- Paperback: 298 pages
- Publisher: Logos Press (August 16, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1411626249
- ISBN-13: 978-1411626249
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,804,025 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The History and Philosophy of Marriage: A Christian Polygamy Sourcebook
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“This little volume is a literary curiosity…of earnestness and research...we cheerfully admit its right to a courteous hearing.” --The New York Times
“There is a mixture of gaiety and seriousness in this title which at once fixes the attention." --Atlantic Monthly
“This is one of the strange things of this strange time—a book written in favor of polygamy [against monogamy]" --The New York Evening Post
About the Author
Nathan Braun was presidential scholar at the University of Alberta--Augustana (www.augustana.ca) when he founded Christian Humanists & Rationalists, a progressive “family of ministries” in 1999. His first book, Good News for All Creation with Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D., is also available from: Lantern Books; the Society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians; Peaceable University; the Christian Vegetarian Association; and the Society of Occult & Vegetarian Esotericists.
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Top customer reviews
The book, in essence, shows how Christianity became perverted by contact with a mix of the licentious "monogamy" of the Romans and the asceticism of the Gnostic religion. This led to a growing denial of polygamy over the first several centuries after Christ (it took several hundred years to transform the practice into a "sin" in the minds of the people) and eventually led to the rejection of marriage in favor of celibacy for the priesthood.
Additional insight is gained by reading the appendices, of which a large part consist of the author's refutation of some of his reader's attempts to rebut his arguments.
I found his perspective, from the 1800s, to be refreshing. Today's acquiescence to feminism was unthinkable in those days as feminism was still viewed as what it is -- a destructive attack on women and the family. Sadly, the poetic language contained in his book celebrating the beauty of delicate femininity and the strength of loving masculinity are often absent from what today passes for literature. In this way, this book is a refreshing reminder of times long ago when fathers were unashamedly masculine and women were proud to be mothers.
I rated this a 4 out of 5 only because I wanted to read more details about the historical decline of polygamy in Westernized countries. Much was said about the early practices of the Romans, Gnostics, and their link to the church. It was convincing and valuable, but I felt like much more could have been said (if indeed records exist) about the intervening years between early Christianity and the corrupt Romanized church of the Middle Ages in relation to the slow decline of polygamy. He did include some important hints and milestones, but this inclusion would've made the book much more powerful in my opinion.
Overall, researching this topic has, by far, taught me the most about the idea of Christian liberty versus man's Pharisaical traditions than any other. Although I have no active plans to act on this freedom, my perspective on it has changed.
I no longer see polygamy as the result of a sexually perverse mind; I see it as God's wonderful provision for women and families. God seems to be saying through His law, "take care of each other", "don't leave widows unattended for", "children are wonderful blessings", and "large, strong, cooperative families are to be enjoyed by all." Enforced monogamy effectively removes God's provision.
The History & Philosophy of Marriage showed convincingly that polygamy is not primarily about sex or status. The author demonstrated the opposite: that sexual perversions thrive more in an enforced monogamistic culture than in a polygamous one.
The author raises some powerful questions. After reading and reflecting on the book, it seems natural to ask, "what other traditions have taken the place of God's revealed will?" Overall, the book is well worth reading and I would recommend it to anyone wanting to understand God and the freedoms and responsibilities He's given us more fully.