Religion 185.06
Marriage and Sexuality in the New Testament
Spring 1999
MWF 11:50-12:40, Gray 228
Caroline T. Schroeder, Instructor

Course Description and Objectives
The New Testament is a canonical religious text for millions of people today and has been regarded by many for centuries as prescribing normative beliefs and behaviors for Christians past and present.  The precise nature of these normative beliefs and behaviors, however, has been deeply contested.  This course examines the role of the New Testament in debates over marriage and sexuality.  The first part of the course is devoted to the the New Testament texts and antiquity.  We will begin by exploring the marriage and sexuality in the Roman world in order to understand the context in which the New Testament was written and read.   We then will study early Christian attitudes toward sexuality and marriage in these texts and compare them with views held by other groups in antiquity.  How did these views deviate from or challenge ancient Jewish, Greek, and Roman views?  How did they conform?  Are these texts uniform in their positions on marriage, sex, and the family? The second part of the course addresses the ways in which later Christians read and used the New Testament in their writings about marriage and sex.  We will examine the role of the New Testament in the flourishing Christian monastic movement, in the legend and cult of Mary Magdalene in the medieval period, and the debates over marriage and celibacy during the Reformation.  Finally, we will turn to contemporary conflicts over gays and lesbians in American churches, the role of wives in Christian marriages, and the required celibacy of Catholic priests.

Course Requirements
Class preparation and participation:  Students are expected to attend class each day prepared to discuss the assigned readings.  This is not a lecture course.  Class will begin promptly at 11:50.  Class attendance and participation are counted heavily for  your grade.  In reading assignments and preparing for class, students should take the following into consideration:
Primary sources (NT, Plutarch, Augustine, etc.)
- Be prepared to discuss the primary elements of the arguments in the texts:  What is the point? and how does the author get to that point?
- What does the author assume about his/her audience?
- What are the social, religious, legal, and political implications of the argument?
- How does the author rely upon or challenge some of the positions of other texts we have read?  How does the author use these texts (particularly biblical texts) in traditional, new, or surprising ways?
Secondary sources (Countryman, Brooten etc.)
- Be able to identify the author's primary thesis and his/her main elements of argument in support of that thesis.
-You will have read many of the same primary texts as these authors so evaluate their argument.  Where is it weakest or strongest?
- What are the social, religious, and political implications of their arguments?
- Who is the author's audience?  What does the author assume about the audience (education, religious beliefs, etc.)?  How does this affect his/her argument?
Students are encouraged, but not required, to use the email list for additional discussion.
Class presentation:  Each student will be required to make one class presentation this semester.  Students should read the assigned texts for this class carefully and must post a message to the class email list by 5 pm the day before class.  This posting should include questions to focus students' readings of the class assignments and/or comments regarding the most important, confusing, thought-provoking, etc., aspects of the reading.  (All of the other students will print this post and bring it to class with them that day.)  The day of the class presentation, the assigned student will begin the class with a 3-4 minute discussion (brief !) of the most interesting points in the readings.  The student will be expected to pose questions to begin the class discussion.
Research Paper:  A 12-15 page research paper is due at the end of the semester.  You will choose a paper topic in consultation with me early in the semester.  Your paper should focus on one text (or one set of related texts) that relate to marriage or sexuality in the New Testament itself, marriage or sexuality in the early Christian era (pre-700 CE), or marriage or sexuality in contemporary religious discourse.  I am open to some other topics, but any topic must receive my approval.  Later in the semester you will turn in a paper proposal with a bibliography.  The final paper is due at the end of the course.  You will receive hand-outs outlining each stage of this process throughout the semester.

Attendance and participation:  30%
Class presentation:   20%
Paper topic (punctuality):  5%
Paper proposal:   15%
Final Paper:    30%

Students are expected to contact me if they are unable to attend class.  More than two absences may affect your grade.  Participation is graded in terms of quality and quantity.  A late posting to the email list for your presentation will result in a full letter grade deduction.  Late paper topics will receive a zero.  Late proposals and final papers will receive a full letter grade deduction for each 24 hours they are late.

Required Texts
L. William Countryman, Dirt, Greed, and Sex
B. Brooten, Love Between Women
E. A. Clark, St. Augustine on Marriage and Sexuality
V. L. Bullough & J. Brundage, Sexual Practices and the Medieval Church
The Letters of Abelard and Heloise (Penguin version)
The Bible (preferably RSV or NRSV)
*Readings on reserve at the Divinity School library and on electronic reserves
One or two articles on the WWW and not on electronic reserve due to copyright restrictions
Suggested text for reference:  B. Ehrman, The New Testament (NT textbook)
All of the books (including a limited number of Harper-Collins Study Bibles) may be purchased at the Regulator Bookshop on Ninth Street.

Course Schedule

Course Introduction
Jan 13

Marriage and Sexuality  in the Non-Christian Roman World
Jan 15
*Beryl Rawson, "The Roman Family" in Rawson (ed) The Family in Ancient Rome

Jan 20
*Rousselle, Porneia  78-106
Dirt, Greed, & Sex  147-167

Jan 22
*Porneia 5-46, 63-77
Jan 25
Dirt, Greed, & Sex  11-65

Jesus Traditions on Sexuality, Marriage, and the Family
Jan 27
Mt 5:27-30, Mk 9:42-48
Mt 10:34-39, Lk 12:51-53, Lk 14:26-27
Mt 12:46-50, Mk 3:31-35, Lk 8:19-21
Mt 22:23-24, Mk12:18-27, Lk 10:25-28, Lk 20:27-40
Lk 23:26-31
Jn 7:53-8:11
Jn 2:1-11
Dirt, Greed, & Sex  80-96, 168-189

Jan 29

Feb 1
Mt 5:31-32
Mt 19:1-12, Mk 10:1-12, Lk 16:18
*Philo, Special Laws 594-602

Feb 3

Feb 5
Mt 19:10-12
Mt 5:27-30, Mk 9:42-48
*Porneia 107-128
**Conferences regarding paper topics February 1-5**

Paul on Marriage and Sexuality
Feb 8
1 Cor 5-7, 11:1-12, 14:34-35
2 Cor 12:20-21
1 Thess 4:3-8
Gal 3:26-28, 5:19-20
Dirt, Greed, & Sex 97-98, 104-109, 190-220
*Musonius Rufus 85-89

Feb 10

Feb 12
*Martin, The Corinthian Body 163-64, 168-179, 198-228

Feb 15
** Paper topics due at the beginning of class Feb 15 **

Feb 17 
Rom 1:1-32
review Philo 597-599
Dirt, Greed, & Sex 109-123
*Boswell, Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality 106-117

Feb 19 
Love Between Women 1-72

Feb 22 
Love Between Women 73-113

Feb 24
Love Between Women 215-302, 359-362

Feb 26

The Household Codes
Mar 1
1 Cor 14:34-35
Col 3:18-4:1
Eph 5:21-6:9
1 Peter 2:18-3:7
1 Timothy 2:8-15, 5:1-8, 6:1-2
Titus 2:1-10, 3:1
*Plutarch, Advice to Bride and Groom
*Musonius Rufus 89-97
 Dirt, Greed, & Sex 124-143, 221-234
Mar 3 Continued
Mar 5 Continued
 ** Paper Proposals due at the beginning of class Mar 5 **

Early Christian Asceticism and the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles
Mar 8
*Chaereas and Callirhoe (selections)

Mar 10
*Acts of Thecla
*Cooper, The Virgin and the Bride 45-67

Mar 12
1 Tim 4:1-5
2 Tim 3:1-9
1 Peter 2:11
* MacDonald, The Legend and the Apostle 54-77
Spring Break  March 15, 17, 19

Augustine & Jerome:  Marriage vs. Asceticism
Mar 22
Clark, St. Augustine, selections TBA

Mar 24
St. Augustine, selections TBA
*Jerome, Against Jovinian I:1-15

Mar 26

Marriage & Celibacy in the Middle Ages
Mar 29
Sexual Practices & the Medieval Church 14-33, 55-71, 102-117, 129-134

Mar 31
Letters of Abelard & Heloise 57-182

Apr 2

Prostitution and the Legend of Mary Magdalene
Apr 5
Mt 26:6-13, Mk 14:3-9, Lk 7:36-50, Jn 12:1-8
Mt 27:55-61, Lk 8:1-3
Lk 10:38-42, Lk 12:1-3
Mt 28:1-10, Mk 6:1-13, Lk 23:49-24:35, Jn 19:25, 20:1-18, 1 Cor 15:4-8

Apr 7
Sexual Practices & the Medieval Church 34-42, 149-160, 176-186
*"St. Mary Magdalene" in the Golden Legend

The Reformation
Apr 9
*Luther, On Monastic Vows & The Estate of Marriage

Apr 12
*Merry Wiesner-Hanks, "From Spiritual Virginity to Family as Calling" in Gender, Church,  & State in Early Modern Germany

Apr 14

The New Testament and Contemporary Debates
Apr 16
*Richard Hays, "Relations Natural and Unnatural:  A Response to John Boswell's Exegesis of Romans 1," Journal of Religious Ethics 14 (1986) 184-215
*Dale Martin, "Heterosexism and the Interpretation of Romans 1:18-32" Biblical Interpretation 3 (1995) 332-55
*Lisa Sowle Cahill, "Sexual Ethics:  A Feminist Biblical Perspective" Interpretations 49:1 (1995) 5-16 [Divinity only or -- must search for article then print]

Apr 19
* Cheryl J. Sanders, "Sexual Orientation and Human Rights Discourse in the African American Churches" in Sexual Orientation and Human Rights in American Religious Discourse, 178-184
*Victor Anderson, "Deadly Silence:  Reflections on Homosexuality and Human Rights" in Sexual Orientation and Human Rights in American Religious Discourse, 185-200

Apr 21
*Clarice J. Martin, "The Haustafeln (Household Codes) in African American Interpretation:  'Free Slaves' and 'Subordinate Women'" in Cain Hope Felder (ed), Stony the Road We Trod
*Southern Baptist Statement on the Family [Divinity only or]
*"SBC Approves Family Statement" in Christian Century, June 17, 1998 v. 115 n. 18 [Divinity only or]

Apr 23
*J. Francis Stafford, "Eucharistic Foundation of Sacerdotal Celibacy" Origins 23 (1993) 211 16
*John Paul II, "Holy Thursday Letter:  Women in the Life of the Priest" Origins 24 (1995) 749-55
*Theresa Mancuso, "Quest for an Undivided Heart" Review for Religious 1994:189-95
*William McDonough, "Two Cheers for Priestly Celibacy" Review for Religious 1993: 898 910

Apr 26

Course Conclusion
Apr 28

** Papers due May 5 by 5 pm **