Domestic violence is a significant threat to women's survival. But Christian understandings of marriage often prevent women from resisting abusive relationships. Can the Church's teaching on marriage be reshaped so that it helps women to survive, rather than encourage them to submit to their husband, bear their cross, or sacrifice themselves for the sake of their marriage?
Focusing on everyday practices of marriage in two very different contexts: Argentina and England, Reimagining Theologies of Marriage in Contexts of Domestic Violence considers how Christian understandings of marriage as a covenant or sacrament relate to the lived experience of marriage. Drawing on Augustine's notion of the goods of marriage, and on belief in the saving power of marriage, this book suggests that only when the wellbeing of bodies is central to a marriage can it have the power to save.
Rachel Starr is Director of Studies for the Centre for Ministerial Formation at the Queen's Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education, Birmingham, UK. She teaches biblical studies, gender and theology. Her book, The SCM Studyguide to Biblical Hermeneutics (2006), co-written with David Holgate, is used in the Methodist Church's new course for Local Preachers and Worship Leaders. Rachel completed her doctorate at Instituto Superior Evangélico de Estudios Teológicos (Protestant Institute for Advanced Theological Studies) in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
2 Domestic violence and the churches in Argentina and England
3 The 'goods of marriage' and their impact on domestic violence
4 Covenantal models of marriage and their impact on domestic violence
5 Sacramental models of marriage and their impact on domestic violence
6 Reimagining the saving power of marriage in contexts of domestic violence
7 When salvation is survival