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A history of celibacy Hardcover – 1999

4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 1999
CDN$ 170.54 CDN$ 6.89

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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 559 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Canada / Not Applicable; 1st ed edition (1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0002557355
  • ISBN-13: 978-0002557351
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15 x 3.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 703 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #978,226 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

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.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on June 17 2000
Format: Hardcover
When I first stumbled on this book, I was curious as to what the author meant by a history of celibacy. After all, don't almost all of us want to know about quite the opposite? So I read the book. I was absolutely enthralled with this book. I think Abbott's style is quite readable and the subject matter is fascinating. I would definitely recommend this book.
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Format: Paperback
A fabulously well-written book that offers one a great deal of food for thought. Yes, at times agonizingly explicit, but real and humanly written. More than expose or a simple history, but a personal journey, which the author herself took and took something from. Its breadth is commanding and admirable, its style is at once extremely academic and in the same instant entirely readable and smooth flowing.
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.
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Format: Hardcover
Despite getting bogged down in various minutae in regards to different religious sects, this book is an entertaining and informative read. The author adroitly links the cultural mores of societies across the earth, and analyzes the reasons for celibacy or eternal virginity among different religions and cultures. She also, interestingly enough, emphasizes the practical nature of celibacy, and the role it plays in today's sex-driven culture. I recommend this book to anyone interested in a bit of odd cultural history or someone just interested in the rise and fall of celibacy.
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Format: Paperback
I read the hardcover edition of the book, before all the wonderful press it received, but I am enamoured by this paperback cover. It brings the title alive with its lush colors and wonderful cover art. Abbott writes well and brings together a variety of aspects that have long been a part of celibacy. From the various saints who shunned sexual intimacy to the modern-day virgins who've never "had" sex (but have had intimate relations) - Abbott provides a insider's view on this lifestyle.
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