Same-sex Unions in Premodern Europe

Author(s): John Boswell


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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From the Publisher

"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


Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly

The acceptance and sanctification of homosexual relations in Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches during Medieval Europe are examined in this scholarly work. (June)

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. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/94.]-Lee Arnold, Historical Society of Pennsylvania., Philadelphia


General Fields

  • : 9780679751649
  • : Vintage
  • : Vintage
  • : May 1995
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : 491
  • : John Boswell