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The Erotic Word: Sexuality, Spirituality, and the Bible Paperback – February 24, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0195181623 ISBN-10: 019518162X

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (February 24, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019518162X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195181623
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 5.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #294,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


"In The Erotic Word, David Carr shows us how we can read the Bible as literature meant to challenge and empower us. He combines close reading, cultural and historical contexts, and apt personal observations to illuminate the text. Carr's meditations on the human condition, with a special focus on sexuality, spirituality, love, desire, marriage, divorce, and gender relationships, are truly engaging. His writing brings together a community of scholars, writers, artists, teachers and readers-as well as what he has learned from his own family, friends, and students. This book has much to teach us about how to read, love, and live fully in the world."--Kyoko Mori, author of Stone Field, True Arrow and Polite Lies: On Being a Woman Caught Between Cultures


"The Erotic Word is honest, accessible, and always thought-provoking. Carr is clear that there is no one biblical view of sexuality, but he makes a compelling case that the Bible can be read to embrace sexual eros as well as to give us insights into love gone awry."--Judith Plaskow, author of Standing Again at Sinai: Judaism from a Feminist Perspective


"A wonderfully fresh, intelligent, and delightful resource for those who seek to make connections in Hebrew Scripture between erotic power and divine life, patriarchal structures and the struggles for liberation. The Sacred whispers through these pages!"--Carter Heyward, Episcopal Divinity School


"This is a lucid, fresh, and learned study of the Bible's complex views of sexuality and their impact on later readers. The description of eroticism and spirituality in the Bible and beyond is rich and subtle. While writing from a Christian perspective, Carr reads Scripture with an honesty and intensity that will engage readers outside his faith community as well."--Michael V. Fox, Halls-Bascom Professor of Hebrew,University of Wisconsin-Madison, and author of The Song of Songs and the Ancient Egyptian Love Songs


About the Author


David Carr is Professor of Old Testament/Hebrew Bible at Union Theological Seminary.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By JCarreno on August 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
While showing an impressive array of scholarly materials, I have received Carr's book with mixed feelings.

Carr takes on the important but difficult task of bringing spirituality and sexuality together, but, his attempt does not seem to me to be entirely successful or convincing.

On the one hand, although Carr constantly reminds us that eros is more than mere sexuality, he continuously focuses on eros through the lenses of carnal desires. On the other hand, while Carr seeks to make important claims about spirituality, he undermines his endeavor in two ways: first, by never making clear the distinction and inter-relation between eros and agape and passing over in silence the transition from erotic longing to mystical marriage; and on the other hand, by treating the Bible as a narrative and as a document, but not as the Word of God. Consequently, he does not earnestly put into question the extent to which he eroticizes God, the self, and the community of faith: by speaking of God as an erotic lover, have we not ended up making God in our image and likeness?

Ostensibly Carr sidelines large sections of the Bible and of the Christian tradition that make difficult demands on erotic love because they run contrary to his own open agenda, namely, to justify progressive sexual mores (from homosexuality to extra-marital and non-reproductive sexuality) on the basis of the Bible. It is not surprising, then, that his reading of well-know texts like Genesis 2 or Isaiah 5 strike one as rather contrived.

Where the book succeeds, however, is in the chapters devoted to the Song of Songs (i.e., Part III of the book), where the author brings a number of archeological findings in support of a reading that is rather well-balanced and transparent.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Luis VINE VOICE on May 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is an invitation to live life to its fullest, full of love toward Gods' creation! This book is a an exploration of love without dogma, of love full of eros thought. This book invites you to appreciate God's creation in you and humanity. Come and enjoy it!
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By Ms. L on December 3, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I used this book in my church curriculum. It is clearly written and thought-provoking, and I would recommend it. Thank you Dr. David Carr!
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10 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Johan du Toit on April 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
I am very pleased that I purchased and read this book. I am in agreement with Dr Carr that Biblical interpretations have tended to split body and spirit and therefore also sexuality and spirituality. His view on gender equality as opposed to a patriarchal male dominated system also sits well with me.

There are two points of view expressed in the book that trouble me. The first is that erotic love is presented as the only expression of biblical love. Eros that is not tempered by phileo and agapè love will lead to rampant sexual expression.

My second problem with the book is a more serious one. I am surprised by the mental gymnastics and twisting of scripture that he embarks on to justify same-sex erotic behavior. I am very aware of the fact that the church has historically not dealt with this sensitive topic very wisely and much can and should be said about it. To me the low point in the book is where he reads Jesus' sanction of it into His discussion with the Pharisees in Mark 10. Great pity and maybe even great shame!
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4 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 29, 2003
Format: Hardcover
"The Erotic Word" by David Carr is an insightful and scholarly book which every student of the Bible should have in his library. It is so well written that even I, a layman, found it captivating and an easy read. Don't miss it!
Ellie Emrich
San Diego
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