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It's when I see things like this that I'm tempted to agree with BNW


Off-Topic Discussions

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Yes its edited a bit... im tired and my grammer is worse then usual, i normally try to pre edit, but tis 1:30 and im tired lol

Shadow Lodge

Drat.. website went down and lazarus isn't working.

Darkwingduck wrote:
And I think you do want to make the bible look as bad as possible.

The Bible doesn't need my help. My honest opinion of the Bible is such that I require no embellishment or chicanery to try to make it look bad.

To top it off, I don't think I'm making it look very bad here. If i was trying to make Paul look bad on the issue I could easily quote the part about the vile acts without noting that in the next chapter (oddly starting apparently mid paragraph) where he basically says 'but you're no better, and you need to love them anyway'

Your theory makes no sense.

I think that rather than calling me a liar you need to come to grips with the fact that your arguments are not as persuasive as you'd like them to be. I think that runs into the problem that arguments in something as subjective as biblical interpretation CAN"T be as persuasive as you'd like them to be. You want philosophy or Biblical interpretation to be as objective as science but they can't be.

You have your interpretation. You think that your interpretation is so obvious as to be THE interpretation. It is not. You have your experts. You think they're the only experts to be believed on the matter. They are not.

Everything comes down to you. Your experts that you pick because of your interpretation, your interpretations that lead you to pick your experts.


yes it did go down, trust me i found it just as frustrating :)


JadedDemiGod wrote:
yes it did go down, trust me i found it just as frustrating :)

By the by, that is generally what happens with any interpriation of anything of that nature. Which has started more wars then anything else in history... Aaaand more genocide and loss of knowledge then anything else known to mankind, also one of the primary arguements for quite some time in regards to the domination of one person over another.

Library of Alexandria... Possibly the greatest repository of knowledge at the time... burned... just sayin.


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Sissyl wrote:

Whenever religious organizations are criticized, there are two defenses that keep coming up. All the time.

1) That's only a vocal (and oh so extremely tiny) minority that says.

2) There is an ongoing discussion within the church about changing this, but everyone has to accept that change takes time.

I call BS. A vocal minority of the church that claimed something the church did not like or think would be silenced and made to conform faster than you could say "holy inquisition batman". The very fact that this doesn't happen to people who claim that "God hates f+!$" and similar drek means, directly and unquestionably, that the silent churches agree with this.

It is important to understand that the "God Hates F---" crew is, in fact, widely criticized by essentially every major branch of Christianity. I don't have the sources with me right now, but if you get the chance, take a look at John Paul II's or Benedict XVI's discourses on religious radicalism. However, there is little they can do against the radical churches, because they are not one and the same. Remember that there is no single church; there are about 15,000 of them.

Sissyl wrote:

As for 2 above, it's disgraceful that a church that claims to stand for love and good thinks an ongoing discussion is even a relevant argument in this issue. As a direct consequence of various church policies, children commit suicide, get thrown out and ignored by their parents, and so on. It happens all the time. And guess what? If we're discussing the roman catholic church, it's so top-down-directed that if the pope were to demand and end to the discussion, it would be done. In short: I don't think the gay teens who commit suicide care that you are discussing whether they are perversions of nature, or merely commit sins against God when they express their love for one another.

No, it is a direct result of people using Christian notions to justify their hate (even though gay hate has never required religion to exist in the first place). The Church, at least the Catholic one, is not anti-gay, does not have anti-gay policies, nor advocates gay hate or bashing; much on the contrary, it advocates love and understanding, but at the same time asks homosexuals to remain chaste and restrain from having homosexual intercourse.

I'm not asking you to agree with that (I'm a Catholic and I don't agree with that particular point myself!), but there is a pretty big difference between that and advocating hate towards homosexuals. It would be like saying the Church supports hate toward fat people because it asks people to avoid eating more than necessary. Are there gay-haters within the Church? Sadly, yes, and as we all know, even among the Cardinals and Bishops. But are they mistaken and acting in discordance with the very Church they stand for? Yes, they are. Can we judge the entire of Christendom based on those examples? Certainly not. Then again, the ones who are actually working for the love and acceptance of homosexuals, like most things in the Church, do so quietly, directly, and not worried about what the media or the internet thinks. After spending 2 years working with various Church missions across Latin America, I can tell you with property that the latter is, by far, the greater majority. For every priest that uses the term "homosexual person", there are five more calling them Andy or Peter, going to their homes when they've been victims of gay bashing, counseling their parents to love them and care for them no matter what, making sure that they are never seen as "homosexual persons", but as the Andys and Peters they are.

A good example of the difference would be things like The Courage Apostolate, a Catholic organization funded directly by the Church that exists solely to provide support, comfort, counseling, and refuge to homosexual people, with chapters -if memory serves- in about a dozen countries so far and with big plans for expansion.

And no, it is not one of those "come here and we'll cure you of homosexuality". It actually supports and actively engages in the creation of homosexual relationships, although asks them to practice chastity. However, even if they don't, they are still welcomed and assisted. It has protected tens of thousands of LGBT from violence, discrimination, hate, and missunderstanding, as well as inspiring the creation of many more movements, groups, and organization of the same kind, both directly funded by the Church or managed by Catholic laymen.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Klaus van der Kroft wrote:

It is important to understand that the "God Hates F---" crew is, in fact, widely criticized by essentially every major branch of Christianity. I don't have the sources with me right now, but if you get the chance, take a look at John Paul II's or Benedict XVI's discourses on religious radicalism. However, there is little they can do against the radical churches, because they are not one and the same. Remember that there is no single church; there are about 15,000 of them.

Here is part of your problem. Non-Christians DON'T CARE that they are not mainstream. Mainstream is not actually speaking out publicly against it. They are mostly staying silent. Occasionally you have a group that does something to garnish positive attention, but they are sadly the exception. That is why you have polls with 90% of people and 80% of christians thinking that christianity is anti-gay. Because you have a vocal group speaking out with hate and anger and no one with authority is speaking out as a christian against them. Catholics are sending mixed signals at best with their "its a sin but we should love the sinner." dogma. It doesn't help that they are actively opposing groups trying to give equal rights to homosexuals.


Caineach wrote:
Here is part of your problem. Non-Christians DON'T CARE that they are not mainstream. Mainstream is not actually speaking out publicly against it. They are mostly staying silent. Occasionally you have a group that does something to garnish positive attention, but they are sadly the exception. That is why you have polls with 90% of people and 80% of christians thinking that christianity is anti-gay. Because you have a vocal group speaking out with hate and anger and no one with authority is speaking out as a christian against them. Catholics are sending mixed signals at best with their "its a sin but we should love the sinner." dogma. It doesn't help that they are actively opposing groups trying to give equal rights to homosexuals.

But that was not the point I was trying to make. I was explaining the reality of the situation. Whether Non-Christians get it or not, or whether Christians are not explaining themselves correctly enough, that's another point of discussion, quite valid by the way, but not what I was going after.


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Klaus van der Kroft wrote:
The Church, at least the Catholic one, is not anti-gay, does not have anti-gay policies, nor advocates gay hate or bashing; much on the contrary, it advocates love and understanding, but at the same time asks homosexuals to remain chaste and restrain from having homosexual intercourse.

Saying that homosexual sex is a sin, and asking people in a loving relationship to refrain from expressing that love simply because you do not approve IS ANTI-GAY. It is unequivocally anti-gay. The fact that you fail to grasp this notion shows how far down the rabbit hole you are on this issue. To deny it is akin to saying (as someone has on these very boards) "I'm not racist I'm just for the races remaining separate" (paraphrasing).

Look, replace homosexual sex with interracial sex.

The church isn't anti-interracial relationships, it just asks that those who are attracted to members of other races remain chaste and refrain from pursuing those desires, since doing so is a sin in the eyes of god.


Darkwing Duck wrote:
They just defenestrate academia and speak exproctophatically.

I hate it when they do that. (?!?)


meatrace wrote:


Saying that homosexual sex is a sin, and asking people in a loving relationship to refrain from expressing that love simply because you do not approve IS ANTI-GAY. It is unequivocally anti-gay. The fact that you fail to grasp this notion shows how far down the rabbit hole you are on this issue.

Actually, I do not see homosexual intercourse as sinful. I have explained why, in detail, in my previous posts several times. I would prefer if we restrained from making assumptions about each other.

Regardless of that, I stand by the point I explained: The Church does not decry homosexual condition to be sinful (it expressely says "the homosexual condition is not sinful", in fact); it does not declare attraction to members of the same sex sinful; it does not classify open love between members of the same sex as sinful. What the Church does consider sinful is separating sex from what it considers the holy act of reproduction, and thus comes to the conclussion that homosexual intercourse is not what sex is meant to be (the point made by Darkwing Duck about how that work with knowingly infertile heterosexual couples is an interesting one indeed, though, one I have no proper understanding to delve into, I must admit). I do not see that as anti-gay, for it is not against the homosexual condition or homosexual love; it is against sex not being espoused with the forming of a family, and thus in conflict with homosexual intercourse. And unless we define the homosexual condition to be all about intercourse, those two things are not the same.


Klaus van der Kroft wrote:
meatrace wrote:


Saying that homosexual sex is a sin, and asking people in a loving relationship to refrain from expressing that love simply because you do not approve IS ANTI-GAY. It is unequivocally anti-gay. The fact that you fail to grasp this notion shows how far down the rabbit hole you are on this issue.

Actually, I do not see homosexual intercourse as sinful. I have explained why, in detail, in my previous posts several times. I would prefer if we restrained from making assumptions about each other.

Regardless of that, I stand by the point I explained: The Church does not decry homosexual condition to be sinful (it expressely says "the homosexual condition is not sinful", in fact); it does not declare attraction to members of the same sex sinful; it does not classify open love between members of the same sex as sinful. What the Church does consider sinful is separating sex from what it considers the holy act of reproduction, and thus comes to the conclussion that homosexual intercourse is not what sex is meant to be (the point made by Darkwing Duck about how that work with knowingly infertile heterosexual couples is an interesting one indeed, though, one I have no proper understanding to delve into, I must admit). I do not see that as anti-gay, for it is not against homosexual love; it is against sex not being espoused with the forming of a family, and thus in conflict with homosexual intercourse.

He was speaking of the Church's official stance, not of your personal beliefs. You then go and describe exactly what he said in more detail and claim it isn't anti-gay. That's what he's objecting to and I have to agree that not being able to grasp that does show how far down the rabbit hole you are on this issue.

Requiring gays to abstain from homosexual sex is anti-gay. It's not as anti-gay as burning them at the stake, but it's still anti-gay.
Remember that I am referring to the Church's official position here, not your personal one.
Your careful explanation of the Church's reasoning is interesting, but not really relevant.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Klaus van der Kroft wrote:
meatrace wrote:


Saying that homosexual sex is a sin, and asking people in a loving relationship to refrain from expressing that love simply because you do not approve IS ANTI-GAY. It is unequivocally anti-gay. The fact that you fail to grasp this notion shows how far down the rabbit hole you are on this issue.

Actually, I do not see homosexual intercourse as sinful. I have explained why, in detail, in my previous posts several times. I would prefer if we restrained from making assumptions about each other.

Regardless of that, I stand by the point I explained: The Church does not decry homosexual condition to be sinful (it expressely says "the homosexual condition is not sinful", in fact); it does not declare attraction to members of the same sex sinful; it does not classify open love between members of the same sex as sinful. What the Church does consider sinful is separating sex from what it considers the holy act of reproduction, and thus comes to the conclussion that homosexual intercourse is not what sex is meant to be (the point made by Darkwing Duck about how that work with knowingly infertile heterosexual couples is an interesting one indeed, though, one I have no proper understanding to delve into, I must admit). I do not see that as anti-gay, for it is not against the homosexual condition or homosexual love; it is against sex not being espoused with the forming of a family, and thus in conflict with homosexual intercourse. And unless we define the homosexual condition to be all about intercourse, those two things are not the same.

paraphrase: "oh, you can be gay, but you can't actually be in a physical relationship."

THAT IS ANTI-HOMOSEXUAL.
Especially since the church does not condemn infertile people who have sex, or people for whom health problems make child bearing impossible.


But why is that anti-homosexual?


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Klaus van der Kroft wrote:
But why is that anti-homosexual?

Because homosexuals, just like everyone else, want to have romantic relationships and want those romantic relationships to include sex. That's part of being human. Denying them that is denying them part of their humanity.

Silver Crusade

Klaus van der Kroft wrote:
(the point made by Darkwing Duck about how that work with knowingly infertile heterosexual couples is an interesting one indeed, though, one I have no proper understanding to delve into, I must admit).

My recollection of Catholic teaching on this point is that there are cases where opposite-sex couples thought to be infertile manage to conceive. The position of the Church is that conception is an act of God, and all sexual activity should allow for that to happen, should God be so moved. Infertile opposite-sex couples are therefore meant to be open to that possibility. It's been a few years, though, so I am a bit rusty.


Klaus van der Kroft wrote:
But why is that anti-homosexual?

Go back again and replace the words as I did, homosexual sex with interracial sex, and see if it doesn't sound racist.

Oh, I don't hate women. I just think they shouldn't speak unless spoken to. And voting is right out.


Livin' In Sin, the Musical Interlude


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Klaus van der Kroft wrote:
But why is that anti-homosexual?

Let me put it to you this way: You have a different, more restrictive standard you apply to non-straights from the standard you apply to straights. As long as that is true to any degree whatsoever, you are anti-gay. That's all there is to it.


Klaus van der Kroft wrote:
meatrace wrote:


Saying that homosexual sex is a sin, and asking people in a loving relationship to refrain from expressing that love simply because you do not approve IS ANTI-GAY. It is unequivocally anti-gay. The fact that you fail to grasp this notion shows how far down the rabbit hole you are on this issue.

Actually, I do not see homosexual intercourse as sinful. I have explained why, in detail, in my previous posts several times. I would prefer if we restrained from making assumptions about each other.

Regardless of that, I stand by the point I explained: The Church does not decry homosexual condition to be sinful (it expressely says "the homosexual condition is not sinful", in fact); it does not declare attraction to members of the same sex sinful; it does not classify open love between members of the same sex as sinful. What the Church does consider sinful is separating sex from what it considers the holy act of reproduction, and thus comes to the conclussion that homosexual intercourse is not what sex is meant to be (the point made by Darkwing Duck about how that work with knowingly infertile heterosexual couples is an interesting one indeed, though, one I have no proper understanding to delve into, I must admit). I do not see that as anti-gay, for it is not against the homosexual condition or homosexual love; it is against sex not being espoused with the forming of a family, and thus in conflict with homosexual intercourse. And unless we define the homosexual condition to be all about intercourse, those two things are not the same.

You didn't answer my question earlier. I ask it again. Where should the line lay across which a person decides that they will no longer be a member of an organization that causes harm?


Celestial Healer wrote:
Klaus van der Kroft wrote:
(the point made by Darkwing Duck about how that work with knowingly infertile heterosexual couples is an interesting one indeed, though, one I have no proper understanding to delve into, I must admit).
My recollection of Catholic teaching on this point is that there are cases where opposite-sex couples thought to be infertile manage to conceive. The position of the Church is that conception is an act of God, and all sexual activity should allow for that to happen, should God be so moved. Infertile opposite-sex couples are therefore meant to be open to that possibility. It's been a few years, though, so I am a bit rusty.

Here's the thing that bothers me about this position. We know that even fertile devout Catholic couples have sex far more often then they have kids. So, is it a sin to have sex without the intent to reproduce?


BigNorseWolf wrote:

you need to come to grips with the fact that your arguments are not as persuasive as you'd like them to be.

I think you need to come to grips with the fact that you still haven't been able to name a prominent religious scholar in a secular University who shares your opinion about Paul's stance on homosexuality.


Klaus van der Kroft wrote:
meatrace wrote:


Saying that homosexual sex is a sin, and asking people in a loving relationship to refrain from expressing that love simply because you do not approve IS ANTI-GAY. It is unequivocally anti-gay. The fact that you fail to grasp this notion shows how far down the rabbit hole you are on this issue.

Actually, I do not see homosexual intercourse as sinful. I have explained why, in detail, in my previous posts several times. I would prefer if we restrained from making assumptions about each other.

Regardless of that, I stand by the point I explained: The Church does not decry homosexual condition to be sinful (it expressely says "the homosexual condition is not sinful", in fact); it does not declare attraction to members of the same sex sinful; it does not classify open love between members of the same sex as sinful. What the Church does consider sinful is separating sex from what it considers the holy act of reproduction, and thus comes to the conclussion that homosexual intercourse is not what sex is meant to be (the point made by Darkwing Duck about how that work with knowingly infertile heterosexual couples is an interesting one indeed, though, one I have no proper understanding to delve into, I must admit). I do not see that as anti-gay, for it is not against the homosexual condition or homosexual love; it is against sex not being espoused with the forming of a family, and thus in conflict with homosexual intercourse. And unless we define the homosexual condition to be all about intercourse, those two things are not the same.

Your stance is Anti gay and ant sterile as well Gay people still can't have sex in this stance and sterile people can't either. So isn't this worse stance then saying gay people can't have sex?


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Jean-Paul Sartre, Intrnet Troll wrote:
Darkwing Duck wrote:
They just defenestrate academia and speak exproctophatically.
I hate it when they do that. (?!?)

I thought defenestrate meant "throw out the window." :P

Andoran

Darkwing Duck wrote:
...haven't been able to name a prominent religious scholar in a secular University who shares your opinion about Paul's stance on homosexuality.

Do they have to be left-handed red-heads as well?

Why those particular qualifiers? I have not attended a non-secular uni, do you know something I do not about the quality of their religious scholarship?

Andoran

bugleyman wrote:
Jean-Paul Sartre, Intrnet Troll wrote:
Darkwing Duck wrote:
They just defenestrate academia and speak exproctophatically.
I hate it when they do that. (?!?)
I thought defenestrate meant "throw out the window." :P

It does. :)

Also, I salute you, Citizen* Duck, I believe 'exproctophatic' is not a word, but I now feel that it should be. Well done. :)

*I used that salutation without thinking. That darn commie goblin is contagious.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

Defenestration also means to remove the eyes (an archaic use).


Darkwing Duck wrote:


Where should the line lay across which a person decides that they will no longer be a member of an organization that causes harm?

That line varies with the individual and thier own personal goals and beliefs. Are they trying to change the organization from within? Do they have any hope that any change is even possible? Are they willing to overlook harm caused in one area provided that good is done in another? These questions and others might be simple for one person, but difficult for someone else. No one can truly answer them for you, and anyone who claims to be able to do so probably has an agenda.

Of course, I say all that as someone who is not a member of any organized church or religion, so take any of my questions, comments, and suggestions with a grain of salt.

Shadow Lodge

Darkwing Duck wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:

you need to come to grips with the fact that your arguments are not as persuasive as you'd like them to be.

I think you need to come to grips with the fact that you still haven't been able to name a prominent religious scholar in a secular University who shares your opinion about Paul's stance on homosexuality.

1) You haven't asked me to before now.

2)Why is a secular university the only place you can find an expert on Paul's stance on homosexuality? You always do this. You attempt to win an argument by altering the metargument: put the goalposts back. You are trying to convince Christians that their stance is heretical but you want to exclude christian scholars from the conversation?

Anyone I find will simply not be prominent. This is patently obvious because you're excluding the catholic church itself. Any other week I'd go through the charade but my computer time is rather limited this week.


The "secular University" requirement is so that academics is more likely to play a bigger role than politics.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
This is patently obvious because you're excluding the catholic church itself. Any other week I'd go through the charade but my computer time is rather limited this week.

The Catholic church is one specific branch of Christianity, hardly representative of Christianity as a whole.

And I have no intention to hold you to any standards I don't hold myself. I linked to a chair holding Yale professor. A chair holding Harvard professor or a chair holding Oxford professor any of which in a department related to religion (the history department specializing in religious history, for example) will be acceptable as well.

The lower you have to drop the bar to find an example, the more you prove my case.

Shadow Lodge

Darkwing Duck wrote:
The "secular University" requirement is so that academics is more likely to play a bigger role than politics.

That pendulum swings both ways though. Taking an anti homosexuality stance in a public university could be just as damaging as taking a pro homosexuality stance in a religious university.

Can I ask if you're from Europe or Canada Darkwing? You seemed surprised by the video in the topic.

The fact is that there are a number of reasons for Anti-Homosexuality(i really dislike the term homophobia) and Christianity to go together in the us

1) The bible can reasonably (and IMHO rightly) be interpreted as having a stance on homosexuality that is behind the current times (although Paul seems admirably well ahead of the curve of when it was written). When you fight me on this being my honest opinion you're as objectively wrong as its possible to be since I know nothing if not my own mind.

People that believe the bible to be true will pick up on that stance and hold to it strongly. They also tend to hold tightly onto their interpretation of the bible just as strongly because they're convinced of the bible;s innerancy. A perfect bible is useless if a perfect understanding of it is impossible. Attacking someone's understanding of the bible is no different than attacking the bible itself because in their minds the two are one and the same. Very often they feel that they can know that their interpretation is true because the holy spirit has told them so.

2) Conservatism: that is looking to the past for answers. Many people have in their heads a rose colored if not semi mythical view of 1950's America where everything was right with the world: we were the good guys storming across the fields of Europe to save the day from the evil Nazis, a hard days work in the factory got you a decent job so you could come home to a house with a white picket fence where your wife was looking after the kids and cooking you steak for dinner, and even the immigrants were white.

Any deviation from this perfection is an anathema. Since we are god's chosen nation it is not only unpatriotic but it is also ungodly. In this view of America everyone was christian and there were no homosexuals. The existence of unbelievers and homosexuals is in this view, a symptom of a new and unprecedented moral corruption that needs to be stamped out so we can return to the promised land of middle America. (as an unbeliever who has suffered from some literal stamping out i cannot express how strongly I disagree with this point of view)

3 Geographic location: I'll be blunt, the southern US is behind the times on just about everything. You have a more religious population as well as a more anti homosexual one. You wind up with a disproportionate number of people holding onto both views, so the two views get conflated.


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Thing is, the church does not like SEX. Viewed in this way, everything else becomes more easily understandable. And as for which church, well, pretty much all of them. I guess, at its heart, it's a question of sex being a way to relax and enjoy yourself - and relaxed people who enjoy themselves tend not to feel much of a need to jump off a cliff to satisfy the demands of their guilt and shame when preyed upon by religious predators, sorry, priests. They are by no means alone or even extreme in this. If I remember correctly, there was at least one group of cathars who took it to its logical extreme: Since sex was evil, and married sex came more often and was often more enjoyable, they outlawed marriage too. The only sex that was to be had was prescribed by the group elders, and only for procreation. In general, authoritarian groups do NOT like sex, usually it's easier to influence a population that is generally tense and frustrated. Obviously, though, procreation is necessary, and so policies are worked out to just allow it within marriages, all over the world. If any sort of sex can even possibly be called deviant in any way, there is no limit to what kind of penalties and shaming tactics that are okay for it.

As for gay sex, then, it's especially bad because there IS no procreation being done. Imagine the sheer gall of these people, having sex WITHOUT making babies! It is obviously something that has to be stamped out.

As for sterile couples, well, all the above focus on married sex has forced various explanations of sanctity to the institution of marriage. Thus, so long as marriage can be contained to ONLY man and woman, it has to have worth in and of itself, preferably in the eyes of some God or other. It's a useful concept. Still, excluding sterile people would quickly open a large can of worms they don't want to deal with. If a married woman gets her uterus damaged and removed, should her marriage then be ended? It becomes a headache. And those heterosexual marriages are still conforming to the wishes of the church, so it's easier on all parts to allow them.

None of this changes the fact that God according to most christian faiths can apparently make even virgins pregnant, so why they focus on what needs to be done to "let" God give people children is entirely incomprehensible.


Syssyl, your view is what I find so frustrating about the anti-religion view on these boards. Pretty much every church hates sex? Really? You based this on what? It doesn't match up wih any church I know of. Even the cult I grew up in had classes for young married couples that covered sex. My brother's pastor's wife has held F.U.N. parties for married couples (they are like Tupperware parties, but sell sex toys).


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Darkwing Duck wrote:
The "secular University" requirement is so that academics is more likely to play a bigger role than politics.

That pendulum swings both ways though. Taking an anti homosexuality stance in a public university could be just as damaging as taking a pro homosexuality stance in a religious university.

Can I ask if you're from Europe or Canada Darkwing? You seemed surprised by the video in the topic.

The fact is that there are a number of reasons for Anti-Homosexuality(i really dislike the term homophobia) and Christianity to go together in the us

1) The bible can reasonably (and IMHO rightly) be interpreted as having a stance on homosexuality that is behind the current times (although Paul seems admirably well ahead of the curve of when it was written). When you fight me on this being my honest opinion you're as objectively wrong as its possible to be since I know nothing if not my own mind.

People that believe the bible to be true will pick up on that stance and hold to it strongly. They also tend to hold tightly onto their interpretation of the bible just as strongly because they're convinced of the bible;s innerancy. A perfect bible is useless if a perfect understanding of it is impossible. Attacking someone's understanding of the bible is no different than attacking the bible itself because in their minds the two are one and the same. Very often they feel that they can know that their interpretation is true because the holy spirit has told them so.

2) Conservatism: that is looking to the past for answers. Many people have in their heads a rose colored if not semi mythical view of 1950's America where everything was right with the world: we were the good guys storming across the fields of Europe to save the day from the evil Nazis, a hard days work in the factory got you a decent job so you could come home to a house with a white picket fence where your wife was looking after the kids and cooking you steak for dinner, and even the immigrants were white....

I don't know what your definition of a "reasonable interpretation" is, but what is becoming increasing clear to me is just how dead set you are to be closed minded. I've shown youwhatthe Greek says. You've shown yourself unable to point to a prominent scholar in a secular University who shares your opinion. If this were a discussion on a scientific issue, we'd now be at the point where I showed you the data, prominent researchers who agree with me on what the data means, you failed to provide any counter data or prominent researchers agreeing with you on what the data means, and you still held onto your position. Its like I'm arguing with an Intelligent Design proponent.


Darkwing Duck wrote:

Here's a paper written by Woolsey Professor of Religious Studies at Yale University, Dr. Dale Basil Martin.

Another highly regarded professor and historian specializing in the history of homosexuality in Christian history is John Boswell. His extensive research in the area can be found in a number of groundbreaking books including "Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality"(1980) and "The Marriage of Likeness: Same-Sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe"(1994) in which he shows that some gays in committed same-sex unions were even sainted (Saint Sergius and Bacchus) and gay weddings occurred in the Basilica of St. John Lateran.

Well, I'd hate to be accused of defenestrating exctwhateverily, but it doesn't appear that Boswell is exactly without academic critics on both sides (anti-gay Christians and anti-Christian gays). Link here

Dr. Martin's paper goes through all the Greek translation issues, dismisses most of the Old Testament "references", (scare quotes added to denote that not all such passages are agreed upon as referring to homosex) and then argues that, anyway, Christians shouldn't use the sexual mores of 2000 years ago to determine their views of it today and should evolve their thinking in an attempt to bring about more love.

My own personal rejection of Christianity hinges on a much greater issue than ancient Christians' views of homosexuality (it hinges on the whole God thing). And I would be very happy if Citizen Duck's interpretation was correct, if only so I could throw it in anti-gay Christians' faces. And I haven't even finished reading The Bible, so what do I know? But, so far, I remain unconvinced.


Troll, I've not claimed that the Old Testament is pro-equality. It is clearly not.

Your link isn't working for me so I don't know who you found that disagrees with Boswell.


Citizen Duck says: Troll, I've not claimed that the Old Testament is pro-equality. It is clearly not.

I didn't say you did.

Spoiler:
John Boswell
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Contents

Introduction
John Boswell: Writings on History of Sexuality
Reviews of Boswell's Books
Monographs With Significant Discussion of Boswell
Discussions
Internet Discussions
Topics
Websites

Introduction

John Boswell (d. 1994) has been probably the best known historians of homosexuality in recent decades. His work is extremely controversial, and has been from the start.

This page collects information about Boswell's works, reviews, and discussions of particular points of his scholarship.

John Boswell: Writings on History of Sexuality

Boswell, John, The Church and the Homosexual: An Historical Perspective, (Keynote address at Dignity's 4th Biennial Convention, Sept. 1979), repr. in Kathleen Leopold and Thomas Orians, eds., Theological Pastoral Resources: A Collection of Articles on Homosexuality from a Pastoral Perspective, 6th ed., (Washington DC : Dignity. 1981, repr. 1985), 16-20
Boswell, John, Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980)
Boswell, John (interviewed by Richard Hall), "Historian John Boswell on Gay Tolerance and the Christian Tradition", The Advocate (28 May 1981), 20-23, 26-27
Boswell, John, Rediscovering Gay History : Archetypes of Gay Love in Christian History, (London : Gay Christian Movement, 1982)
Early presentation of the themes later developed in Same Sex Unions.
Boswell, John, "Revolutions, Universals, Categories", Salmagundi 58-59 (Fall 1982-Winter 1983), 89-113
reprinted, and more easily accessible in, Martin Bauml Duberman, Martha Vincus and Ceorge Chauncey, eds., Hidden From History, New York: NAL, 1989, 17-36)
Boswell's extended discussion of the method and theory behind his researches and interpretations.
Boswell, John, in The Journal of Religion 67:3 (July 1987), 365, review of Robin Scroggs, The New Testament and Homosexuality: Contextual Background for Contemporary Debate, (Philadelphia: Fortress Press: 1983)
Boswell, John, "Old Habits, New Habits", The New Republic Jan 6, 1986; 194:1 p. 36-39, review of Judith C. Brown, Immodest Acts - The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy, (New York: Oxford UP, 1986)
Boswell, John, "The Origins of Christian Intolerance of Homosexuality", (in Spanish), Cuadernos del Norte 8:44 (1987), pp. 18-23
Boswell, John, "Books: Gay History", The Atlantic Feb 1989; 263:2 p. 74-78
review of David F. Greenberg, The Construction of Homosexuality, (Chicago: Chicago UP, 1988)
Boswell, John, "Concepts, Experience, and Sexuality", Differences 2.1 (1990) 67-87
Boswell, John, interview by Lawrence Mass, "Sexual Categories, Sexual Universals: An Interview with John Boswell", Christopher Street 151 (1990), 23-40
Boswell discusses with Mass the implications and controversies over his work.
Boswell, John., "Battle-worn.", The New Republic v. 208 (May 10 '93) p. 15+
ABSTRACT: In ancient times, homosexuality had a hallowed relationship to democracy and military valor, even though modern military officials tend to find this improbable or even unbelievable. Many persons who might now be considered "gay" played prominent roles in the military, and some observers of the times argued that gay men would make ideal soldiers because they would wish to behave admirably while those they loved were present. In 378 B. C., the Theban leader Gorgidas created a company of 300 men, known as the "sacred band" of Thebes, composed of pairs of lovers; according to Plutarch. The troop played a crucial role in many military engagements and was never beaten until the battle of Chaeronea in 338
Boswell, John, "Dante and the Sodomites." Dante Studies 112 (1994?), 33-51
Boswell, John, Same-Sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe, (New York: Villard, 1994)

Reviews of Boswell's Books

John Boswell was often criticized as an "advocacy scholar". Some gay scholars, adhering to the secularist norm, dismissed him as a "Catholic apologist". Much more common has been the attack on him as a "pro-homosexual" writer, who distorted and misread texts. Other reviewers were impressed by his work.

What has been striking about the attacks on Boswell because of his religious beliefs, or because of his sexuality (both openly announced), is that the critics often adopt an Olympian position that they are not subject to such subjectivity. In fact many of the critics have perhaps stronger and stricter ideological commitments that Boswell. Here then, I have tried to indicate [in brackets], the religious/political/scholarly positions, where known, of both his critics and supporters.

Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980)

Perhaps still the single most important work by a serious scholar. Proposes that homosexuals were accepted before the 13th century, and then intolerance sets in. Criticized by gay radicals for letting the Church off the hook. Boswell rejects idea that homosexual subcultures are a recent development. Nevertheless, at this stage virtually all of Boswell's specific conclusions have been called into question. Students of the period must look at later scholarly publications.

Adams, Jeremy, Speculum 56 (April 1981), 350-55 - high commendation.
Arrowsmith, Keith (pseud. Walter Kendrick), "Toujours gai? Pas du tout!", Village Voice (11 Mar 1981), 44-45 - very positive. [Non-medievalist English Lit scholar.]
Atkinson, W., in The Review of Books and Religion 10:1 (September 1981), 1-3
Bonds, William N., Journal of Homosexuality 7:1 (Fall 1981), 94-102
Bond, Gerald, "`locus Amoris': The Poetry of Baudri of Bougueil and the Formation of the Ovidian Subculture", Traditio 42 (1986), 143-93
Sees the subculture as not-homosexual and criticizes Boswell
Bonds, William N., Journal of Homosexuality 7:1 (Fall 1981), 94-102
Bronski, Michael, "Gay History; Setting the Record Straight", Gay Community News 8:17 (Nov 1980), p 1 - attacks Boswell for being pro-Church. [Gay Scholar. Not a medieval specialist.]
Bruland, E. B. in TSF Bulletin 7:1 (September-October 1983), 33-34
Brundage, James, Catholic Historical Review 68 (Jan 1982), 62-64 - sees it as an important book with some citation and "special pleading" flaws. [Top-notch scholar of medieval sexuality.]
Bullough, Vern, "Gods, Gays and Scholars" Inquiry 3:18 (27 October 1980), 28-29 - disagrees with Boswell and sees a basic hostility to homosexuality in Christianity. [Not a medievalist, but an important scholar of history of sexuality.]
Stephen Carlson: Boswell's Analysis of ARSENOKOITHS in 1Co6:19 and 1Tm1:10, Source unknown
Christensen, E., English Historical Review 96 (October 1981), 852-54 - skeptical about Aelred and Anselm as gay men.
Crompton, Louis, "The Roots of Condemnation", Commonweal (5 June 1981), 338-40 - mixed review. [Non-medievalist English-Lit scholar. Advocate of theory of gay genocide by church theories]
Cunningham, Lawrence S., New Catholic World 225 (Jan 1982), 44-45 - some qualms - but predicted, accurately, that the book would revolutionize the study of homosexuality.
Dinshaw, Carolyn. "Touching the Past", paper delivered at the Queer Middle Ages Conference, New York, November 7, 1998
On the final night of the QMA conference Prof. Dinshaw was awarded the final plenary session, and had given a title "Touching on the Past" which revealed precisely nothing about her subject. How would a leading literary scholar address the issues the conference had
raised?
What she did was to present a paper which was elegant in manifold ways. As a literary scholar she asked the question posed once to Marc Bloch by his son ' "Tell me, daddy, what is the use of history?" A question she insisted which was both moving, and problematic for those whose life is not oriented towards the reproduction of children. What past, she asked, might a sexual community claim?
To explore this question she undertook literary and historical exploration of the work John Boswell, specifically the reception of Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality, [CSTH] an exploration based on her use of the archive of Boswell's papers maintained by his literary executor Ralph Hexter. For some of us in the audience, Prof. Dinshaw's subject was a profoundly satisfying salute to the effective founder of the area of research to which the conference was dedicated.
Dinshaw explained the immense popular success of CSTH in 1980. Its review in Newsweek, along with the picture of Boswell with *three* undone buttons caused a sensation, a sensation Dinshaw found manifest in the letters between Boswell and his editors. For many gay people who did not read the book, the book's existence became immensely important - here was an important historian, one who taught at Yale, who had put forth a book *with footnotes*, a book which made it clear that *we* have a past. I think this was the most forthright discussion I have ever heard by a literary scholar of the important role "lesbian and gay history" has played in the creation of the modern Lesbian and Gay community in the modern west. Despite the immediate *gay academic * resistance to Boswell's book, and its claim that the Christian Church had not always been homophobic but had become so in the later 13th century, Boswell's letter archive showed the tremendous impact of the book. There was even a proposal to make it into a mini-series, and a PBS documentary. Dinshaw documents how Boswell saw the book, and his project - his point was that "if we had a place in the past, then we should have a place in the present"- indeed in his 1982 article [in Salmagundi?] Boswell had argued that to have a place in the present then we must have a place in the past. There is no getting around Boswell's essentialism here - for him, if modern gay/straight is an invention of culture then it is not real, and there is no gay history. Boswell was explicitly insistent that the word "gay" must be used - in a letter to his French publisher Gallimard, he argued that no other word in any other language would do. Gay people were indeed for Boswell "people with a history" [and here, Prof Dinshaw specifically referred to the "polemical title" of this web site People with a History]
Dinshaw made clear here her discomfort with this approach: she argued that she was committed to a "constructionist view of history"; that Boswell's gay essence looked very like the "gay identity" of the post Stonewall period; and that Boswell overlooked difference between that identity and, for instance institutionalized pederasty. [Here, I think she made one factual error: one of her example of a Boswell distortion was his portrayal of adelphopoiesis rituals as between coevals rather than as between age-dissonant couples. In fact, the problem with adelphopoiesis is whether it was about sex or affectivity at all - but it was, as far as we can see, a ritual of equals.] She also made clear that Boswell's historical approach might tie into a more reformist, as opposed to radical, political agenda in the modern lesbian and gay communities, although she noted that Boswell himself objected to this characterization of his work. In this light, she examined what, to many anti-Boswell social constructionists, might seem a very odd turn of events. One of Boswell's major fans, one who was instrumental in the CSTH's French publication, was Michel Foucault, who in 1979, after the publication of The History of Sexuality Volume 1 wrote a fan letter to Boswell (in English) in which he averred that the book open up new avenues of approach. Foucault especially liked, it seems, Boswell's distinction between homoeroticism and homosexuals as a "self-conscious group" [although later in 1988, Boswell made it clear that the "essence" he saw through history was related to homoeroticism rather than group consciousness.] Foucault was especially interested, it seems, in the notion of self-consciousness, and the ways in which self-fashioning of the US LGBT community which, to him, could take place outside identity but in collectivity. [I must say, I am not quite clear what this means!]
In her peroration, Dinshaw expressed her own interest in the Boswell archive and her distance from it: she was interested in its documentation of the foundational period of LGBT studies, but distant from Boswell's work, both as a Lesbian and as one committed to constructionist non-foundational history. Nevertheless, she seemed to make it clear that she found the project of imagining a community across time, though partial connection, with bodies and lives in the past, a project of real interest.
Duberman, Martin Bauml, The New Republic 918 (October 1980), 32-35 - favorable, with some doubts, because he thinks Boswell is "conservative". [Modern American specialist. Important scholar in gay historiography.]
Dynes, Wayne, "Christianity and the Politics of Sex", in Warren Johansson et al., Homosexuality, Intolerance and Christianity, A Critical Examination, (New York: Scholarship Committee, Gay Academic Union, 1981)
Less obsessively anti-Christian than his colleagues in this collection of attacks on Boswell.. Clearly defines, apparently for all gay people, Christianity as "our enemy".
Dynes, Wayne, Gay Books Bulletin 4 (Fall 1980), 2-4 - sees some merit. Calls Boswell's scriptural exegesis "amateurish and tendentious".
Goodrich, Philip, in Epiphany: A Journal of Faith and Insight 8 (Winter 1988), 80-83
Grant, Robert, The Christian Century 98 (21 Jan 1981), 60 - generally favorable.
Greenberg, David E. & M.H. Bystrin, "Christian Intolerance of Homosexuality", American Journal of Sociology 88 (1982), pp. 515-548
Guindon, A. in Eglise et Theologie (Ottawa) 15 (May 1984), 241-243
Haeberle, Erwin J., Journal of Sex Research 17 (1981), 184-87
Hamilton, Wallace, "A Different Mirror", Christopher Street (September 1980), 50-55 - positive review.
Harvey, John, Linacre Quarterly (August 1981), 265-75 - critical [Harvey is a priest-psychologist in New York, and founder of a group - Courage - for Catholic gays unhappy with their sexuality.]
Hauerwas, Stanley, in Saint Luke's Journal of Theology 28 (June 1985), 228-232
Hays, R.B., "Relations Natural and Unnatural: A Response to John Boswell's Exegesis of Romans I", Journal of Religious Ethics 14 (1986), pp. 184-215
A attempt to defend natural law condemnation of homosexuality.
Henry, Patrick, Church History 51 (Dec 1982), 448-49 - very favorable.
Hill, Bennet D. Library Journal 105 ((1 June 1980), p. 1304 - very favorable.
Hoffman, Richard J, "Vices, Gods and Virtues: Cosmology as a Mediating Factor in Attitudes toward Male Homosexuality", Journal of Homosexuality 9:2/3 (Winter 1983/Spring 1984), 27-44 - sees Boswell as a Church apologist.
Jewett, P. K. in The Reformed Journal 33:1 (January 1983), 14-17
Johansson, Warren, "Ex parte Themis: The Historic Guilt of the Christian Church", in Homosexuality, Intolerance and Christianity, A Critical Examination, (New York: Scholarship Committee, Gay Academic Union, 1981)
Kennedy, Hubert, The Advocate (20 Dec 1980) - very favorable. [Gay history scholar - specializes in modern Germany.]
Lauritsen, John, "Culpa Ecclesiae: Boswell's Dilemma", in Homosexuality, Intolerance and Christianity: A Critical Examination, (New York: Scholarship Committe, Gay Academic Union, 1981)
Attack on Boswell's theory that the Church did not create hatred of gays, by a leading proponent of the theory that the Church was responsible for homophobia.
Lemay, Helen R., "Homosexuality in the Middle Ages", Cross Currents 30 (Fall 1980), 352-60 - has some problems with Boswell's translations. Seems surprised that Boswell is "attempt(ing) to justify homosexual behavior."
Leroi, Alan, "Le chambre des hommes: le second ages d'or de l'homosexualite au moyen-age", Gai Pied Hebdo 166 (26 April 1985), 22-24, 66 - summary of French translation by Alain Tachet (Christianisme, tolerance sociale et homosexualite, Paris: Gallimard, 1985)
Lineham, Peter, Times Literary Supplement (London), (23 Jan 1981), p. 73 - critical of Boswell's views of St. Anselm.
MacMullen, Ramsay. "Roman Attitudes to Greek Love"; Historia 31: (1982) 484-502. Negative on Boswell's views of Roman homosexuality in CSTH.
Martinelli, Elio, "Cristanismo e Omosessualita", Paideia 37 (1982), 31-40 - - finds some errors and accuses Boswell of being an apologist for Roman Catholicism.
Matter, E. Ann. Review of Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality, Church History 51 (December 1982): 448-49.
McCollum, A. B. in Journal of Ecumenical Studies 20 (Fall 1983), 665
Mendham, P. M. in Saint Mark's Review 106 (June 1981), 57-58
Mills, J. (reply to Jewett) in The Reformed Journal 33:5 (May 1983), 9-10
Mills, Jonathan, "John Boswell's corruption of the Greeks", Crux: a Quarterly Journal of Christian Thought and Opinion 18:4 December 1982, 21-27: ABSTRACT: John Boswell's Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality seems to offer an extensively documented impartial study establishing an objective historical perspective for the contemporary discussion of homosexuality. However, this investigation of Boswell's sources for his presentation of iews on homosexuality in ancient Greece shows that he treats his sources in a most arbitrary manner and should not be received as a reliable guide to their meaning.
Modras, R., in Currents in Theology and Mission 10 (February 1983), 50
Monteagudo, Jesse, "new Book Clarifies Homosexuality in the Bible", The Weekly News (Miami) (1 Oct 1980), p. 3 - accepts Boswell's arguments.
Moore, John C. American Historical Review 86 (April 1981), 381-82 - recommends the book but has some reservations.
Moore, R.I. History (London). 66: no.217 (June 1981), p. 281
Neuhaus, Richard John, "In The Case of John Boswell", First Things (1994) - recent attack on Boswell. Uses secondary materiels to attack Boswell - mainly Hays article in the Journal of Religous Ethics and David Wright's article in the Encyclopeadia of Early Christianity. [Neuhaus is a neo-conservative former Lutheran-turned-super-Roman priest. As editor of First Things he publishes constant attacks on homosexuals.]
Olsen, Glenn, W., "The Gay Middle Ages: a response to Professor Boswell", Communio: International Catholic Review (summer 1981), pp. 119-138 - Highly critical discussion of Boswell's discussion of natural law. He calls Boswell's arguments "weird" and "foolish". [Olsen is a professional scholar. Communio is an explicitly conservative Catholic publication.]
ABSTRACT: This review gives special attention to Boswell's treatment of Aristotle, the biblical texts on homosexuality, and the natural law tradition. Boswell's methodology and definitions are also examined.
Pagdug, Robert, Body Politic (Toronto) 70 (Feb 1981), 29 - sees book as important, but criticizes Boswell's use of the word "gay" for the past.
Patricca, Nicholas, American Journal of Sociology 88 (1983), 1333-6, favorable review. Criticizes urban/rural distinction.
Petersen, William L."Can arsenokoitai be translated by "homosexuals" (1 Cor 6:9; 1 Tim 1:10)", Vigilae Christianae: A Review of Early Christian Life and Language 40:2 June 1986, 187-191
Petersen, William L., "On the Study of "Homosexuality" in Patristic Sources", Studia Patristica 20 (1989), 283-88
Criticises both Boswell and David Wright [misnamed as "John Wright"] on the issue of "arsenokoitai", especially Wright's defense of the RSV translation as "homosexuals". Argues that the word does not mean "all male-male sexual acts", although he does a general Christian aversion to all sex.
Richlin, Amy, "Not Before Homosexuality: The Materiality of the Cinaedus and the Roman Law against Love Between Men", Journal of History of Sexuality 3:4 (1993), 523-573
A significant attack on the Foucault/Halperin/Winkler thesis that "homosexuality" is an irrelevant category for the Roman past. Good up to date bibliography on the issues.
Robinson, Paul, The New York Times Book Review (10 August 1980), p 12 - very favorable review.
Savor, Steven W., "What Boswell Uncovered - Digging for Roots in Frozen Ground", Alternate (Nov. 1980), p 61 - favorable review.
Sheehan, M, M., "Christianity and Homosexuality", Journal of Ecclesiastical History 33 (1982), pp. 438-446
Reviews Boswell, Social Tolerance, Goodich, Unmentionable Vice, and Coleman, Christian Attitudes. Critical of Boswell.
Shelp, Earl E. Theology Today 38 (1981), 256-58 - favorable.
Silvestre, H., "Rupert de Deutz et John Boswell desarmes devant le meme devinette", Revue d'Histoire Ecclesiastique 80 No 3-4, July-December 1985, 771-775
Smith, Tom L. "Medieval Limits to Social Tolerance", Bloomsbury Review (Jan-Feb 1981), pp5ff - favorable to Boswell, but very critical of Goodich's The Unmentionable Vice.
Stone, Charles (letter), The Advocate (9 July 1981) p.7 - criticizes Boswell and claims that Gay liberation took place during decline of Christianity.
Stone, Lawrence, "Sex in the West", The New Republic (8 July 1985), 25-37 - looks a over 20 recent books. Respectful of Boswell.
Strouse, Jean, "Homosexuality Since Rome", Newsweek (29 September 1980), 79-82 - favorable, plus profile of Boswell.
Thomas, Keith, "Rescuing Homosexual History", New York Review of Books Vol 27 (4 Dec 1980), 26-29 - accuses Boswell of neglecting the penitentials and of "special pleading".
Touchet, F. H. in The Journal of Pastoral Counseling 17 (Spring-Summer 1982), 84-85
Towler, Robert, Sociological Analysis 42 (1981), 187-88 - favorable
Vanderbosch, Jane, 'Comment on John Boswell's CSTH", Signs 7 (Spring 1982), 722-24 - criticizes Boswell for his brevity on women.
Weeks, Jeffery, "In Days of Yore When Knights were Gay", History Today 9 July 1980), pp 41ff - finds Boswell's work "far from definitive' (a claim Boswell does not make). Criticizes Boswell's use of the word "gay". [Weeks is a leading member of the "social constructionist school of gay history. He has not published on the middle ages.]
Wilamowitz-Steindorff, Karl von, (letter) "Only on American Soil", Village Voice (25-31 Mar 1981), p.3 - says attitude to Boswell's book depends on whether you see history of Christianity as one of genocide to gay people.
Williams, Bruce A. in The Thomist, 46 (1982). - critical
Wright, David F., "Early Christian Attitudes to Homosexuality", Studia Patristica 18:3 (1989) 329-33
Critic of Boswell, again. Calls Ausonius a "half-baked Christian. quite.
[David Wright, a former professor of mine at the University of Edinburgh, with real scholarly skills. But he is also conservative evangelical, and an elder in one of the most theologically conservative congregations in Edinburgh. Moreover, he has been attacking Boswell for decades now, beginning with an oral presentation, at which I was present. to the Graduate Seminar of the Edinburgh History department (in 1981 or 82). He began by making overtly homophobic jokes about Boswell's use of the word "gay". This may have represented Edinburgh provincialism (homosexuality only having become legal there in 1979) , but it was excruciating to sit through.]
Wright, David F., "Homosexuals or Prostitutes? The Meaning of Arsenokoitai (1 Cor 6:9, 1 Tim 1:10", Vigiliae Christianae 38 (1984) 125-53
Serious attack on Boswell's argument that this word does not mean "homosexual". He notes he origin of the word in the Greek of the Septuagint of Leviticus 18:22. Boswell responds in Same-Sex Unions.
ABSTRACT: This article [attempts to] shows that John Boswell's claim (Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality, 1980) that arsenokoitai means male prostitutes, not male homosexuals, is groundless. The word probably originated in Hellenistic Judaism, based on the very close parallel in Lev 18:22, 20:13 LXX. Levitical influence apparently underlies its use in Or.Sib. 2:73. Evidence is adduced from the early NT versions, occurrences in early Christian literature, where it often parallels paidophthoria, and the linguistic structure of this and similar compounds.
Wright, David F., "Translating arsenokoitai (1 Cor 6:9; 1 Tim 1:10)", Vigilae Christianae 41:4 (1987), 396-398
Wright, David, "Homosexuality" in Encyclopedia of Early Christianity. ed. Everett Ferguson et al., (New York: Garland Pub., 1990)
Contains this gem "The conclusion must be that for all the interest and stimulus Boswell's book provides in the end of the day NOT ONE PIECE OF EVIDENCE that the teaching mind of the early Church countenanced homosexual activity." See entry under Biblical studies on an earlier Wright article.
Wright, J. Robert, "Boswell on Homosexuality: A Case Undemonstrated", Anglican Theological Review 66 (1984), 79-94 - concentrates mainly on Boswell's views on scripture.
ABSTRACT: The central contention of the book reviewed, that the biblical or patristic or historical tradition of the church was not seriously opposed to homosexual practice until the mid-13th century and that there is therefore no valid basis in Christian tradition for teaching that homosexual practice is wrong, is not demonstrated by the evidence presented. The article does not attempt to prove the contrary, or to discuss wider issues that are related, but rather only demonstrates that the book's historical argumentation and methodology, especially its use of scriptural, patristic, and medieval sources, does not establish its claims at the bar of critical scholarship.

Boswell, John, Same-Sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe, (New York: Villard, 1994) [British title: The Marriage of Likeness: Same-Sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe]

A groundbreaking study of the "Adelphopoiia" liturgy, which Boswell argues, was for centuries used as a public liturgy to celebrate erotic relationships between people of the same sex.

"Different strokes for medieval folks -- Same-Sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe by John Boswell", The Economist (Feb 11, 1995) 77-78, favorable review
"The talk of the town--Beyond Stonewall: Gay struggles, 25 years on". New Yorker Jun 20, 1994; 70:18 p. 35-37 - on Boswell's book.
"Modern Wise Men Encounter Jesus.", in Christianity today. DEC 12 1994 v 38 n 14 :Summary: "More about Jesus would I know." But how much do three recent studies of Jesus deliver?...Plus: Were they lovers or just friends? Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe."
"Same-sex Unions.", Church and society. JUL 01 1994 v 84 n 6, p. 24
"Yale history professor John Boswell ignites debate with claims that the Christian Church condoned gay marriages in the Middle Ages.", in People Weekly. JUN 27 1994 v 41 n 24
Arnold, Lee, "History -- Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe by John Boswell", Library Journal Jul 1994; p. 108-110 - Favorable review.
Bennison, Charles, Book reviews.., Vol. 77, Anglican Theological Review, 04-01-1995, pp 256.
Bray, Gerald, "Friends or lovers? -- Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe by John Boswell", Christianity Today (Dec 12, 1994), 46-47 -mixed review
[Note from a correspondent: "Looking at the Boswell reviews, I was struck by the presence of one by Gerald Bray. When I managed to find it . . . it read rather as I might have expected. If it 's the man I think, he comes from Montreal but has a doctorate of some kind from Paris on Catullus, I think. I knew him a little in Cambridge in the late '70s . I thought he was a repressed gay at that stage. I was rather taken aback when at college communion he including among the intercessions prayers for `those who suffer from homosexuality, that they may be cured and worship Christ with their bodies'. There were remonstrations over breakfast afterwards! (By some awful mischance one of the lessons at evensong that day was the last bit of Romans 1.) He went on to a job at Oakhill College, a conservative evangelical place in London. And I suppose it must be him now in Alabama and continuing to preach against us."]
Brown, Elizabeth, "Introduction", pp. 261-283, and "Ritual Brotherhood in Western Medieval Europe", pp. 357-382, Traditio 52 (1997)
Brown is the general editor of a trilogy of reponses to Boswell, for the others see entries here under Rapp, Claudia, and Shaw, Brent.
[Brent Shaw is a classicist at Princeton. Elizabeth Brown is a western medievalist and former president of the American Historical Association. Claudia Rapp is a Byzantinist at UCLA. All, despite Shaw's snippiness in his New Republic article, are highly respected and careful scholars.]
Castelli, Elizabeth, in GLQ, Fall 1996
*Christiansen, Eric, "Let them remain together still -- The Marriage of Likeness: Same-Sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe by John Boswell", Spectator (Feb 18, 1995), 28-29
Doniger, Wendy, "Making brothers", Los Angeles Times 07/31/94 ; sec. BR p. 1 c. 2, - favorable review.
D'Emilio, John, "Passionate loyalties -- Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe by John Boswell", Lambda Book Report Sep 1994; 14-15 - favorable. [D'Emilio is a an American history specialist.]
Archimandrite Ephrem, review in Sourozh (Quarterly Journal of the Russian patriarchal Diocese of Sourozh) 59 (February 1995) pp 50 - 55,
[From a correspondent] The review is mainly concerned with Boswell's alleged incompetence in using and understanding the manuscripts and placing them in the context of orthodox liturgy. The author is, I believe the brother of Nicholas Lash who was (is?) a professor of theology at Cambridge.
Gomes, Peter J, "John Boswell's quietly shocking look at the facts", Boston Globe 06/26/94; p. 91 c. 4 - favorable review, [Gomes is the openly gay chaplain of Harvard University/]
Grossman, Ron, "Historic partnerships", Chicago Tribune 07/14/94 ; sec. 5 p. 5 c. 1 - favorable review
Harrie, J, "Europe -- Same-sex unions in premodern Europe by John Boswell", Choice Nov 1994; p. 511 - favorable review.
Hewitt, Bill, "Gay rites", People Weekly (Jun 27, 1994). 57-58
Hexter, Ralph, `"Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe": An exchange", New Republic Oct 3, 1994; 211n14 p. 39-41 - Hexter criticizes Brent D. Shaw's review of John Boswell's book "Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe" for distorting the book's facts. Shaw replies that Boswell should have checked the sources for his assertions more meticulously. [Hexter is a classicist, and a personal friend of Boswell.]
Hoffman, Roger, "Same-sex Unions in Premodern Europe by John Boswell", Wilson Library Bulletin (Dec 1994), 27 - favorable review
Holsinger, Bruce, "Dearly beloved -- Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe by John Boswell", Nation Sep 5, 1994; pp 241-4 - favorable review.
Jordan, Mark, in GLQ, (Fall 1996)
Negative review. [Jordan is a an openly gay Catholic. He is a philosopher at University of Notre Dame. See alos his 1997 book The Invention of Sodomy]
Kaelber, Lutz, "Life course: Stages & institutions -- Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe by John Boswell", Contemporary Sociology 24:3 (May 1995) 367-368 - favorable
Kennedy Robert G. & Kenneth Kemp, "History With A Bad Attitude", CRISIS, Sep. 1995.
See, for analysis of the review, Paul Halsall: Defending Boswell, A Discussion of the Kennedy/Kemp Review in Crisis.
Kennedy Robert G. & Kenneth Kemp, Review in Greek Orthodox Theological Review
Lee, Rand, Book review.., Vol. 17, ReVision, 01-01-1995, pp 39.
*Linehan, Peter, "In Isherwood country -- The Marriage of Likeness: Same-sex union in pre-modern Europe by John Boswell", Times Literary Supplement Feb 24, 1995; n4795 p. 6-7, Review-Favorable
Linehan's review is favorable, although he finds minor errors, and he accepts the general argument of SSU.
Mendelsohn, Daniel, review in Arion, (3rd Ser), 3:2-3 (Fall 1995/Winter 1996)
A very hostile review.
[Mendelsohn is an openly gay Princeton-trained classicist.]
McMillen, Liz, "Same-sex rituals", Chronicle of Higher Education Jun 29, 1994; 40:43 p. A6-A7+
Noonan, John T. Review of 2 books, one is Same Sex Unions, Catholic Historical Review 82 (January 1996): 79-81.
Most of the article discusses The Language of Sex by John Baldwin. Noonan more or less summarily dismisses Boswell's work and cites Brent Shaw's article.
[Noonan is a Catholic jurist. He is always willing to engage Catholic history critically, and has published acclaimed studies on the history of changing Catholic teaching on contraception, usury, and slavery.]
Olson, Ray, "Gay and lesbian books: They're everywhere -- Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe by John Boswell", Booklist Jun 1, 1994; 90:19-20 p. 1735
Paglia, Camille, "Plighting their troth", Washington Post (July 17 1994); sec. WBK p. 1 c. 2 - very critical review..[Paglia is a professional offensivist.]
Perper, Timothy and/Martha Cornog, review in The Journal of Sex Research 31 (1994), 315-318
Preston, Bill, "'Doonesbury' draws attention to new book on same-sex unions", National Catholic Reporter Jul 1, 1994; 30:33 p. 5
Rapp, Claudia, "Ritual Brotherhood in Byzantium", Traditio 52 (1997), 285-326
Prof. Rapp's Traditio article is perhaps, at this point, the best place to start. Almost uniquely among the people who have written after Boswell, and who disagree with him, she completely avoids personal invective. Nor does she claim Boswell was personally a "liar" or "untrustworthy", nor does she compare him to Hitler and Stalin [see a much cited review by Daniel Mendelsohn in Arion], nor invent sins of mistranslation [see the disgraceful review in GOTR].
What she does do, uniquely, is look at the sources with, I think, some more care than Boswell (at times); she looks at other sources not considered by Boswell, and she attempts a "history of adelphopoiesis" - i.e. an examination of how the ritual changed in its use. As a result she comes up with a significantly different interpretation than Boswell about the ceremony as represented in most of the sources available. Essentially Boswell had his liturgical manuscripts and very little else. Prof. Rapp uses historiographical evidence to examine how such texts were used.
Having said all this, and in admiration for her calm and scholarly approach, I am not sure I entirely agree with her conclusions. But at least in reading her article first, you can think about adelphopoiesis in clear terms - without the suspicion, as with Boswell, that he is arguing for past gay marriage as a contribution to modern discussion [he denied this, but was not persuasive!]; or without the certainty, as with many (but not all) the religious commentators that one is dealing with essentially homophobic gut reactions.
Now, briefly, as to why I am still not entirely persuaded by Prof. Rapp's article. Let me begin by summarizing the article.
She begins with a discussion of the terminology of adelphopoiesis, and similar fraternal terminology, in Byzantine sources. Then she outlines history of adelphopoiesis : first she notes it in hagiographical sources (the earliest texts which mention it are saint's lives: The Life of Theodore of Sykeon (online by the way); the Life of Euthymios the Younger; and the Life of Symeon the Fool); second she looks at an "imperial phase" and specifically the use of the rite by Basil I; finally she looks at the discussion of adelphopoiesis in later legal sources.
If I read her correctly she argues that adelphopoiesis was a ritual which seems to have originated (as far as our sources are concerned) in ascetic and religious life, then was deployed at the highest levels of society to create relationships, a move which was later rather widely emulated. Adelphopoiesis was a ritual which created life long bond, almost always between two people, and usually two men. This bond was considered as a kinship bond. There were other Byzantine rituals and roles which did the same thing - e.g. the co-godparenthood role. In general, Prof. Rapp thinks that adelphopoiesis function as a form of "fictive kinship" [other examples of this possibly loaded phrase would include, synteknia, adoption, and, although she does not say so I think, surely marriage also]. In the
range of fictive kinships in Byzantium, she sees it as more like synteknia than marriage.
My take:
1. Source issues:
Because she is so clear, the limitations of the sources are very apparent. For instance, when she discusses the use of adelphopoiesis by Basil I, she discerns a clear political motivation for this actions with Danelis' son [see p. 312], and thus points out that the bond was unlikely to have been motivated by feelings of personal attachment. [This also applies to
Theodore of Sykeon, but I am leaving that aside - I think the text was describing something very different than with Basil]. Later on she uses texts deriving ultimately from legal cases by members of the elite.
The problem here is that the number of liturgical manuscripts clearly suggest a much broader user of the ceremony, at least after the 10th century. I really doubt that the motivation of royalty and aristocratic elites can be generalized to speculate on the social significance of a much more widely used ritual. If, for instance, we were to use such texts to discuss marriage, we might come up with the same conclusions! The difference is that we have many more sources on marriage. OTOH, I acknowledge to go further than Prof. Rapp would be speculation. I merely suggest that some serious caveats apply to her conclusions.
2. An overlooked text.
Prof. Rapp's view of adelphpoiesis seems to see it as an essentially cold, contractual, unemotional form of social bonding. One of much less weight than marriage [although again, I wonder about the emotional weight of marriage.] I am not convinced such a conclusion holds against this text reported by Nicholas Kataskepenus about Cyril of Philea, written at what,
by many accounts, was the height of adelphopoiesis in Byzantium [i.e. after it became more generalized, but before the onset of legal derogation of the rite.]
Nicholas Kataskepenos: Life of St. Cyril of Philea [12th Cent.]
"Cyril teaches There are seven manners and seven kinds of prayers, as says the Abbot Anastasios. Three of them exist under the rule of fear and chastisement; the four others are used by those who are assured of their salvation and have a share in the kingdom of God. When a man is plunged into voluptuousness he holds to a prayer as a man condemned and without confidence, as man touched by the pain of death; in the second manner, a man takes himself before God and speaks to him as a debtor; the third manner differs from the two preceding, for one presents oneself to the Master as a slave, but a slave remains under the rule of fear and the fear of blows; in the fourth, the man carries himself in regard to God as a freed [?] servant, freed from servitude and waiting to receive a recompense because of the mercy of God; in the fifth manner, better than the first four, one holds oneself before God and speaks to him as a friend; in the sixth manner, superior to that, the man speaks to God in all confidence as a son "for I have said that you are of the gods, you are of the son of the Most High", you all who want it; in the seventh manner, which marks a progress and which is the best of all, one prays among those who have undergone adelphopoiia with Christ [or "among the adopted brothers of Christ"].....
Later (and distinct from the above text), Cyril says "The Lord has need of such servants who abstain from passions and dress in the nuptial robe (?nduma toà g£mou). Believe that the nuptial robe, indicated by the divine words of Christ, is the grace of the Holy Spirit: he who is not fit to be so dresses may not be a participant in the celestial marriage (toà ?pouran?ou g£mou)and the spiritual feast."
This text suggest to me that adelphopoiesis - here seen as the highest form of intimate relationship - cannot be fully comprehended in the terms Prof. Rapp suggests.
3. Fictive kinship
The concept of "fictive kinship" plays an important role in Prof. Rapp's analysis. This is an essentially anthropological term, although useful. [However, if anyone thinks Boswell was anachronistic in using the word "gay" about the medieval past, I suggest it would be rather easier to explain what we mean by "gay" to a Byzantine than to explain what we mean by "fictive kinship". I think that she is plum wrong (except in the most restricted sense) in claiming that "Byzantium is unique among medieval societies in having formally incorporated into its ecclesiastical ritual the ceremony by which the priest's prayers an blessings 'make' brothers of two men" [p.285]. I do not think enough work has been done in Muslim sources to justify the claim, and I am sure that such ceremonies existed in China, where the sexual aspects of such relationships were clear, but the language of brotherhood prevailed. [See Brett Hinsch: Passion of the Cut Sleeve, on this.]
If we are going discuss this ritual in anthropological terms, then we must face the fact that *many* societies have used "fictive kinship" rituals to create familial relationships between people of the same sex. In many cases the terminology has used that of "brotherhood". I am not convinced that such cross-cultural comparisons are necessary or valid, but if we are to
used anthropological categories, then I think they do need to be taken into account.
3. Pederasty
Prof Rapp, because of her close attention to the texts, avoids almost entirely any discussion of adelphopoiesis in terms of homosexuality. This is perhaps fair enough, as we can never know what went on under the sheets [did Byzantines used sheets, by the way?], and I think in terms of her article this was a useful strategy - a way of avoiding the hothouse discussion. But I think we must not avoid the issue entirely. In a point of here I agree with she notes that adelphopoiesis was associated with an relationship of *equality*, or future equality, between the participants [p. 312].
Now there is little question that "equality" was not a defining characteristic of the predominant classical discourse on same-sex sexual relationships. There the defining language was that of *pederasty*, an age differentiated relationship between a penetrator and a penetrated, sometimes valorized, other times condemned. And it was within such and understanding that condemnations of homosexual sex took place - especially with the Greek Christian notice of the "abuse of boys" [that this was a specifically Christian concept was suggested by Randy Trumbach]. But such a range of discourse clearly had no contact with what little we can grasp of the realities of adelphopoiesis. There is little doubt, I think, that at
some stages in its history adelphopoiesis was used by men who were sexually active with one another [whether this was ecclesiastically approved, or communally approved is another issue.] I do not know how to resolve this as an issue, but it seems to me it cannot be forever side-stepped.
In short, I think Prof. Rapp's article is the best thing available on adelphopoiesis, but it has not ended the discussions.
Reynolds, Philip Lyndon, "Same-sex unions: What Boswell didn't find -- Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe by John Boswell", Christian Century ; 112:2 (Jan 18, 1995) 49-54
Reynolds is the director of the Aquinas Center at Emory University and the author of a book Marriage in the Western Church: The Christianization of Marriage During the Patristic and Early Medieval Periods, (Leiden: Brill. 1994). In other words his opinions must be taken seriously. The electronic index I first found this review on listed it as "unfavorable", but that is not really the case. Reynolds is very careful to point out what Boswell claims and what he doesn't - Boswell does not in fact make the strong claim that the rites he discusses were understood as "marriages", although he does verge on this at times. Reynolds challenges, in some cases very justifiably some of Boswell's arguments, and at other times makes somewhat odd arguments: for instance he insists that marriage had to involve sex and procreation - and so could not subsume "romantic friendship" - and then invokes the "quasi-nuptial" rite by which nuns become "brides of Christ". Rather odd thoughts suggest themselves at this point in his argument! [He also makes an apparent mistake in attributing the Roman Law definition of marriage as "the union of a man and a woman" to Ulpian: I think it was a definition by Herennius Modestinus.] Reynolds ends with this passage
"Buried in this very muddled book is an interesting and plausible thesis which goes like this: On the one hand premodern Christian culture knew nothing of gay marriage, had no concept of the homosexual person and condemned homosexual acts. On the other, institutionalized or otherwise socially recognized same sex relationships, such as the brotherhoods [sic] studied here, provided scope for what we would now regard as homosexual inclinations - much more scope than was possible, for example, in the cultures of the late Middle Ages and Renaissance and the Reformation. They may even have occasionally provided cover for homosexual acts."
Reynolds is probably accurate here as to the history. The implications for modern politics depend on ahistorical attitudes, such as the nature of the Church [for instance, is it essentially a legal corporation of a special kind - an ecclesiastical hierarchy - or a eucharistic local community, or both?]. The review is then critical in the best way.
Shaw, Brent, "A Groom of One's Own?", The New Republic (July 18 1994), 33-41 - sharply critical review. [Shaw is a scholar in classics.]. See also the response by Ralph Hexter with Shaw's response.
Shaw, Brent, "Ritual Brotherhood in Roman and Post Roman Societies", Traditio 52 (1997), 327-355
Stanford, Peter, " The Truth about Troths -- The Marriage of Likeness: Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe by John Boswell", New Statesman & Society Feb 24, 1995; v8n341 p. 53 - mixed review
Stammer, Larry, in Los Angeles Times, Jun 11, 1994
Steinfels, Peter, "Chronicling Medieval Rituals in Same Sex Unions: What were They Solomenizing". New York Times (Jun 11 1994) - summary, and some questions.
Stumpf, Doug, "You may now kiss the groom -- Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe by John Boswell", New York Jun 20, 1994; 27:25 p. 59
Stuttaford, Genevieve, "Nonfiction -- Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe by John Boswell", Publishers Weekly Jun 6, 1994; 241:23 p. 52
Synan, E.A. (Msgr), "Doomed Effort to Reconcile The Irreconcilable", Catholic Register (Toronto?) July 16, 1994, p. 12: - negative review by scholarly Catholic. This was a very early review, and Msgr. Synan's comments on the careful editing of Same Sex Unions would not be widely accepted.
Taft, Robert, Remarks to the Catholic Press, 1994
[Fr. Taft. SJ, is perhaps the preeminent Western expert on the Byzantine liturgy.]
Trumbach, Randolph, Review, Journal of Homosexuality 30:2 (1995) 111-117.
Trumbach, who teaches at Baruch College in NYC, is a well-known scholar of early-modern sexuality but with a considerable background in classical history. Trumbach is not personally fond of Boswell [who could be very aggressive to people he disagreed with], but is also neither covertly homophobic [the subtext of a number of reviews], nor anti-Christian. He makes a number of interesting points not so far made by other critics. Here are Trumbach's points:
1: First he notes the similarity of Boswell's project to John Noonan's1965 book on Contraception - that is Boswell was attempting to challenge modern Catholic teaching by showing more variability in history than the monolithic Church of the 19th and 20th century would admit. This is useful as it provides a a measure by which to assess Boswell's critics.
2: SSU is not "carefully argued", but it presents a body of evidence so important that it requires moral theologians and bishops to listen carefully.
3: Trumbach notes that Boswell "must have known" that a book on Orthodoxy would be taken less seriously than his first book on Latin Christianity. The many reviews which seek to attack Boswell on this point validate Trumbach here.
4: Trumbach makes a number of fair criticisms of Boswell's somewhat confusing tables of documents.
5: Trumbach's main original argument is that the Greek world had a tradition of age-dissonant marriages, and that this was the basis of the ceremony used in the Greek Church. Boswell does not discuss this properly, Trumbach argues as to do so would raise the issue of pederasty [although, of course, age dissonance does not necessarily imply adult-child sex.]
6: The reason Boswell finds so little evidence in the west, Trumbach argues, is because while the wasa tradition of respectable homosexual unions in the Greek world, the Roman experience associated male sexual relations with slavery and prostitution. I think he is going to far here, but the point is worth discussion: there is, however, more Western evidence than Boswell found [Pierre Chaplais' book, Piers Gaveston, which overall attempts to deny any sexual relationship between Edward II and Gaveston, does, however, show that the two were united in some brother-making ceremony. In the Linehan review cited here, Linehan points to a discussion of such unions by Matthew Paris in 13th century England.]
7: Trumbach thus concludes that the Greek unions were not like modern "equal" homosexual relationships. Nonetheless "this second book...demonstrates, as the first could not, that the Christian tradition has in some times and places blessed sexual relations between males," and that Boswell has shown "as decisively as Noonan did on contraception that the Christian tradition on homosexual behavior has not been the same in all times and places," and "This is, in short, a chaoic and unsatisfactory book, but a revolutionary one."
In private conversation, Trumbach has also pointed out that some investigation into whether the Greek ceremonies and the Slavic ones took place in the same context needs to be done: this is an original point as Western reviewers and Orthodox reviewers, as did Boswell, have conflated the two cultural areas.
Viscuso, Patrick, "Failed Attempt to Rewrite History", New Oxford Review Dec 1994, 29-31
- A largely negative review by an Orthodox canonical scholar. In personal conversation, however, Fr. Viscuso is clearly not homophobic and in fact rather liberal and relativist for an Orthodox scholar [see his articles on the nature of marriage in general for instance, where he insists on the variability and changeable nature of canon law, and the importance of historical context for understanding it] . Although he thinks Boswell got it wrong, he is equally aware that Boswell has uncovered something of real interest which has not yet been fully elucidated.
Warner, Marina, "More than friendship", New York Times Book Review Aug 28, 1994; p. 7, 7:1, Reviews "Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe" - generally favorable. [Warner is a non-academy based historian]
Wilken, Robert L, "Procrustean marriage beds -- Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe by John Boswell", Commonweal Sep 9, 1994; p. 24-26 - unfavorable review.
Constance Woods, "Same-Sex Unions or Semantic Illusions?" Communio, vol. 22 (Summer, 1995), pp. 316-342. - review by a Slavacist.
Woodward, Kenneth L, "Do you, Paul, take Ralph ... -- Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe by John Boswell", Newsweek Jun 20, 1994; p. 76-77
Wright, David, "Do you take this man ... --- Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe by John Boswell", National Review Aug 29, 1994; 59-60
Wright, a former professor of mine at the University of Edinburgh has long been one of Boswell's sharpest critics, and one most willing to tackle Boswell on Boswell's lexicographical arguments. Here for instance he disputes Boswell's translation of "homologia" in his appended translation of Passion of Sergius and Bacchus as "love, unity, union, living together, togetherness", pointing out that in martyrdom accounts it almost invariable means "confession" of faith.. Wright also engages in the topos of Boswellian critics - the accusation of dishonesty - and laments Boswell's "fallacious sophistry". Wright also takes issue with Boswell's claim in SSU that the general argument of CSTH "has met with little opposition over the intervening decade". But Boswell may well have been quite justified in this claim: the many attacks on CSTH tended to focus on specific issues, not on the general program of recovering a "gay" history, not Boswell's essentially uncontested argument that virulent and widespread ecclesiastical attacks on homosexual activity really only unroll in the later middle ages. With SSU, Wright cannot bring himself to deny that Boswell has found something of interest - he gives the Scottish judicial verdict of "not proven" on the book, and notes that it displays "flashing insight" and "extraordinary skills and industry".
[See above for comments on Wright.]
Young, Michael B. Review, The Historian 58:1 (1995), 165-66.
Young, of Illinois Weslyan University, is impressed by the scholarship, and frustrated by what he sees as unuseful organization and tedious writing style. His criticisms are - 1: Boswell does not prove the relationships were about sex, 2: Boswell has little information on how often such ceremonies were performed, 3: these were ceremonies restricted to Byzantium and the Balkans, and 4: the ceremonies are less "nuptial" than Boswell readDes them. It is not clear to me why No. 3 is a criticism [although many reviewers make it] - perhaps the implication is that the West is not "responsible" for what the Greeks did? Young also notes that the book "deserves a more sympathetic reception than it has so far received" and that the work displays "enormous scholarship" which will cause scholars to question their assumptions.
Young, Robin Darling, Gay Marriage: Reimagining Church History, First Things, 47 ( Nov 1 1994), 43-

Monographs With Significant Discussion of Boswell

John Boswell's work on the history of sexuality was ground-breaking. Even when writers disagreed with him, they had to use or confront his work.

Brooten, Bernadette J, Love Between Women: Early Christian Responses to Female Homoeroticism, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996) The most important book on the classical and early Christian history of Lesbianism. She attacks the constructionist idea that there was no general idea of "homosexuality" in these periods. She criticizes Boswell for avoiding discussion of women, and taking classical acceptance of some forms of male homosexuality as applying to homosexual relations between women as well.
Brundage, James, Law, Sex, and Christian Society in Medieval Europe, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987)
Countryman, L. William, Dirt, Sex and Greed: Sexual Ethics in the New Testament and Their Implications for Today, (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1983)
Countryman is professor of NT at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific. He uses Boswell extensively, and attacks some of Boswell's critics - especially Richard Hays.
Jordan Mark, The Invention of Sodomy, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997)
A critique of John Boswell's work as "social history", Jordan traces the development of the idea of "sodomy" in theological, canonical, and philosophical texts.
Payer, Pierre J., Sex and the Penitentials:Formation of a Sexual Code 550-1150, (Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press, 1984)
Much more negative than Boswell, but then part of Boswell's argument is the concentration on laws and official documents has substantially misrepresented the history of homosexuality in the middle ages.
Scroggs, Robin, Homosexuality and the New Testament, (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1983)
Scroggs, a married Episcopalian, was professor of NT at Union Theological Seminary in New York. He has some quibbles with Boswell, but generally approves of his work, and uses it extensively.

Discussions

Paul Halsall: Defending Boswell, A Discussion of the Kennedy/Kemp Review of SSU in Crisis.
Paul Halsall: Same-Sex Marriage Through History and Culture [Jan, 1996]

Internet Discussions

Multi-List Discussion: April, May, 1994 [On Same Sex Unions, but before publication].
Mediev-l List Discussion: July 1994 [On Same Sex Unions]

Topics

Boswell's books were wide ranging, but he put forward a number of ideas. Theories, which have come in for repeated discussion. This is a topical index to some of the most important issues. Discussions will be added as they become available. [Contributions welcome].

Issues common to both Boswell's books on sexuality.

"Advocacy scholarship"
The possibility of social history
The use of the word "gay"
Use and/or abuse of footnotes
The social construction of sexuality

Issues in Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality

Lexicography: The Meaning of New Testament Texts
Romans 1:26
Arsenokoites and Malakoi
Consistency of Christian attitudes to homosexuality
Homosexual identity of various figures.
St. Anselm
Richard I
Homosexual readings of apparently homoerotic texts
Reasons for Increased social hostility in Later Middle Ages

Issues in Same Sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe

Homosexual marriage in Rome
Translation of Passion of Serge and Bacchus
Other translation issues
The nature and definition of marriage as a social institution
Legal texts as guides to historical actuality.
The history of adelphopoiia in the Greek World
Same-sex unions in the Slavic world
Same-sex unions in the West

Websites

Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Catholic Handbook
People With a History: Medieval Page

It is the John Boswell page from Fordham University's "People With A History: An Online Guide to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans History."

It doesn't purport to take a position one way or the other, it's simply a list of articles discussing Boswell's work.

EDIT: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/pwh/index-bos.html

Shadow Lodge

Darkwingduck wrote:
I don't know what your definition of a "reasonable interpretation" is, but what is becoming increasing clear to me is just how dead set you are to be closed minded.

Can you do anything other than ad hom?

Quote:
I've shown you what the Greek says.

Yes you have. And so have 15 other translations. Even if you take the word to be a complete unknown, the phrase "even their women are having unnatural relations with each other" makes it pretty clear that the men are having unnatural relations with each other. The meaning is very clear from the context.

I've seen your experts argument. PHD or no the argument is laughably poor. He completely dismisses the OT on the assumption that the bible is a perfectly coherent work.

Quote:
You've shown yourself unable to point to a prominent scholar in a secular University who shares your opinion.

I really don't feel like trudging down to a library on a sciatic leg and a foot held together by a screw to @11:50 at night to try to track down a person you said you'll accept as an authority only to watch you move the goalposts again.

You do realize that I'm not meatrace right? You only asked for the name of the scholar yesterday?

What you're saying is that none of the translations I've ever seen were done by a prominent scholar. That the catholic church hasn't used a prominent scholar to arrive at its conclusion. That the pope isn't a prominent biblical scholar (despite being professor at the Universities of Bonn, Munster,and Tübingen in addition to being .. well.. the pope)

Quote:
If this were a discussion on a scientific issue, we'd now be at the point where I showed you the data, prominent researchers who agree with me on what the data means, you failed to provide any counter data or prominent researchers agreeing with you on what the data means, and you still held onto your position. Its like I'm arguing with an Intelligent Design proponent

Its more like you're quoting Behe and saying "See! He agrees with me and he has a phd!"

You tell me, if there's no link, in what other venue would a 4 year old start singing "[lyrics i probably shouldn't repeat]" ? In what other circumstances would a 4 year old even LEARN those lyrics? In what other venue would that song receive a standing ovation from the audience?

If my explanation above isn't correct then what are you offering as an alternate hypothesis? *points at the 4 year old* THERE's the data. You tell me whats going on prof.


Darkwing Duck wrote:
Syssyl, your view is what I find so frustrating about the anti-religion view on these boards. Pretty much every church hates sex? Really? You based this on what? It doesn't match up wih any church I know of. Even the cult I grew up in had classes for young married couples that covered sex. My brother's pastor's wife has held F.U.N. parties for married couples (they are like Tupperware parties, but sell sex toys).

Exactly. For MARRIED couples. It was Freud, I think, who stated that if sex could be separated from procreation, it would be the greatest triumph of humanity. Controlling large amounts of people gets easier if they are frustrated and tense, and making sex complicated and making sure it has far reaching consequences is a way to ensure that. Hence, antipreventatives and antiabortion.


Syssyl, then you've asserted the wrong thing. Churches, as a whole, aren't anti-sex. They ARE, though, anti-casual sex.


BNW, you do know that linguistics is a science and that, as a science, it evolves. That the more recent Bible translations are likely to be more accurate because they are based on better linguistics. But, even then, many Bible translations are not to be trusted because of the role of politics in translating them (for example, many prominent Bible translators have criticized translation errors (not just on the homosexuality issue) in the NIV. That many Bible translations do not go back to the original scripture, rather, they use other translations as crutches?

In short, standing on some arbitrary Bible translation(s) as definitive of the state of current lexicographic scholarship shows a deep ignorance of the process of translating scripture.

Shadow Lodge

Darkwing: No, answer the rest please. I've had too many points skipped over.


Darkwing Duck wrote:
Syssyl, then you've asserted the wrong thing. Churches, as a whole, aren't anti-sex. They ARE, though, anti-casual sex.

They are pro-control, just like all other authoritarian organizations. Control freaks. Happy people see little reason to give up control, so making sex evil is par for the course. Still, you need new babies and so sex for procreation is tolerated.

Simple as that. And, DWD, saying that someone is wrong does not exactly evolve the discussion. If you have anything to back up your claims, feel free to share it.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
meatrace wrote:
Klaus van der Kroft wrote:
The Church, at least the Catholic one, is not anti-gay, does not have anti-gay policies, nor advocates gay hate or bashing; much on the contrary, it advocates love and understanding, but at the same time asks homosexuals to remain chaste and restrain from having homosexual intercourse.

Saying that homosexual sex is a sin, and asking people in a loving relationship to refrain from expressing that love simply because you do not approve IS ANTI-GAY. It is unequivocally anti-gay. The fact that you fail to grasp this notion shows how far down the rabbit hole you are on this issue. To deny it is akin to saying (as someone has on these very boards) "I'm not racist I'm just for the races remaining separate" (paraphrasing).

Look, replace homosexual sex with interracial sex.

The church isn't anti-interracial relationships, it just asks that those who are attracted to members of other races remain chaste and refrain from pursuing those desires, since doing so is a sin in the eyes of god.

There are enormous differences between men and women, but there are no differences between people of different races. Men and women are inherently different, but blacks and whites (and yellows and browns) are inherently the same. Therefore, any imposed separation by race can never be moral or even rational; on the other hand, separation by sex can be both morally desirable and rational. Separate bathrooms for men and women is moral and rational; separate bathrooms for blacks and whites is not.

The second reason the parallel between opposing same-sex marriage and opposing interracial marriage is invalid is that opposition to marriage between races is a moral aberration while opposition to marrying a person of the same sex is the moral norm. In other words, none of the moral bases of American society, whether religious or secular, opposed interracial marriage -- not Judaism, not Christianity, not Judeo-Christian values, not deism, not humanism, not the Enlightenment. Yes, there were religious and secular individuals who opposed interracial marriage, but by opposing interracial marriage, they were advocating something against all Judeo-Christian and secular norms, all of which saw nothing wrong in members of different races intermarrying (members of different religions was a different matter).
On the other hand, no religious or secular moral system ever advocated same-sex marriage. Whereas advocating interracial marriage was advocating something approved of by every religious and secular moral tradition of America and the West, advocating same-sex marriage does the very opposite -- it advocates something that defies every religious and secular moral tradition. Those who advocate redefining marriage are saying that every religious and secular tradition is immoral. They have no problem doing this because they believe they are wiser and finer people than all the greatest Jewish, Christian and humanist thinkers who ever lived.

But as objectionable as hubris is, false comparisons are worse. And there is no comparison between different races and the different genders. There are no inherent racial differences; there are significant differences between the sexes. To the extent that racial groups are different, they are only because their cultures differ. But a black man's nature is not different from that of a white man, an Asian man, an Hispanic man.

The same is not true of sex differences. Males and females are inherently different from one another. We now know that even their brains differ. And those differences are significant. Thus, to oppose interracial marriage is indeed to engage in bigotry, but to oppose same-sex marriage is not. It simply shares the wisdom of every moral system that preceded us -- society is predicated on men and women bonding with one another in a unique way called "marriage."

Comparing the prohibition of same-sex marriage to prohibiting interracial marriage is ultimately a way of declaring the moral superiority of proponents of same-sex marriage to proponents of keeping marriage defined as man-woman. And it is a way of avoiding hard issues such as whether we really want all children to grow up thinking it doesn't matter if they marry a boy or a girl and whether we really want to abolish forever the ideal of husband-wife based family.

Those who wish to redefine marriage for the first time in Jewish, Christian or secular humanist history may offer any honest arguments they wish. Comparing the prohibition of same-sex marriage to prohibiting interracial marriage is not one of them.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Aretas wrote:
And it is a way of avoiding hard issues such as whether we really want all children to grow up thinking it doesn't matter if they marry a boy or a girl and whether we really want to abolish forever the ideal of husband-wife based family.

Those are not hard issues. I absolutely do want all children, every last one of them, to grow up thinking it doesn't matter if they marry a boy or a girl. I dare say I'd be thrilled to learn that the last person, child or otherwise, that believed it did had died of old age.

And abolish the ideal of husband-wife based family? Absolutely. There's nothing about it that makes it ideal. A husband that rapes his wife every night is still in a husband-wife family. A lesbian couple that only has consensual sex with one another is far more ideal than that. The ideal family is a loving one, not one with your preferred mix of sex organs.


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Darkwing Duck wrote:
Syssyl, then you've asserted the wrong thing. Churches, as a whole, aren't anti-sex. They ARE, though, anti-casual sex.

And apparently all sex that happens outside of marriage is "casual sex" then? Even if it's between people who are exclusive sexual partners.

And lots of religions(denominations)/churches see sex between married couples as only having the purpose of procreation. Thus any sex "just for fun" would probably be considered "casual sex" too. Yeah, I'm with Sissyl on this.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber
Darkwing Duck wrote:

BNW, you do know that linguistics is a science and that, as a science, it evolves. That the more recent Bible translations are likely to be more accurate because they are based on better linguistics. But, even then, many Bible translations are not to be trusted because of the role of politics in translating them (for example, many prominent Bible translators have criticized translation errors (not just on the homosexuality issue) in the NIV. That many Bible translations do not go back to the original scripture, rather, they use other translations as crutches?

In short, standing on some arbitrary Bible translation(s) as definitive of the state of current lexicographic scholarship shows a deep ignorance of the process of translating scripture.

Well, since no one has the original manuscripts, everyone is forced to work from secondary sources/copies. But, of course, we also know that no one could possibly seek to influence such influential works throughout the history of the church...


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Aretas, you are so far from being right it's almost comical. Numerous "moral" societies have had same-sex marriages in the past (and it has even had Christian rituals) and many, many current societies have same-sex marriages today. The world hasn't ended yet, nor have those societies descended into anarchy or what else the religious right usually lays at the feet of homosexuality.
Dude, go read some history books. Or use the internet, this information is widely available out there.

Aretas wrote:
Whereas advocating interracial marriage was advocating something approved of by every religious and secular moral tradition of America and the West, advocating same-sex marriage does the very opposite -- it advocates something that defies every religious and secular moral tradition. Those who advocate redefining marriage are saying that every religious and secular tradition is immoral. They have no problem doing this because they believe they are wiser and finer people than all the greatest Jewish, Christian and humanist thinkers who ever lived.

I... what are those secular moral traditions same-sex marriage goes against?

Besides, marriage has been redefined innumerable times (and it's still not a purely religious, certainly not a purely Christian, concept). Father's can't sell their daughters for goats anymore in Western society, for instance.


GentleGiant wrote:

Aretas, you are so far from being right it's almost comical. Numerous "moral" societies have had same-sex marriages in the past (and it has even had Christian rituals) and many, many current societies have same-sex marriages today. The world hasn't ended yet, nor have those societies descended into anarchy or what else the religious right usually lays at the feet of homosexuality.

Dude, go read some history books. Or use the internet, this information is widely available out there.

Aretas wrote:
Whereas advocating interracial marriage was advocating something approved of by every religious and secular moral tradition of America and the West, advocating same-sex marriage does the very opposite -- it advocates something that defies every religious and secular moral tradition. Those who advocate redefining marriage are saying that every religious and secular tradition is immoral. They have no problem doing this because they believe they are wiser and finer people than all the greatest Jewish, Christian and humanist thinkers who ever lived.

I... what are those secular moral traditions same-sex marriage goes against?

Besides, marriage has been redefined innumerable times (and it's still not a purely religious, certainly not a purely Christian, concept). Father's can't sell their daughters for goats anymore in Western society, for instance.

Not to mention, while we think it's nonsense now, all of those arguments were made against interracial marriage. Blacks and whites were considered different a hundred years ago. Some still try to claim blacks are inferior. The moral norm was against interracial marriage. For a long time, it was a tiny minority who supported it.

It doesn't matter what you think. It doesn't matter what religions oppose it. The traditionalists have lost. The kids don't care. The shift of opinion among those who've grown up with open homosexuals around them and in the media is astounding. We may have to wait for my generation to die off before it's complete, but the writing is on the wall.


GentleGiant wrote:


And lots of religions(denominations)/churches see sex between married couples as only having the purpose of procreation.

Well, they claim to. In reality, they often have sex without the intent to procreate (such as the Catholic wink/wink/nod towards allowing infertile couples to marry).

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