Pastoral Psychology

, Volume 56, Issue 3, pp 269–293 | Cite as

From Grace Alone to Grace Alone: Male Body Image and Intimacy at Princeton Seminary

  • Nathan Carlin


This essay explores recent literature on male body image and reports the findings of empirical research of male body image on the campus of Princeton Seminary. While the author did not find that Princeton Seminary men suffer from what is being called the “Adonis Complex” in any pathological sense, the author did find that the “talking taboo” among seminary men regarding intimate matters is still operative and that these men seem to be longing for male intimacy, as evidenced by their eager and voluntary support of my study. Surprisingly, the author found that, during the course of his interviews, theological language about grace seemed to be subverting the experience of intimacy and, ironically, the experience of grace itself.


Adonis complex Culbertson Dittes Rogers Sullivan Grace 



This essay, which is a revised version of my senior thesis at Princeton Seminary, is dedicated to Robert Dykstra, my mentor and friend.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Religious Studies—MS 15Rice UniversityHoustonUSA

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