Plough Logo

Shopping Cart

  View Cart



Not Just Good, but Beautiful

The Complementary Relationship between Man and Woman

Steven Lopes, Helen Alvaré, Editors

4.4 Stars on Goodreads Read Reviews

Contributors bring the wisdom of their various faiths and cultures to bear on this timely issue, examining, celebrating, and illustrating the natural union of man and woman in marriage as a universal cornerstone of healthy families, communities and societies.

Read a Sample Find at a nearby independent bookstore
Available Formats:
Available languages:
Ebook Once you place your order you will be able to choose from 3 e-book formats: Pdf, Epub and Mobi.

Get the ebook free by subscribing to Plough Quarterly. Learn More

About The Book

In an unprecedented interreligious conference in November 2014, Pope Francis and four hundred religious leaders and scholars from around the world met in Rome to explore what their diverse faiths teach about marriage and “the complementarity of man and woman.”

This book contains sixteen representative presentations at that closely followed event, Humanum: An International Interreligious Colloquium, which included Catholic, Evangelical, Anglican, Pentecostal, Eastern Orthodox, Anabaptist, Mormon, Jewish, Muslim, Jain, Buddhist, and Hindu delegates. Contributors bring the wisdom of their various faiths and cultures to bear on this timely issue, examining, celebrating, and defending the natural union of man and woman in marriage as a universal cornerstone of healthy families, communities and societies.

With broad global representation, Not Just Good, but Beautiful uses fresh language and images to highlight the beauty and benefits of marriage. Contributors do not represent political parties, but speak from their religious, intellectual, and cultural knowledge and experiences.


View Table of Contents

About The Authors

Pope Francis

Pope Francis is the leader of the world’s Catholics. Read More

Rick Warren

Rick Warren is senior pastor of Saddleback Church and author of The Purpose Driven Life.He initiated the P.E.A.C.E. Plan with the goal of involving Christians from every church in serving people in the areas of the greatest need globally. Read More

N. T. Wright

A leading bible scholar and former Anglican bishop, N.T. Wright is professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of St. Andrews. Read More

Gerhard Cardinal Müller

Gerhard Cardinal Müller is Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican. Read More

Jonathan Sacks

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks is former chief rabbi of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. Read More

Wael Farouq

A Muslim scholar, Wael Farouq is president of the Tawasul Cultural Center in Egypt. Read More

M. Prudence Allen

M. Prudence Allen is a philosophy professor and a Religious Sister of Mercy. Read More

Nissho Takeuchi

Nissho Takeuchi is a Buddhist abbot based in Japan. Read More

Jean Laffitte

Bishop Jean Laffitte is secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Family. Read More

Ignacio Ibarzabal

Ignacio Ibarzabal is founder and president of Grupo Solido, an international organization of young people promoting faithful marriage. Read More

Kala Acharya

A Hindu scholar, Kala Acharya is director of K.J. Somaiya Bharatiya Sanskriti Peetham Cultural and Research Institute. Read More

Jacqueline C. Rivers

Dr. Jacqueline C. Rivers is director of the Seymour Institute for Black Church and Policy Studies. Read More

Tsui Ying Sheng

Tsui-Ying Sheng is a lecturer of Taoist Life Education at Fu Jen Catholic University in Taiwan Read More

Henry B. Eyring

A Mormon leader outspoken on family issues, Henry B. Eyring is First Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Read More

Russell Moore

Russell Moore is president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. Read More

Reader Reviews Write a Review

Write a Review

Table of Contents

Pope FrancisPope Francis
Not Just Good, but Beautiful

“To reflect upon complementarity is nothing less than to ponder the dynamic harmonies at the heart of all Creation.… It is not just a good thing, but it is also beautiful.”

Gerhard Müller
An Opening to the Mystery of God

“This fact, indelible in human nature, reveals our radical dependence: we do not complete ourselves from our own selves, we are not totally self-sufficient.”

Jonathan Sacks
Seven Key Moments in History
A Jewish Perspective

“When a man and woman turn to one another in a bond of faithfulness, God robes them in garments of light, and we come as close as we will ever get to God himself, bringing new life into being, turning the prose of biology into the poetry of the human spirit, redeeming the darkness of the world by the radiance of love.”

Johann Christoph ArnoldJohann Christoph Arnold
A Living Witness for Marriage
An Anabaptist Perspective

“Marriage is more than a private contract between two people. God did not have in mind merely the personal happiness of separate individuals, but the establishment of God-fearing relationships in a communion of families under his rulership.”

Wael FarouqWael Farouq
We Exist in Relationship
A Muslim Perspective

“In the Arabic language and the Qur’an, ‘husband,’ ‘wife’ and ‘married couple’ are all indicated by the same word, zawj, which means ‘two persons, different from one another, bound together, who cannot manage without each other.’”

M. Prudence Allen, PhDM. Prudence Allen
Four Principles of Complementarity
A Philosophical Perspective

“We are most fortunate to live in a time of history when many important truths revealed in Scripture about the integral complementarity of woman and man have been verified by science and philosophy.… There is no excuse left to defend anything other than the equal dignity and significant difference of women and men.”

Abbot Nissho TakeuchiAbbot Nissho Takeuchi
Toward a More Perfect Love
A Buddhist Perspective

“Buddhism talks about two orientations of love.… The love of Bosatsu is not rooted in the ego. It is not until we start to pursue the truth and justice as the objectives of our love, that our love becomes the love of Bosatsu.… Love becomes eros when directed to the opposite sex; it becomes the love of Bosatsu when directed to God and Buddha.”

Bishop Jean LaffitteJean Laffitte
The Sacramental Reality of Human Love
A Catholic Perspective

“St. Paul’s analogy between the husband-wife relationship and the rapport of Christ with the church sheds light on the divine mystery…”

Rev. N. T. WrightN. T. Wright
From Genesis to Revelation
An Anglican Perspective

“The biblical picture of man and woman together in marriage is not something about which we can say, ‘Oh well, they had some funny ideas back then. We know better now.’ The biblical view of marriage is part of the larger whole of new creation, and it symbolizes and points to that divine plan.”

Rev. Rick WarrenRick Warren
What Must We Do?
An Evangelical Perspective

“Our culture has accepted two lies: that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle you must hate them or are afraid of them, and that to love someone means that you must agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense.”

Ignacio IbarzabalIgnacio Ibarzábal
Global Education in Love
A Millennial Perspective

“We are tired of what Pope Francis has referred to as ‘the throwaway culture.’ We are a large group of young people who don’t want to see any more broken families and are fed up with seeing so much unnecessary suffering.”

Ignacio IbarzabalKala Acharya
Only Half without the Other
A Hindu Perspective

“Human life is all about relationship. It cannot become complete unless it fuses into a fuller integrated bond which includes both man and woman, husband and wife, mother and child, grandmother and child, and male and female colleagues in vocation.”

Ignacio IbarzabalJacqueline C. Rivers
God Has Brought Us to This Place
A Pentecostal Perspective

“God has called us, the church, to a sacred duty to defend the innocents and the disadvantaged, the children and the poor.… We in the black church and all people of faith must exemplify strong, stable marriages founded on God’s principle of holy matrimony between one man and one woman. And we must promote the same among the faithful. As we are true to this calling, God will move.”

Ignacio IbarzabalTsui-Ying Sheng
The Union of Yin and Yang
A Taoist Perspective

“Though Yin and Yang look opposite to each other, they can’t exist independently.… If there is no Yin, Yang can’t appear alone. Likewise, if there is no Yang, Yin won’t exist. That’s the thought of coexistence, complementarity, and reciprocity. They form a perfect unity with two in one.”

President Henry B. EyringPresident Henry B. Eyring
To Become as One
A Mormon Perspective

“I have become a better person as I have loved and lived with her. We have been complementary beyond anything I could have imagined.… I realize now that we grew together into one – slowly lifting and shaping each other, year by year. As we absorbed strength from each other, it did not diminish our personal gifts. Our differences combined as if they were designed to create a better whole. Rather than dividing us, our differences bound us together.”

Russell D. MooreRussell D. Moore
Man, Woman, and the Mystery of Christ
A Baptist Perspective

“We are not created as ‘spouse A’ and ‘spouse B,’ but as man and as woman, and in marriage as husband and as wife, in parenting as mother and as father. Masculinity and femininity are not aspects of the fallen order to be overcome, but are instead part of what God declared from the beginning to be very good.”

You May Also Like