HUMAN SEXUALITY, HISTORY, AND CULTURE: THE ESSENTIALIST / SOCIAL CONSTRUCTIONIST CONTROVERSY AND THE METHODOLOGICAL PROBLEM OF STUDYING 'SEXUALITY' IN THE NEW TESTAMENT AND ITS WORLD
Abstract1. Introductiont Of late, there has been a marked proliferation of literature concerning the issue of sexuality in the New Testament and its world. Much of this work was stimulated by the societal and ecclesiastical debates concerning contemporary issues of sexual ethics, especially homosexuality. Strangely enough, most of these publications pay little or no attention to the relevant theoretical debate in the historical and social sciences where the study of 'sexual matters' in historical and cross-cultural perspective (which is, after all, what the historical study of the New Testament is concerned with), as well as the associated methodological problems, have been the subject of intense scholarly discussion during the last twenty odd years.2 As a result, historical and cross-cultural scholarship tends to be much more sophisticated and methodologically sound than the field of New Testament Studies. This is despite the fact that recent trends in New Testament scholarship have shown a remarkable predilection for methodological issues.
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