Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century
by John Boswell
University of Chicago Press, 1981
Cloth: 978-0-226-06710-0 | Paper: 978-0-226-06711-7 | Electronic: 978-0-226-06714-8
DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226067148.001.0001

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ABOUT THIS BOOKAUTHOR BIOGRAPHYREVIEWSTABLE OF CONTENTS

ABOUT THIS BOOK

"Truly groundbreaking work. Boswell reveals unexplored phenomena with an unfailing erudition."—Michel Foucault

John Boswell's National Book Award-winning study of the history of attitudes toward homosexuality in the early Christian West was a groundbreaking work that challenged preconceptions about the Church's past relationship to its gay members—among them priests, bishops, and even saints—when it was first published twenty-five years ago. The historical breadth of Boswell's research (from the Greeks to Aquinas) and the variety of sources consulted make this one of the most extensive treatments of any single aspect of Western social history. Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality, still fiercely relevant today, helped form the disciplines of gay and gender studies, and it continues to illuminate the origins and operations of intolerance as a social force.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY

John Boswell (1947-94) was the A. Whitney Griswold Professor of History at Yale University and the author of The Royal Treasure, The Kindness of Strangers, and Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe.

REVIEWS

"What makes this work so exciting is not simply its content—fascinating though that is—but its revolutionary challenge to some of Western culture's most familiar moral assumptions."
— Jean Strouse, Newsweek

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Cover

Illustrations

Abbreviations

Preface

I Points of Departure

I. Introduction

2. Definitions

3. Rome: The Foundation

II The Christian Tradition

4. The Scriptures

5. Christians and Social Change

6. Theological Traditions

III Shifting Fortunes

7. The Early Middle Ages

8. The Urhan Revival

9. The Triumph of Ganymede: Gay Literature of the High Middle Ages

IV The Rise of Intolerance

10. Social Change: Making Enemies

II. Intellectual Change: Men, Beasts, and "Nature"

I2. Conclusions

Appendix I. Lexicography and Saint Paul

Appendix 2. Texts and Translations

Frequently Cited Works

Index of Greek Terms

General Index