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Cursed Blessings : Sex and Religious Radical Dissent in Early Modern Europe - Umberto Grassi

Cursed Blessings

Sex and Religious Radical Dissent in Early Modern Europe

By: Umberto Grassi (Editor)

Hardcover | 21 June 2024

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Cursed Blessings explores the relationship between sexual nonconformity and religious radical dissent in the early modern Western European world. While many studies have been devoted to the process of the "hereticalization" of nonnormative sexual practices and its use in anti-heretical propaganda, this book is entirely devoted to understanding the meaning of unconventional sexual behaviors from the perspective of the dissenters.

Divided into three parts, the first focuses on the Italian peninsula and explores alternative views on sexuality inspired by Renaissance currents of anti-clericalism, ancient Christian heresies, traditions of apocrypha of the New Testament, and Rabbinic literature. It also examines how embodied and gendered experiences influenced the dissenting views of religious women. The second part explores how reflections on Original Sin led to the questioning of Christian assumptions regarding sex and gender, highlighting the relationship between the criticism of sexual morality and disputes on free will, spirituality, and redemption. The third part examines how most of these threads were entwined into a more coherent philosophical framework in the writings of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century erudite libertines.

This book is designed for academic readers, including graduate and undergraduate students. Given its intersectional approach, it will be of interest to researchers, teachers, and students in a wide array of fields, including religious, gender, and sexuality studies, as well as literature. This book also tackles issues that are relevant to present-day debates, such as the problematic relations between sexuality and religion and the ongoing polemics surrounding the complicated interactions between religion and politics.

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