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June 27 , 2007

The Sacred Fire


The Sacred Fire
by B.Z. Goldberg

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"There is a huge amount of academic 19th century literature relating to sacred sexuality. However, there are not many books which cover this subject matter for the general reader: this book is one of the few. Goldberg approaches the culturally sensitive issue of the intersection of religion and sex frankly and in some depth.

That said, this work has a few problems which need to be kept in mind while reading it. There is not much in the way of apparatus aside from a bibliography: not even the Bible quotes are attributed. Goldberg also invents a number of descriptive passages, particularly in the second section. While these go a long way towards dimensionalizing this material, they include a number of purely speculative details which are not identified as such.

Perhaps the best part of this book is the discussion of the evolution of the attitude towards sexuality in Christianity. Goldberg also describes a number of little-known curious cults such as the Russian Skopzi, the mediaeval flagellants, and others. Long out of print, but available used, this book serves as a useful introduction to the subject and sheds light on some little known corners of the subject of sacred sexuality."

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