After my previous post on this topic, I had the pleasure to receive many interesting papers from friends and colleagues (some of them are still unpublished or unfinished and their authors asked me not to discuss them on the blog). One of them is a passage of Shaji George Kochuthara's PhD thesis about woman/man relationship as depicted in the Genesis account. The author extensively quotes from many authorities, but as a reader grown up in a Catholic country I have been strongly impressed by his conclusions, as if they vividly contrasted with the common assumptions of what one unconsciously identifies as Catholic. The following ones are a couple of my reflections determined by Shaji's pages.
1) Physical contacts –maintains Kochuthara together with many contemporary theologians– have a (positive) place of their own in the Bible and in the Christian faith. Love, I would add, is not the veil which makes them appear nicer and, hence, legitimates them. On the other hand, love is important insofar as it makes one abandon one's defensive attitude towards the Other. Thus, love makes a true sexual encounter possible.
2) Kochuthara strongly emphasises the companionship between man and woman as depicted in the Genesis account about Adam and Eve. However, much of this has been lost in the subsequent centuries and women/men relationships have often been devoid of friendship and of mutuality. In this way, contemporaries now accept, many women have been deprived of their "freedom" (whatever this means). But it is not just that. The segregation of women also meant (and means) that women have been talking and sharing their inner world with other women only, thus depriving men of an important component of their lives. Men segregated themselves while segregating women. They unconsciously chose not to enjoy the friendship of human beings with which they were anyway spending much time together. In some email exchanges, Kochuthara seems to be even more definitive than I am about this point. I am, instead, not sure whether men need women in order to be full human beings. Possibly, friendship with other men may also help. But, overlooking the possibilities of what one already has (a wife/a sister/a daughter…) seems to me anyway a waste of emotional energies. In persons not used to dedicate much time to personal relationships (such as the man-to-man friendships hinted at above) it may also mean that one has NO chance at all to experience a true friendship.