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Women through whom death suffering and toil came into the world were creatures dominated by their sex So taught the Bible and patristic tradition To control and punish women particularly their bodies and their dangerous disruptive sexuality was therefore mans workKlapische-Zuber 13 Sexual morality exemplified in the theological literature of the twelfth through fifteenth centuries and the canon laws that predominated order in medieval life radically affected marital behaviour and the sexual relationships women had with their spouses Marital sexual conduct based on the patristic beliefs of Christianity during the High and Late Middle Ages subjugated women to repress sexual desire other then for procreation and bequeath their chastity to their husbands This essay will first focus on the basic philosophy of Christian Theology and the ethical laws that were established by the Church to instruct and control sexual conduct in marriage Secondly this essay will concentrate on the specific virtue of conjugal chastity and its importance in the continuity of the medieval family and European culture The oppressive discipline that was required of medieval women who suffered as a result of their absolute subordination to their husbands will also be emphasized throughout this paper Early Christian Theology was founded on traditions and justified by interpretations made from the Holy Scriptures Jesus said remarkably little about sexual conduct nor was sex a central issue in his moral teachings yet followers such as St Augustine during the first four or five centuries after Jesuss death were far more concerned about moral sexuality than Jesus himself had been Brundage 2 It was said that Augustine and his contemporaries among the Fathers considered sex a grave moral danger in part because they believed that sexual feelings and urgesparticularly the reactions of the genital organs were not fully under the control of human will Brundage 81 St Augustine and St Jerome both ancient biblical interpreters and patristic
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