January 7, 2013

Aristotle and sex in the 17th Century

It was up to a certain point common to find books "signed" by famous ancient authors, but penned spuriously by other people. Al-Kindi for instance is responsible for a big confusion, since he wrote "The Theology of Aristotle", as if it had being written by Aristotle himself. Thomas Aquinas was the first one, five centuries later, to suspect that that wasn't Aristotle's pen.

In 1684 somebody published –along with some texts by Albert Magnus– a manual for sex and pregnancy, as if the author had been Aristotle: Aristotle's Masterpiece (available online). Due to his authority and to the common sense expressed, it was quite popular.

Congenital malformations and physical defects were explained as a consequence of having sinned while having intercourse.

One might find very actual ideas, such as: "Matrimony, in the present age, is looked upon as a most insupportable yoke."


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