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The period between 1857 and 1957 saw a transformation in Anglican sexual understanding when the established church negotiated substantial new normative interpretations of marriage, sexuality, citizenship, and priesthood. Timothy Jones demonstrates how the introduction of female voices into the previously exclusively male spheres of power transformed understandings of gender. He also delineates the impact of the Anglo-Catholic revival on Anglican sexual culture, in particular, the significance of catholic sacramentality on understandings of the relationship between the sexual and the spiritual. Sexual Politics in the Church of Englandexposes a surprisingly dynamic and dialogical relationship between theology, feminism, and the new sexual sciences that resists the teleologies of secularisation that dominate the histories of sexuality and Christianity in Britain. The story of Anglican sexual politics told in this book firmly rebuts contemporary notions of the Church as an inevitably reactionary institution. On the contrary, it reveals the Church's historic capacity to renegotiate gender and sexual ideologies, and shows how it was often at the forefront of sexual change in British society.
Timothy Jones is lecturer in history and co-director of the Centre for Gender Studies in Wales at the University of Glamorgan. From July 2012 he will also hold an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award at La Trobe University, Melbourne.