Cookies

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Department of Theology and Religion

Profiles

Publication details for Professor Gerard Loughlin

Loughlin, Gerard (2004). Alien Sex: The Body and Desire in Cinema and Theology. Oxford: Blackwell.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

From the publisher:

Gerard Loughlin is one of the leading theologians working at the interface between religion and contemporary culture. In this exceptional work, he uses cinema and the films it shows to think about the church and the visions of desire it displays.

In the figure of the alien, Loughlin finds a metaphor for that which is both most feared and desired: the body and its cravings. Secular culture follows St Augustine in thinking sex an alien force within the body. But the ancient church also found in sex the presence of a yet stranger desire that seculaity forgets: the divine eros that is always other to us even as it draws us into its embrace. In God we find that which is both infinitely alien and intimate to ourselves.

Alien Sex explores the Christian tradition of 'sacred eroticism' -- from Gregory of Nyssa to Hans Urs von Balthasar. Through a close reading of such films as The Devils, Breaking the Waves and Derek Jarman's The Garden. Loughlin shows how Christianity calls us to view sexuality from the perspective of heaven, not in order to escape the body but to encounter it more intensively. Through desire of the body we regain paradise.