Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe Paperback – May 30 1995
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From Publishers Weekly
The acceptance and sanctification of homosexual relations in Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches during Medieval Europe are examined in this scholarly work.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Not since Boswell's Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality (Univ. of Chicago Pr., 1981) have Christians of all creeds confronted a work that makes them look so closely at their notions of the relationship between the church and its gay and lesbian believers. Diligently researched and documented, this immensely scholarly work covers everything from the "paired" saints of Perpetua and Felicitas and Serge and Bacchus to lesbian transvestites in Albania. Examining evidence that the early church celebrated a same-sex nuptial liturgy, Boswell compares both Christian same-sex unions to Christian heterosexual unions and non-Christian same-sex unions to non-Christian heterosexual unions. Appendixes contain, among other things, translations and transcriptions of cited documents. Whether or not minds are changed on the matter will probably fall along sectarian lines, according to current attitudes on homosexuality. However, the work will provoke dialog. A groundbreaking book for academic, public, and theological libraries.
--Lee Arnold, Historical Society of Pennsylvania., Philadelphia
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
The other document type is a simple wedding ceremony, meant to be used between men and women.
Amazingly, Boswell confuses or conflates these two totally different types of document! It is almost impossible to explain why Boswell reproduced a "brothers" ceremony in four sections, and then somehow appended a traditional heterosexual wedding ceremony as sections five and six of the "brothers" ceremony. He either made an incredible blunder, or was trying to pull wool over people's eyes....
Firstly, it did not in fact reveal (if such places exist, the not-always-so-hidden charge behind the disappointment) communities that had continued the practice of tolerance to same-sex couples through the last millenium within the structures of Christendom.
For part of the book he covers old ground, talking about the milieu of the Greco-Roman world, and talks about the development of the idea of marriage and liturgical practices for that. He then proceeds to give examples of liturgies which, Boswell claims, are proof that the church did recognise and bless same-sex unions. This claim is still debated, as there is no blantant 'I now pronounce you husband and husband (or wife and wife)' kinds of statements or liturgies here, but rather testimony to friendship, companionship, communal support, of a sort that is ambiguous.
While this book is important for liturgical forms and narrative discussion (although the narratives can be reinterpreted as something different from Boswell's), it failed to deliver the knock-out punch readers of the first book had been waiting for, i.e., conclusive proof the church was up to no good.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
The other reviews cover most of the issues with this book admirably. One could have appropriately, but less titilatingly, retitled the book "Unions in Pre-Modern Europe", since... Read morePublished on April 18 2004 by Penny Duff
I have now read this book twice and both times I find myself looking at great scholarship. However, there is something missing. Read morePublished on April 14 2004 by Amazon Customer
I find it amazing that so many readers think that Boswell, may he rest in peace, has discovered that in fact the early church actually blessed same sex unions. Read morePublished on Feb. 18 2004 by matt
Boswell's book should be read by everyone interested in some kind of "fixed union", even heterosexuals who want to be married by the Church. Read morePublished on Jan. 3 2004
I couldn't disagree more with claims that this book is dry. As a student planning to become a historian focusing on homosexual history (one that is interested in the pre-1869 "gay... Read morePublished on Dec 19 2002 by Jon Cruz
This book had some interesting things to say but it went about it in the wrong way. First of all, I think this book demonstrates that marriage is more then superficial ceremonies... Read morePublished on Dec 13 2002
At the very least, Boswell deserves credit for bringing to light centuries worth of church documents some people would probably prefer to ignore or even deny the existence of. Read morePublished on July 9 2001 by David Jankowski
Boswell is most famous for his 'Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality,' and this book certainly does not have so great an impact as that classic work. Read morePublished on Aug. 1 2000 by George H. Mcallister
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