A history of celibacy Hardcover – 1999
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Readers who consider celibacy the exclusive domain of priests and nuns are in for a big surprise. Elizabeth Abbott's entertaining history traces over 3,000 years of sexual abstinence and illustrates how it has been practiced all over the world for a variety of reasons, both religious and secular. A History of Celibacy begins with the ancient Greek deities, Athena, Artemis, and Hestia, for whom celibacy was a means of liberation from traditional female servitude, and concludes with the present-day AIDS epidemic, a primary justification for the renewed call to celibacy. In between, Abbott, who dedicated eight years to this project, discovers fascinating examples of sexual abstinence, whether coerced or self-proclaimed, temporary or permanent. For example, celibacy enabled egalitarianism and female leadership for 18th-century Shakers, the Greek athlete enhanced athletic performance by conserving semen, and Shamans and Vodun priests to this day attain a state conducive to communicating with the spirits through short-term abstinence.
Abbott describes and analyzes over 120 instances of sexual abstinence, expertly illuminating the interrelation of detailed particulars with historical context and social norms. A bestseller in Canada, where Abbott serves as Dean of Women at Trinity College, A History of Celibacy neither advocates nor opposes the practice. Instead, Abbott, herself a converted celibate, emphasizes individual choice according to individual needs, drives, and desires. --Bertina Loeffler Sedlack --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Celibacy: it's not just a matter of religious conviction, argues the dean of women at Trinity College.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
In this day and age of non-interest in sex yielding implications of psychological imbalance or worse, it is nice to have something to refer to, something that clarifies the history and purpose of celibacy in all its negative and positive implications. An excellently researched and presented treastise.
Most recent customer reviews
Well researched and well written, this is a book I would have liked to have written myself -- so I read it with great pleasure. Read morePublished on Sept. 3 2000 by Julia Gardiner
It's hard to imagine two words that could do more to kill a book's sales than "history" and "celibacy" ("algebra" and "asphyxia," perhaps). Read morePublished on July 20 2000 by buckbooks