Saturday, May 07, 2005

Soul of Sex on the Web

“Sex is infinitely more mysterious than we usually imagine it to be and it is only superficially considered when we talk about it in terms of hormones and the mechanics of lovemaking. I approach sex here as a lover of mysteries. I have written about eros in all my books, but here I focus on sexuality itself. I take a long look at the body, especially as it is presented in art and religion, for signs of the mysteries involved in bodies and lovemaking. When I tease out those hidden meanings, I apply them to life and culture on a larger scale with the idea that we might be less depressed and less confused if we were able to make our surroundings more sexual and allow pleasure to be a valid goal in life...
– Thomas Moore

For the C.G. Jung Club of Orange County, Holly Fincher enthusiastically reviews the book from a Jungian perspective, emphasizing sex’s "imaginal qualities," while Bert Archer finds, "There are so many subtleties of meaning and reception involved here – the possibility that sexism, objectification and violence are different in sexual fantasy and play than they are in sexual or social life..." Archer is unconvinced that religious traditions "have much to add to understanding the erotic."

Daniel R. Heimbach, professor of Christian Ethics at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary vilifies The Soul of Sex as pagan sexual morality. In 1999 he interprets the book according to his understanding of Christianity and in his 2004 book, True Sexual Morality: Recovering Biblical Standards for a Culture in Crisis, he uses Moore's views to represent a pagan perspective. Heimbach exemplifies the moralism of some evangelical approaches which contribute to current discomfort and confusion about sex and spirituality.

A less extreme position is taken by Robert Sweetman in his review for Pro Rege which explores "topics relevant to Reformed Christian education."
Paul Ladd writes a positive review for BookPage’s July 1998 newsletter. For the Boston Globe, Ellen Clegg writes a review saying that Thomas Moore "strives for nothing less than a new ethic, one that blends soul and spirit and pries loose the grip of prudish moralism."
Debora Myers quotes Moore in her light piece, "An Erotic Life" while Hadley Richarde quotes Plato and Thomas Moore in her essay, "Wonderfully Made".

Spirituality & Health recommends The Soul of Sex and provides an excerpt on yearning.