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January 29 , 2010

The Gift of Sublimation: A Psychoanalytic Study of Multiple Masculinities


Today, diversity of gender and sexuality is beginning to be recognized and celebrated, even while many religious denominations still resist these cultural changes. The Gift of Sublimation offers pastoral interpretations of these social shifts in the light of psychological principles, and argues that there is, historically, not only one view of masculinity but multiple conceptions. This discussion covers topics as diverse as the moral disapproval of masturbation; the efforts of some churches to convince homosexual men to adopt a heterosexual orientation; the dynamics of male envy of female longevity; the homosexual tendencies of King James I of England and VI of Scotland; and biblical portraits of God’s body, gender, and sexuality. Nathan Carlin and Donald Capps make special use of the psychoanalytic concept of sublimation: the redirection of sexual desires that are considered unacceptable or unworthy towards interests and aspirations that are considered acceptable and worthy. While the use of psychoanalytic hermeneutics here is likely to raise various red flags for potential religious readers, especially for those who have been informed that Sigmund Freud was hostile towards religion, this book presents a rather different view, focussing on religious sublimation.
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