I don't exactly recall where I came across this book (edit: it was Wilson Cochrane who recommended it to me), but I bumped into it earlier in 2022 and I just recently picked it up to read it through. It was fantastic, I'm so glad I did.
This book is essentially an exposition on the last 250 years of philosophical development in western culture. Starting with the romantics, making his way through Nietzsche, Marx, and Darwin, continuing through Freud, and making his way into the countercultural 1960s and beyond (with. many other omitted from this list along the way), Trueman traces the layer-upon-layer of development of our understanding of the self that eventually culminated in the present moment with its current view of the self, and how sexuality and sexual expression is understood as a central facet of who we are. Trueman shows that the present moment and its conversations about sexual ethics are the natural culmination of the idea of the "theraputic self" and what it means when any sense of external authority to the world is removed from the ethical framework.
This was a dense read - it reads like an academic book on the history of philosophy - but it was a fantastic book. As someone who engages culture as a part of my pastoral vocation, I feel like I understand the intellectual underpinnings and trajectory of our culture's ethical imagination in a way I never did before. It also has all kinds of thoughts churning inside about how we can meaningfully engage said culture in dialogue.
Anyone who doesn't mind an academic-type read and who wants a deep understanding of the underpinnings of our culture's understanding of our self and sexuality.
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