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Title page for ETD etd-07202012-103513

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Webster, Jessica Kay
URN etd-07202012-103513
Title Advocating christian marriage in the age of sexual renunciation
Degree Master of Arts
Department Religion
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Robin Jensen Committee Chair
Joel Harrington Committee Member
  • Church History
  • Tertullian
  • Clement of Alexandria
  • Continence
  • Marriage
Date of Defense 2012-07-16
Availability unrestricted
Although the ideal of sexual renunciation was gaining popularity within many Christian groups in the second and third centuries, Clement of Alexandria and Tertullian stand out as two early Church Fathers who defended marriage. Arguing against the Christians who were rejecting marriage and family life, Clement and Tertullian both upheld Christian marriage at a critical point in the debate. Despite Tertullian’s belief that the chaste, celibate life was better than the married one, he saw the goodness of Christian marriage. Clement also encouraged Christians to strive for chastity, believing it could be achieved even within marriage. Throughout each of their writings on marriage, family, and the household, the particular cultural contexts of Clement and Tertullian - Greek Alexandria and Roman Carthage, respectively – are evident. Shaped by their environments as well as the biblical scriptures, both Clement and Tertullian supported the institution of marriage alongside the values of continence and chastity, thereby fortifying the foundation of Christian marriage that later Christian thinkers such as Augustine and John Chrysostom would further develop.
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