Prof. Adrian Thatcher
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The One Sex Theory - and why it still matters

Could the ancient world really have believed there was only one sex? Increasingly I have found confirmation of this theory, and I have described it in my last two books. In this paper, which I read to the research seminar in the Theology and Religion Department at the University of Exeter in November, 2012, I traced out my further thinking about the continuing importance of the one-sex theory. I attempted

1. To describe what happened in our social and intellectual history, within the modern period, which leaves us thinking that there are two sexes;

2. To uncover the reliance of much Church and theological teaching about sex and gender upon the language and nomenclature of late modernity, rather than upon considerations of Theology and Christology;

3. To suggest that the task of theology is to map the redeeming of the one sex, not the baptizing of two; and to ask how this might be expressed at the present time.

Two of the most bitter controversies in the churches at the present time, those over the ordination of women and same-sex intimacy, are illuminated by the theory. One side in each of the controversies perpetuates the single-sex continuum which insists on the metaphysical and practical imperfection of women in relation to men.

I also used material from this lecture as part of a study day on theologies of gender at Queen's College, Birmingham, on April 20th, 2013.
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