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Deadly dates: Bodies and sex in spiritualist Heavens

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Chapter Summary

Marriage is divinely ordained, and the union of God and the church stands as the ideal union to which humans should aspire. Love and eros were intrinsic parts of life and death, and this chapter argues that Spiritualism denied the supremacy of the soul over the body as well as other concomitant Enlightenment dualisms that privileged one term of an opposition at the cost of the second. First, the author examines Swedenborg's writings on love and marriage for their influence on Spiritualist understanding. He then traces the varieties of sex in Spiritualist heavens and argues that this esoteric movement refused to sacrifice the body on the altar of the soul. The importance of the body and its expression in sexuality was never denied, however. Eros was more than appropriate, it was divine.

Keywords: Enlightenment dualisms; eros; Spiritualist Heavens; Swedenborg's writings



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