September 11, 2006

Erotic Imagination

Category: Ethics,Theology :: Permalink

Rich Bledsoe writes about the need to develop a biblical erotic imagination.

Posted by John Barach @ 9:12 am | Discuss (2)

2 Responses to “Erotic Imagination”

  1. DadB Says:

    Bernard of Clairvaux wrote a number of poems “hymns?” with very erotic overtones directed toward God. All we sing now are “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded,” “Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee,” and “Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts.” I recall, although I can’t lay my hands on it, that he wrote some very sensual/explicit words as well, that might have been too risque for church hymnbooks.

  2. John Barach Says:

    True. Leon Podles argues that Bernard was largely responsible for messing up things by teaching Christians to view themselves individually as the bride of Christ.

    In the Bible, the Church as a whole is Christ’s bride. But individual believers aren’t each married (or betrothed) to Christ.

    But that’s what Bernard taught — each of us is the bride of Christ — and that led to things like the “Jesus is my boyfriend” sort of love songs that pass for Christian worship today.

    Incidentally, it seems as if some guys in the Middle Ages found that kind of mystical, “I’m the bride; Jesus is my husband” eroticism uncomfortably homoerotic, which may account for the other medieval tradition of rather eroticized mystical writing where the eroticism is directed toward Mary.

    In The Name of the Rose, if I recall correctly, Umberto Eco crafted the love (sex) scene by surrounding himself with all kinds of manuscripts of medieval mysticism as well as the Song of Songs and taking lines at random from them, so that most of the scene is drawn from things people wrote about Mary or the other saints!

    Be all of that as it may, that isn’t the sort of “erotic imagination” that Rich is suggesting we need to recover, of course.

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