Sexuality and Christian Tradition

Journal of Religious Ethics 43 (1):122-145 (2015)

David Newheiser
Australian Catholic University
This essay aims to clarify the debate over same-sex unions by comparing it to the fourth-century conflict concerning the nature of Jesus Christ. Although some suppose that the council of Nicaea reiterated what Christians had always believed, the Nicene theology championed by Athanasius was a dramatic innovation that only won out through protracted struggle. Similarly, despite the widespread assumption that Christian tradition univocally condemns homosexuality, the concept of sexuality is a nineteenth-century invention with no exact analogue in the ancient world. Neither heterosexuality nor homosexuality is addressed directly in Christian tradition; for this reason, the significance of older authorities for the modern debate is necessarily indirect. The dichotomy between progressive and conservative positions is therefore misguided: it is necessary neither to abandon tradition for the sake of progress nor to oppose innovation for the sake of fidelity
Keywords interpretation  tradition  early Christian thought  sexuality  homosexuality  marriage
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/jore.12088
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Gentiles and Homosexuals: A Brief History of an Analogy.John Perry - 2010 - Journal of Religious Ethics 38 (2):321-347.

View all 7 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Natural Law and the “Sin Against Nature”.Sean Larsen - 2015 - Journal of Religious Ethics 43 (4):629-673.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Blinding Me with (Queer) Science: Religion, Sexuality, and (Post?) Modernity. [REVIEW]Ellen T. Armour - 2010 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 68 (1-3):107-119.
Marriage and the Public Good.Anthony E. Giampietro - 2007 - Christian Bioethics 13 (2):211-224.
Human Sexuality in the History of Redemption.Paul Ramsey - 1988 - Journal of Religious Ethics 16 (1):56 - 86.
Response To: The Human Embryo in the Christian Tradition.R. Gill - 2005 - Journal of Medical Ethics 31 (12):713-714.
The Peril of Usury in the Christian Tradition.M. Douglas Meeks - 2011 - Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology 65 (2):128-140.


Added to PP index

Total views
182 ( #45,873 of 2,311,025 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
34 ( #22,961 of 2,311,025 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature