Spanning thousands of years, this new collection brings together writings and teachings about sex, marriage, and family from the Jewish, Christian, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, and Confucian traditions. The volume includes traditional texts as well as contemporary materials showing how the religions have responded to the changing conditions and mores of modern life. It reveals the similarities and differences among the various religions and the development of ideas and teachings within each tradition. Selections shed light on each religion's views on a range of subjects, including sexuality and sexual pleasure, the meaning and purpose of marriage, the role of betrothal, the status of women, the place of romance, grounds for divorce, celibacy, and sexual deviance.
Separate chapters devoted to each religion include introductions by leading scholars that contextualize the readings. The selections are drawn from a variety of genres including ritual, legal, theological, poetic, and mythic texts. The volume contains such diverse examples as the Zohar on conjugal manners, a contemporary Episcopalian liturgy for same-sex unions, Qur'anic passages on the equality of the sexes, the Ka-masu-tra on husbands, wives, and lovers, Buddhist writings on celibacy, and Confucian teachings on filial piety.