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May 22, 2021
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v2.1 Reference

The Complementarity of Women and Men

Philosophy, Theology, Psychology, and Art

Edited by Paul C. Vitz
The Complementarity of Women and Men provides a Catholic Christian case that men and women are in certain respects quite different but also have a positive, synergistic complementary relationship. Although differences and their mutually supporting relationships are focused on throughout the volume, men and women are assumed to have equal dignity and value. This underlying interpretation comes from the familiar, basic theological position in Genesis that both sexes were made in the image of God.

After a cogent philosophical introduction to complementary differences by J. Budziszewski, this position is developed from theological, philosophical, and historical perspectives by Sr. Prudence Allen. Next Deborah Savage, building upon the writings of St. John Paul II, gives a strong theological basis for complementarity. This is followed by Elizabeth Lev's chapter presenting new and surprising art history evidence from the paintings of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel supporting the complementarity interpretation. A final chapter by Paul Vitz documents and summarizes the scientific evidence supporting sexual difference and complementarity in the disciplines of psychology and neuroscience.

As a consequence of both the individual chapters and the integrated understanding they present The Complementarity of Women and Men is a significant contribution to the important, complex, contemporary debate about men, women, sex, and gender.

About the Author

Paul Vitz is professor emeritus of psychology at New York University and senior scholar and professor at Divine Mercy University, Sterling, VA, as well as the author of Faith of the Fatherless: The Psychology of Atheism.


"A very useful resource for people on the various modalities of male-female complementarity. A very 'catholic' collection—looking at the same truth from distinct vantage points, demonstrating the synergy which is the mark of authentic complementarity."—Susan Selner-Wright, St. John Vianney Theological Seminary

"This book should be welcomed with shouts of joy. It clarifies a subject regularly, and even willfully misunderstood today, yet absolutely essential for correcting and ameliorating the 'battle of the sexes' and gender ideology. It offers rigorous intellectual argument, empirical science, and artistic illustration of the very good news that men and women are differently gifted but oriented to fruitful collaboration. And this book explores varied disciplines at a high level with language accessible to a wide variety of readers."—Helen Alvaré, Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University

"Are sex differences merely an imposition of culture? Or is there empirical evidence showing that there are important differences grounded in reality? These are the questions that guide the contributors of The Complementarity of Women and Men on an inspiring journey to discover the feminine and the masculine, what unites them and what distinguishes them. Every chapter provides a case for this complementarity from a different perspective: theological, philosophical, artistic, psychological, and scientific. Every chapter shows how the complementarity between man and woman is an encounter that generates life and meaning at all levels. Five great lessons by five great scholars who passionately debate—to use J. Budziszewski's words—about how men and women are 'different in corresponding ways,''complementary opposites—alike in their humanity but different in ways that make them natural partners.'"—Wael Farouq, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan

9780813233888 : the-complementarity-of-women-and-men-vitz
Paperback / softback
256 Pages
$34.95 USD

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