In this work, John Boswell attempts to prove that in pagan antiquity and during Christianity's first centuries - for around 2000 years in all - extensive legal sanction was given to pairing between males. He also shows that society had little difficulty in accepting homosexual relationships. The book claims that Christendom has had a major homosexual past which religious authorities have spent hundreds of years vigorously attempting to suppress and ignore.
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'The Marriage of Likeness' changes forever the way we view the history of gay relationships in the West.
“The core argument of this book is likely to surprise liberals and moralists alike: that until the 14th century in Europe, same-sex relationships could be solemnised by the Church. The prayers, services and liturgies for those unions are specific and they are included in the exhaustive appendices to the book…Even now Boswell’s work is causing trouble and those scholars and reviewers who have sought to discredit him to do not seem to be being so out of an earnest search for truth, but out of anxieties of their own. The facts are undeniable…No reader can doubt either the quality of the scholarship or Boswell’s refusal to bias his findings for the benefit of any pressure group…It is beyond doubt that same-sex unions were welcomed and admired within the early Church and the wider reach for society.”
JEANETTE WINTERSON, 'Daily Telegraph'
“[After] twelve years of arduous research, the result is this extraordinary book…It is greatly to Boswell’s credit that he was able to treat his subject with such absolute historical and scholarly integrity, anticipating as it is clear he does, the sort of uproar that it might provoke. Other scholars will debate the significance of the ceremony, but I think few can doubt its essential meaning or Boswell’s achievement in establishing a text which is bound to be taken up as the original gay marriage service.”
CLAIRE HARMANN, 'Independent on Sunday'
“Those Christians who find 'The Marriage of Likeness' offensive may do well to reflect on the tolerance their church once showed…Closely argued, moderately phrased in deference to the prejudices that it may excite, and a model of accessible scholarship, this book is , by default, a plea for the church to return to its old practices…There are many who care a great deal about this. For them, Boswell has provided all the weapons they need.”
PETER STANFORD, 'New Statesman and Society'
“Boswell’s learned book is brilliant riposte to those who claim the Church has always maintained that the only acceptable adult relationship is between a man and a woman.”
PETER BRADSHAW, 'Evening Standard'
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Book Description Fontana, 1996. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110006863264