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Book Reviews of Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality : Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century

Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality : Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century
Christianity Social Tolerance and Homosexuality Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century
Author: John Boswell
ISBN-13: 9780226067117
ISBN-10: 0226067114
Publication Date: 11/1/2005
Pages: 442
Rating:
  • Currently 4.8/5 Stars.
 5

4.8 stars, based on 5 ratings
Publisher: University Of Chicago Press
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality : Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century on + 289 more book reviews
Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality is an extraordinary piece of scholarship that I wished I finished reading sooner. I was reading with good momentum before I unwisely decided to leave it home during a roadtrip, leaving the book to languish on my nightstand for many weeks. Professor John Boswell of Yale University spent ten years on this groundbreaking study of attitudes towards gay people in Western Europe. Starting with ancient Greece, he shows how feelings swayed between celebration, tolerance, indifference, and hostility up to the late Middle Ages. In scholarly, but engaging and civil prose, Boswell lets his interpretation do the arguing for him. Hostility to gay people is not inherent to Christianity, but due to conflation of homosexual acts with prostitution and rape, imprecise translation, and personal intolerant attitudes making its way into the public sphere and historical record. How revolutionary these arguments must have seemed in 1980just before HIV/AIDS came to public attentionwhen this book came out! However, as a scholarly treatise with many long footnotes and foreign translations, it might not appeal to the average reader. Ultimately the lay reader has to trust the author on subtleties of context in classical languages to accept his thesis. I am pleased to know that this book won the 1981 National Book Award for history and would recommend it to any one interested in an intellectual account of history, religion, and homosexuality.
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