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Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics [Paperback]

Margaret A. Farley
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

15 April 2008
Winner of the 2008 Grawemeyer Award in Religion This long-awaited book by one of American Christianity's foremost ethicists proposes a framework for sexual ethics whereby justice is the criterion for all loving, including love that is related to sexual activity and relationships. It begins with historical and cross-cultural explorations, then addresses the large questions of embodiment, gender, and sexuality, and finally delineates the justice framework for sexual ethics. Though Just Love's particular focus is Christian sexual ethics, Farley's framework is broad enough to have relevance for multiple traditions. Also covered are specific issues in sexual ethics, including same-sex relationships, marriage and family, divorce and second marriage, celibacy, and sex and its negativities.

Frequently Bought Together

Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics + The Sexual Person: Toward a Renewed Catholic Anthropology (Moral Traditions) (Moral Traditions Series)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 338 pages
  • Publisher: Continuum (15 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826429246
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826429247
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15.2 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 235,978 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


This book is a serious primer for anyone who wants to think about sexual ethics in some depth.  The scholarship is impeccable, and the footnotes not only give the broad sources but are often interesting in themselves. --Catholic Herald

About the Author

Margaret A. Farley holds the Gilbert L. Stark Chair in Christian Ethics at Yale University Divinity School, USA, where she has taught since 1971. She is also a past president of the Society of Christian Ethics and the Catholic Theological Society of America.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Just for Christians 7 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found this an interesting read, particularly when I got to the seven norms of sexual justice. These pretty well accord with my own thoughts about what I'd want with a partner. Fruitfulness is an interesting one, since I have thought that a good partnership is one in which the partners know how to help one another along, and do so, which may also be to the benefit of the world at large. I am glad Foley managed so well to avoid the big words, and was relatively gentle when it came to Foucault and the like. Practical and ontologically challenged people like me should probably go straight to the list of norms, and only afterwards go back to find the grounding for these, if they feel the need to. I think one of the problems of modern sociology is its self-criticism, which can leave a sense of any positive ground having been whipped from under one's feet and nothing left in its place. Despite Papal consternation, this book does seem to accord with social trends in at least the more advanced industrial societies, and should be interesting well beyond Roman Catholicism, Christianity and religion per se. I am left wondering how this proposal fits with Maslowian psychology. A cheeky thought to finish: modern biology tells us that flowers are the sexual parts of plants; well, they do not seem to be ashamed of waving it about!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars with theologians like this.... 6 Aug 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
With theologians like this there's hope left for the survival of North American and European Catholic Eucharistic Assemblies....provided their voices aren't stifled by the Vatican machine! This is a must-read for anyone influenced by academic theological writing....Of course, the Academy itself is flawed and idealist categories do infect the book. Nevertheless I recommend it to you...hugely!....JUST LOVE
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  71 reviews
220 of 254 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars thoughtful book on touchy subject 16 Jan 2007
By Julie Balamut - Published on Amazon.com
Dr. Farley's book is carefully written and convincingly argued. As a Catholic moral theologian in these times of limited theological discourse especially on matters concerning sexual ethics, I give Dr. Farley major credit for taking on this subject with honesty and courage. The book provides a wide range of historical evidence on many religious traditions regarding sexuality and she builds to the promise of the virtue of justice based on the human condition in regard to love, most importantly, that is everyone's due and the role of sexuality in love. My favorite part of her book is her discussion of moving beyond only the physical expression of sexuality that she quite rightly, I think, states has had too much emphasis throughout history and trips us up to this day and argues for the importance of the human need and importance of love. I hope all thoughtful, spiritual readers of all religious traditions and sexual orientation who want a thoughtful, well-reasoned theological study and argument for justice in love read this book. Dr. Farley is a refreshing, thoughtful voice on this subject.
132 of 153 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Graceful Challenge 4 Jun 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Sr. Margaret Farley, R.S.M., Ph. D., writes in "Just Love" a compelling and comprehensive framework for evaluating sex ethically in today's complicated world. In so doing, she challenges traditional understandings of sex as being appropriate only in opposite-sex marriage, while at the same time examining the challenges to monogamy and commitment that so many face today. Sr. Farley's wide consideration of sexual experience, traditional and contemporary arguments across different religious frameworks and cultures, and unflinching confrontation and consideration of what some theologians refuse to consider, all contribute to a masterful work informed by a lifetime of teaching ethics at Yale University.

Most importantly, Sr. Farley brings a heart deeply open to God's creation and the goodness and harm that human beings embody and live out in sexual experience and in relationship. Her love of God and of people is evident on every page, and this depth of love is matched by a surpassing intellect that speaks in clear, bold arguments. Please considering purchasing and reading this book if you have interest in sexual ethics, relationships, contemporary Christian ethics, or any number of others areas covered by "Just Love."
65 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellently written, impressive knowledge 6 Jun 2012
By Dr. Rollie Lal - Published on Amazon.com
This book is an extremely balanced and calm analysis. Farley's writing style is accessible and compelling, and she presents an enormous amount of religious information about world religions as well as Christianity, and in a balanced manner. That is an extremely difficult task, and she should be commended for her research and contribution. The Vatican should be chastised for trying to quiet her voice of reason. Luckily, their efforts have only increased the attention to this excellent book.
81 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Work as important in this area as the REverend Father Charles Curran, Roman Catholic moral theologian 5 Jun 2012
By C. Scanlon - Published on Amazon.com
One star reviews here love to cut and paste irrelevant material to burn this good book which brings us to consider very seriously that which makes us most truly human, how we love, with justice.

But no one really asks, who wrote this book. Knowing the author is a woman seems sufficient to dismiss her, for some.

Please permit me to cut and paste from a recent National Catholic Reporter article about Farley and this, her good book, Just Love:

"Farley is a former president of the Catholic Theological Society of America and of the Christian Ethics Society. She has received 11 honorary degrees and in 1992 was awarded the CTSA's highest honor for theological achievement, the John Courtney Murray Award."

Past President of the CATHOLIC Theological Society of America, etc., etc.

And if you do NOT know who the Reverend Father John Courtney Murray is (among other things author of Religious Liberty: Catholic Struggles with Pluralism), and what this award signifies, then please just keep quiet in church (folks only think it sounds ignorant to dismiss this book and its author anyway, out of hand), get this book like the rest of us, and learn who we are and how we love more fully, more justly, most truly.

Just love. Only love.
Love thy enemy.
Read this book.
Learn to love, more justly.
93 of 113 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A most interesting work 20 Mar 2007
By V. M. Cooke - Published on Amazon.com
The author utilizes a Neo-Kantian general or formal ethics to address specific issues of sexual morality. In case you are wondering 'just' in the title does not mean 'only' but 'in accord with justice'. It is well written and well thought out. The weakness of the book from a philosophical point of view is that the general ethics is not argued for at length. It is more or less presupposed, although it is presented in an intuitively attractive manner. Most time is spent on applying the Neo-Kantian perspective to sexual matters. This is something which, to my knowledge has not been done before. The ethics elaborated here can be called Christian because of the author's obvious motivation and perspective. It is weak however in providing a basis for the conclusions in scripture and church tradition. Thus this work is exactly what its title indicates, a framework or sketch, rather than a comprehensive treatment.
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