Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)




Lu Ann Homza

Committee Members

Randi Rashkover

Philip Daileader

Mary Kirsh


This thesis is an exploration of Medieval Jewish and Christian conceptions of sex and aims to challenge the notion of Judeo-Christian values. Medieval Judaism and Christianity are at odds with each other in their understandings of sexuality. By considering Judaism, the belief that medieval religion was averse to sexuality and sexual pleasure is disproven. An analysis of religious works, such as those produced by Christian theologians and Jewish rabbis, yields the following conclusion: medieval Christianity restricted sex on the basis of abstinence, while medieval Judaism restricted sex on the basis of ritual impurity but mandated sex for procreation and female pleasure. Medieval Jewish texts promoted foreplay and permitted non-procreative sex acts. This research produces a better picture of medieval sexuality, one that includes Judaism’s openness towards male and female sexual pleasure.