A History of Pregnancy in Christianity: From Original Sin to Contemporary Abortion Debates

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This book examines changing views of procreation and fetal development throughout the history of the Christian tradition. This is the first comprehensive study of cultural perceptions of pregnancy, an area of scholarship that been understudied in the past. Pregnancy holds a central place in Christian ritual, iconography, and theology, including the dogma of the incarnation and the cult of Virgin Mary. This book provides a broad introduction to the attitudes and ideas within Western Christian communities by focusing on four periods of transition: Antiquity, the Enlightenment, modernity, and the present day. It lays the groundwork for further study of the interactions between biological models, cultural preconceptions, and religious beliefs.