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Authorizing Marriage?
Canon, Tradition, and Critique in the Blessing of Same-Sex Unions
Edited by Mark D. Jordan
With Meghan T. Sweeney and David M. Mellott

Hardcover | 2006 | $62.50 | £52.95 | ISBN: 9780691123462
224 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4
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eBook | ISBN: 9781400827138 |
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The opponents of legal recognition for same-sex marriage frequently appeal to a "Judeo-Christian" tradition. But does it make any sense to speak of that tradition as a single teaching on marriage? Are there elements in Jewish and Christian traditions that actually authorize religious and civil recognition of same-sex couples? And are contemporary heterosexual marriages well supported by those traditions?

As evidenced by the ten provocative essays assembled and edited by Mark D. Jordan, the answers are not as simple as many would believe. The scholars of Judaism and Christianity gathered here explore the issue through a wide range of biblical, historical, liturgical, and theological evidence. From David's love for Jonathan through the singleness of Jesus and Paul to the all-male heaven of John's Apocalypse, the collection addresses pertinent passages in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament with scholarly precision. It reconsiders whether there are biblical precedents for blessing same-sex unions in Jewish and Christian liturgies.

The book concludes by analyzing typical religious arguments against such unions and provides a comprehensive response to claims that the Judeo-Christian tradition prohibits same-sex unions from receiving religious recognition. The essays, most of which are in print here for the first time, are by Saul M. Olyan, Mary Ann Tolbert, Daniel Boyarin, Laurence Paul Hemming, Steven Greenberg, Kathryn Tanner, Susan Frank Parsons, Eugene F. Rogers, Jr., and Mark D. Jordan.


"Learned and absorbing essays. . . . Some of the best historical and theological writing I have read in a long time is contained within the covers of this book. If those on the right wing in our current conflicts fail to enter into serious and thoughtful conversation with these and other recent offerings, they will be convicting themselves of irrational partisanship and intellectual obscurantism."--William Countryman, Church Times

"A series of provocative and surprising essays that take up the warrant for blessing same-sex unions from a variety of Judeo-Christian perspectives. . . . Taken as a whole, the volume provides some unusual and provocative arguments from a variety of religious perspectives that supporters of same-sex marriage might take into account as they formulate their strategies for future public debates."--Rebecca Alpert, Sexuality Research & Social Policy

"This collection makes a refreshing change from the familiar ping-pong battle between liberals and conservatives about the ownership of the Judae-Christian tradition on sex and marriage. . . . This is an impressive collection of powerful imaginative projects. It may not 'solve' any problems. But it certainly opens windows of opportunity for fresh reflection among the stereotypes."--George Newlands, Scottish Journal of Theology


"Brilliant, fascinating and persuasive. This book will stir significant debate."--David Balch, Texas Christian University

"A convenient sampling of views and interpretations that raises the level of discourse on this controversial public issue. A useful and thoughtful piece of work."--Rachel Adler, Hebrew Union College, Jewish Institute of Religion

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