CDN$ 23.35
FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.ca. Gift-wrap available.
Quantity:1
Abortion and the Early Ch... has been added to your Cart
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Abortion and the Early Church: Christian, Jewish and Pagan Attitudes in the Greco-Roman World Paperback – Oct 26 1998

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
CDN$ 23.35
CDN$ 23.35 CDN$ 31.86

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
click to open popover

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • You'll save an extra 5% on Books purchased from Amazon.ca, now through July 29th. No code necessary, discount applied at checkout. Here's how (restrictions apply)

No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.




Product Details

  • Paperback: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Wipf & Stock (Oct. 26 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579101828
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579101824
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 0.7 x 21.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,973,994 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  •  Would you like to update product info, give feedback on images, or tell us about a lower price?

Product Description

About the Author

Michael J. Gorman holds the Raymond E. Brown Chair in Biblical Studies and Theology at St. Mary's Seminary and University, Baltimore, Maryland. A highly regarded New Testament scholar, he has also written Reading Revelation Responsibly: Uncivil Worship and Witness and Elements of Biblical Exegesis: A Basic Guide for Students and Ministers.

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
1
4 star
0
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
See the customer review
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is well-researched and written examination of the early Christian church's position on abortion, contraception and taking of life.
His looking into this reveals that they were passionately against abortion and even had pagan and Jewish voices joining with them in this.
Citing early fathers the likes of Augustine, Ambrose, Jerome, Chrysostom, Hippolytus and others who wrote and spoke articulately against abortion on grounds of the murder of innocent life, the sanctity of the marriage bed and the immorality and sin of this spreading taking of life.
I was frustrated with only one small part of this otherwise well done work, his final linking of abortion with nuclear arms and capital punishment. His writing as though the early church fathers were of this same mind is a matter that I honestly am not knowledgeable on, but will investigate. Suggest other readers understand a common theological problem with quoting the early church fathers, that of they wrote so much that most all sides of an issue find support in them. It is confusing.
Excellent gem of work that shows abortion is not a modern problem nor is the church's countercultural witness against it either. Valuable resource to the church.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa4d25abc) out of 5 stars 7 reviews
29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3ff5804) out of 5 stars An Excellent Resource, but Loses it in the Final Chapter Sept. 25 2004
By C. Price - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Though weighing in at a mere 101 pages of text, Abortion & the Early Church is an excellent overview on early Christianity's attitudes on that subject. Gorman examines the Pagan, Jewish, and Christian attitudes on abortion, spending more chapters breaking down Christian attitudes into the first three centuries and the fourth and fifth centuries. He then wraps up with two final paragraphs. One that rounds off the discussion of where Christian attitudes about abortion came from. Gorman concludes that Christian attitudes were heavily influenced by its Jewish history, but given Jesus' teachings on love and peace turned out to be more adamantly anti-abortion than the Jews. I suspect there is merit to this argument, but also think that much of Christianity's strong anti-abortion stance was due to its direct encounter with the pagan world. Even Jews in the diaspora tended to have their own communities and live amongst themselves. But many Christians were not only converted pagans, they were intent on spreading their own religion even deeper into Roman society. Such clashes tend to sharpen differences.

Up until this point, I benefitted from every part of the book -- even if I was not convinced on every point. Gorman does a good job of providing primary sources about pagan, Christian, and Jewish attitudes on abortion. He also does a good job of explaining those sources and spends much good analysis not only on what the attitudes on abortion were, but what the core of the issue really was. For example, was abortion criticized because it was an impediment to procreation, a means of covering up sexual immorality, a threat to the woman's life as well, or as the killing of a human life? (for Christians it seems all of these were mentioned, but the driving concern was the humanity of the fetus). Nevertheless, Gorman lost a star because his final chapter swerves into very 80s territory as he launches an assault on those pro-life Christians who are pro-strong national defense, pro-capital punishment, and not strong enough on the issue of gun control. Up to this point, his discussion was unemotional, logical, even systematic. Not so here. He comes across as a man struggling to reconcile his personal liberal political beliefs with his strong pro-life beliefs. His solution it to blast both sides. Beyond its obvious tangential nature, this diabtribe is out of place because it -- unlike his excellent discussion of early Christian views on abortion -- is built not on Christian history but on his own emotional biases.

Nevertheless, on the issue of abortion, this is one of the best values out there for understanding what the Church has believed on this subject -- it was immoral. And perhaps more importantly, why it believed what it did -- it was the taking of an innocent human life.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa41812cc) out of 5 stars Amazing/Relevant Parallels with Current Debate July 14 2004
By rodboomboom - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is well-researched and written examination of the early Christian church's position on abortion, contraception and taking of life.
His looking into this reveals that they were passionately against abortion and even had pagan and Jewish voices joining with them in this.
Citing early fathers the likes of Augustine, Ambrose, Jerome, Chrysostom, Hippolytus and others who wrote and spoke articulately against abortion on grounds of the murder of innocent life, the sanctity of the marriage bed and the immorality and sin of this spreading taking of life.
I was frustrated with only one small part of this otherwise well done work, his final linking of abortion with nuclear arms and capital punishment. His writing as though the early church fathers were of this same mind is a matter that I honestly am not knowledgeable on, but will investigate. Suggest other readers understand a common theological problem with quoting the early church fathers, that of they wrote so much that most all sides of an issue find support in them. It is confusing.
Excellent gem of work that shows abortion is not a modern problem nor is the church's countercultural witness against it either. Valuable resource to the church.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa4181290) out of 5 stars Illumining Picture of Historic Christian Position Nov. 20 2000
By George - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Dr. Michael Gorman handles the question of the historic positions on abortion of major Greek philosophers (including Plato and Aristotle), Roman, Jewish, and early Christians in a very well documented text. The early Christian position stands in contrast to the others in it's overwhelming support of life at all stages. Toward the end of the book the author addresses the issue of a consistent ethic of life which elicits support for life in the context of human conflict, as well as for the unborn. Overall the book supports it's goal of presenting the issue of abortion in relation to the early church, providing many references, and a challenge for the future in addressing the issue of being pro-life in a consistent and comprehensive manner.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa4325e28) out of 5 stars Abortion & Early Church March 31 2009
By Gerard Reed - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Though the Bible says little about abortion per se, the Early Church adamantly opposed it. This is made clear in Michael J. Gorman's work, Abortion & the Early Church: Christian, Jewish, & Pagan Attitudes in the Greco-Roman World (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, c. 1982).
The world into which Christianity came easily tolerated abortion. A society which allowed infanticide could not be overly exercised by abortions! The satirist Juvenal noted that Rome's wealthy women rarely got pregnant because money allowed them to purchase abortions. Some women apparently wanted to maintain their trim appearance and sought to avoid the swollen stomach and limited activities pregnancy involves.
The Hippocratic Oath, of course, called physicians to "not give to a woman a pessary to cause abortion," and some of the great "natural law" thinkers, such as Cicero, opposed it. Nero's tutor, the Stoic philosopher Seneca "lauded his own mother for not participating in unchastity, 'the greatest evil of our time,' and for never having 'crushed the hope of children that were being nurtured in [her] body'" (p. 28). Alone among ancient peoples, however, the Jews strongly condemned abortion. Though the Hebrew Bible does not clearly address it, by-and-large the Jews did not practice abortion. The only item at issue which divided the rabbis concerned the penalty necessary when "accidental or therapeutic abortion" occurred.
Early Christians sided with the pro-life Stoics and Jews. The New Testament does not specifically mention abortion, but second century documents, the Didache and the Epistle of Barnabas directly denounce it. It is considered a form of murder, forbidden by the Law. The words of Athenagoras are typical: "What reason would we have to commit murder when we say that women who induce abortions are murderers, and will have to give account of it to God? For the same person would not regard the fetus in the womb as a living thing and therefore an object of God's care [and then kill it]" (p. 54). Early councils, the most influential of the Church Fathers (Tertullian, Origin, Basil of Caesarea, Ambrose, Augustine, John Chrysostom, Jerome) all adamantly condemned it. As penance, Church members who aborted a child were often barred from Communion for ten years. It was clearly considered one of the gravest of all sins.
Though Gorman's work focuses on a world long gone, it reveals an issue which is quite contemporary! As paganism resurfaces, abortion becomes more acceptable. And if the Church today is to follow the example of the Church of antiquity, the church of the martyrs and saints, its position on abortion will likely be one of the indicators of its fidelity and integrity.
HASH(0xa440dd08) out of 5 stars Worth reading by Christians of both Pro-Choice and Pro-Life leanings Feb. 25 2016
By Glenn Crouch - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book does a good and reasonably thorough examination of the views and practice of Abortion in the world of the Early Church. It includes examination of Jewish and non-Christian writers / philosophers, as well as a comparison of Early Church writers with them. A good representation of the Early Church writers is included. However be aware that this is also a relatively short book - so should not be seen as exhaustive - though it does give good references at the end. Thus perhaps better to see it as a good start for further investigation for those who desire more.

I also appreciated the section near the end, that examined how do we use what the Early Church did and taught - and in fact included a couple of good criticisms.

The final chapter whilst still relevant does seem a bit dated reading it in 2016 - and thus may need an update. However I think this is a valuable work for all Christians to read regardless of their Pro-Choice or Pro-Life leanings.


Feedback