Body Language

Creation and Covenant
The Significance of Sexual Difference in the Moral Theology of Marriage
Christopher C. Roberts
T. & T. Clark, $130, 266 pp.

In his new book Twentieth-Century Catholic Theologians, the Dominican Fergus Kerr questions the wisdom of moving the nuptial meaning of the body, which builds on the complementarity of the sexes, from the periphery to the center of theological speculation about the nature of God. This invites another question: How central to the Christian understanding of the meaning of marriage is the sexual difference between men and women? It is this question that Christopher Roberts addresses in his Creation and Covenant: The Significance of Sexual Difference in the Moral Theology of Marriage, and no one paying attention to the arguments about the blessing of same-sex unions in the Christian churches will want to ignore it. Roberts says he aims to raise the level of the theological conversation now dominated by questions of the justice of treating heterosexuals and homosexuals equally. Have most Christian thinkers thought sexual difference to be morally and theologically important? If so, does the contemporary discussion take account of their insights and arguments?

Interrogating the tradition in this way requires Roberts to do some detective work, since the question was not always asked in quite the sharp and insistent way we ask it today. So he must proceed by indirection, especially in the early centuries. He takes us from the...

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About the Author

Guy Mansini, OSB, teaches theology at St. Meinrad School of Theology, and is pastor of St. Isidore the Farmer Parish in Perry County, Indiana.