that 'people in the pews' and 'my students' can understand" (xiii). While still not an easy read, the book should be within reach for advanced undergraduates and other educated readers.

The previous book was an extraordinarily careful engagement with, and reworking of, Catholic tradition on sexuality in which the authors constructed a framework for sexual morality in synch with the best of Catholic tradition and contemporary science and philosophy. This book largely follows the structure of the earlier work, omitting two chapters on the natural law foundations of both revisionists and traditionalists.

The effects of the edit are significant: their argument here flows more like a lecture than a theological discussion. Because they have not laid out the battles between the traditionalists and the revisionists, the book's tone is irenic. Without ignoring the magisterial teachings with which the authors are sometimes in tension, this is more truly a teaching text.

Following a contextualizing prologue and a helpful historical survey, the authors present their own proposed framework, starting with a description of sexuality in its physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual, and relational dimensions. …

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