Article thumbnail

To have authority over a body : 1 Corinthians 7:3-4 and the conjugal debt

By Lisa Kristin. Gilbert

Abstract

Commentaries on the medieval notion of the "conjugal debt" have often emphasized its reciprocal nature, but its inequality becomes apparent when re-embedded into its theological, medical, and legal contexts. By tracing the theology that accompanied 1 Cor 7:3-4 through selected theologians, I will demonstrate that Paul's words did not function in equivalent ways for both spouses. By examining medieval medical understandings of human physiology, I will ask what it means to 'have authority over a body' when the bodies themselves are not equal. Finally, by demonstrating ways in which consent and coercion blurred together in twelfth-century legal debates, I will ask how meaningful it is to grant spouses equal rights to sex when their marriage may have been coerced. The topic will serve as a broader meditation on what it means to 'have authority over a body' and to conceive of marital sexuality as a system of debt

Topics: Marriage law -- Europe -- History., Consent (Law) -- Europe -- History., Sex customs -- Europe -- History.
Publisher: McGill University
Year: 2007
OAI identifier: oai:digitool.library.mcgill.ca:101880
Provided by: eScholarship@McGill
Download PDF:
Sorry, we are unable to provide the full text but you may find it at the following location(s):
  • http://digitool.Library.McGill... (external link)

  • To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.

    Suggested articles