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Both highly praised and intensely controversial, this brilliant book produces dramatic 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 strikingly similar to heterosexual marriage ceremonies.
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About the Author

John Boswell (1947-1994) won the 1981 American Book Award for history for his groundbreaking work Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality: Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century.

Reviews

Boswell ( Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality ) has written a stunning, complex book that is demanding in the brilliance of its scholarship but written with sterling clarity. He offers a sophisticated interpretation of the concepts of love and friendship and the institution of heterosexual marriage, from the ancient Greeks and Romans through the Middle Ages, demonstrating that in the distant past there was not the link of love and marriage expected today. Relationships between men were as likely to be sanctified and consummated as heterosexual ones, and the documentary evidence presented shows that men set up households together in significant numbers. Material on women is sparse, Boswell notes, because most premodern historical sources were written by men, for men, about men; women figure in them either as property or as objects of sexual desire. The academic title is deceptive--the book offers vividly romantic depictions of love and friendship, and there isn't a dull page. Illustrations not seen by PW. (July)

"Boswell's book provides us with a whole new [historical] model for adult gay relationships."--Natalie Zemon Davis, Princeton University "I have the greatest respect for John Boswell as an historian and as a person of integrity, and I feel his work will be of great help to the church in dealing with gay marriages."--Episcopal Bishop Paul Moore of New York

The title sounds weighty, but Yale historian Boswell--author of the ``exceptionally important'' Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality ( LJ 6/1/80)--is on to something that could prove quite sensational. He has discovered the existence of a same-sex nuptial liturgy evidently used by the Church throughout the early Christian era.

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