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John Boswell: Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe

John Boswell: Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe

USA 1994, 412 pp. illustrated, brochure,  24.95
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Vintage
Inhalt
Boswell has taken great care to assemble, transcribe, translate and interpret a persuasive array of texts describing same-sex relationships in the ancient world. It is a testimony to the fairness of the book that he confronts the opposing arguments clearly. At a time when strictures against homosexuality are the subject of impassioned debate, this groundbreaking work of scholarship has generated extraordinary controversy. For in »Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe«, Yale historian John Boswell, a respected authority on the Middle Ages, produces extensive evidence that at one time the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches not only sanctioned unions between partners of the same sex but sanctified them - in ceremonies that bear striking resemblance to heterosexual ceremonies. Drawing on sources in a wide range of languages - and on examples that range from the 4th-century legend of Saints Serge and Bacchus to the ceremonial union of the Byzantine emperors Basil I and Michael III - Boswell reveals how the same tradition that looked askance at all sexuality could also encompass - and at times idealize - loving partnerships between two men or women. He produces actual examples of ceremonies in which such love was formally consecrated until modern times.
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