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Christian church performed same-sex marriages almost 2,000 years ago

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  1. Chester666666 30 Jul 2013, 10:12pm

    So much for their supposedly homophobic god
    Just shows they don’t even know their own history

    1. Jock S. Trap 31 Jul 2013, 10:12am

      Oh they know there history, it’s just they conveniently change history to suit themselves, to suit their ends.

      I’m beginning to think this is really what Christianity, and indeed most religions, is about. Changing history, historical facts to create myth and superstition.

      The ugliest thing about it, is that they used to burn innocent women as witches because of the myth and superstition they created.

      They murder(ed) and tortur(ed) innocent people who happened to be Gay because of the myth and superstition they created.

      They each kill others who don’t support their religion because of the myth and superstition they created.

      It’s been going on for centuries and still does to this day.

      No-one will ever convince me that religion is a good thing in society.

      It really is the most evil thing of this world. End of!

      1. Any belief in a delusion is an evil thing, and the god construct is a delusion.

  2. Godricsong Godricsong 30 Jul 2013, 10:17pm

    This assertion does the rounds every few years.Not sure how much evidence there can be ? Would like it to be correct but wanting doesn’t make it so. Would like same sex marriage to be secular and modern rather than relying on history

    1. Having an academic background in history, I read Boswell’s book several years ago, and have to confirm that his arguments certainly aren’t conclusive. But they are compelling, and I think that they deserve a much wider readership. Unfortunately Boswell’s writing style is definitely quite esoteric, and doesn’t make for light and easy reading, particularly for those who aren’t accustomed to academic literature. Still, it’s great to see this work being produced as an e-book, and it’s a real shame that he never lived to see it.

    2. History is written by the victor, and it was much easier to re-write history back then, to expunge things. There were 50 or so Gospels, and Gospels have been discovered recently. So why did they chose the 4 they did? What about the others? The Gnostic Gospels.

      In terms of history nobody can prove Jesus even existed, but then that is true for many historical figures. He was a simple carpenter and mystic, he wasn’t mentioned in any other literature at the time. If you take John F Kennedy, we have lots of evidence for him, people he met, pictures, video, papers, etc. Just saying that, and I don’t actually believe this, it would have been quite possible to have invented Jesus.

      The person who is an expert on these things is Bart Erhman (see him on YouTube). He knows where all the fake bits in the Bible are.

  3. So THEY are the ones who re-defined marraige by making it a union purely between a male and female in the 13th Century? It would be funny if it wasn’t so tragically grotesque

    Mr. Pink

    1. Cardinal Hmm 30 Jul 2013, 10:57pm

      It must have existed since Justinian saw fit to make it illegal. We also know there were a couple of Roman Saints who got married to eachother, one was put in a dress when he was killed.

      I expect there must be a certain amount of evidence held in the Vatican somewhere, not least maybe shedding some light on why there was suddenly a change for the worse in attitude in the 13th century.

    2. The patron saints of the Byzantine Empire, Sergius and Bachus were reported to be lovers in the 13th century, and may have had a same-sex union ceremony performed. We know these unions took place, as the text for them has been found in several languages. When this book first appeared in 1994, the Catholic Church in the U.S. went to great lengths to explain away the unions as “friendship” ceremonies, claiming they sometimes involved large groups of people taking part. But when you read the text (published in Boswell), it’s obviously a solemn religious ceremony binding two men in holy union.

  4. Weirdly I posted something on reddit, went back to it later on today, and came across details of this book.
    I’d had that book in my Amazon basket for ages but when I saw the interest on reddit I ordered it.

    For Godricsong it’s worth noting;

    “These same-sex unions continued until Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire. A law in the Theodosian Code (C. Th. 9.7.3) was issued in 342 AD by the Christian emperors Constantius II and Constans, which prohibited same-sex marriage in ancient Rome and ordered that those who were so married were to be executed. “

    You don’t outlaw something which never happens, thus by definition same-sex marriages were taking place, and read the rest of that wiki page for more info on other regions where same-sex marriages happened.

    1. This was about the same time that this same Catholic church had all the known (natural) eunuchs castrated. At this same time these were castrated, the laws previously applicable to natural men were now applied and thus this longstanding designated category of (natural) eunuch was erased. This is how we were made legally men (and suddenly bound by this law) and the remaining unknown eunuchs were driven into the first closet. Back before this change, the natural eunuch was a true eunuch in that he (by his very nature) had no “heat” or natural desire for the opposite sex.

      1. Godric Godricson 31 Jul 2013, 11:33am

        I agree that you wouldn’t ban something unless it was happening. That makes sense. My only nagging doubt on this one is the apparent lack of ‘primary evidence’ rather than ‘secondary commentary’. I also agree that history is written by the victor.

  5. I would not be utterly suprised that what it is said in this article to be true.

  6. Scott Larsen 30 Jul 2013, 11:31pm

    The line, ‘Annalee Newitz profiles Bosewell, who is a Yale scholar and religious Catholic on his work’ should be changed. Boswell died in 1994.

    1. I was just about to write the same! Another PN boob :)

  7. An invention or reduction to marriage for producing children fits excellently with the theory by german social scientists Heinsohn + Steiger, who wrote a book about the catholic church’s rather pragmatic reasons to hunt + kill witches (they had the knowledge to prevent/abort children) and monks (they didn’t contribute to the church’s wealth by making children) — The catholic church was one of the biggest landowners in the middle ages and when plague and droughts decimated the population, they NEEDED to have more children to keep working on the land.
    It’s a natural thing that female animals stop having children or at least less children in bad times, when they know they can’t feed them. But the church just needed the women to churn out as many children as possible, so at least some would survive and work for them.

    It all fits together much to nicely to not have at least some truth to it.

    1. The church, (mosque/synagogue etc) historically has always encouraged followers to have large families. It brings them (the church) wealth, power, influence, and more adherents, as children born into religious families are highly likely to take on their religious views, also.
      It’s also basic warfare strategy. Out-breed your opponents. A cultural, as well as a religious tactic.

  8. Michael Stevens 31 Jul 2013, 4:51am

    I thought this was the least respected piece of Boswell’s scholarship, written as he was dying. I’m pretty sure his central thesis has been completely refuted by historians now, including gay historians. Wishful thinking on his part, but not borne out by better scholarship.

    1. Hardly the least respected, but it was certainly the most controversial. In 1981, Boswell earned the National Book Award for history for his landmark work on the history of attitudes toward homosexuality in the Christian West:
      Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality. It’s gone through several editions and is still in print. It is a tribute to Boswell that his writings continue to generate ongoing scholarship and act as a touchstone and inspiration for the work of others.

  9. Christopher Coleman 31 Jul 2013, 6:16am

    There is no need to look to the past to justify today’s cultural actions. Many things that we do now are genuinely new. Many of the old ways have been let go — happily in many instances, e.g. we don;t execute people by boiling them in oil. All that matters is the justification that we ourselves believe in.

    Claudia Rapp (formerly at UCLA; now U Vienna) ,a specialist in late classical history, has also been researching this issue. Her findings are that these unions were not marriages, as we know it, but rather intellectual and spiritual unions. I attended a presentation she made to a GLBT group. Claudia is a meticulous scholar and teacher and I would be inclined to accept her interpretation.

    1. That’s interesting. Does Rapp go into why it was felt that intellectual or spiritual unions needed to be solemnised or blessed?

      1. Christopher Coleman 31 Jul 2013, 7:01pm

        Regret I do not recall that now. Her presentation was a report on research in progress. I last worked with Claudia about six years ago and have not kept in touch since her move to Vienna. There is information about her and her work on the web. There is a list of papers at:

        It includes a paper called “Ritual brotherhood in Byzantium”. This might be a place to start. If it does not answer your question, you might want to contact her directly. You’ll find contact info on the Vienna University site.

  10. Another nail in the coffin for these outdated superstitions – they suit what ever is acceptable at the time –

  11. Jock S. Trap 31 Jul 2013, 10:04am

    Christians redefining Marriage… well what a surprise… Not!!

  12. Hi Guys within the Christian church there are a whole spectrum of people. Some very loving and accepting following Jesus’ example and some selfish and vindictive as we know. It doesn’t mean you can’t be a true Christian (follow Jesus) as a Gay guy, I know that for sure as I’m gay and have a partner and I study the bible all the time and I love it. I feel happier, hugs, Damian

    1. “Hi guys, within the Nazi Party there are a whole spectrum of people. Some very loving and accepting following Hitler’s example and soome selfish and vindictive as we know”

    2. Understanding how to live with love, respect, and consideration does not require religious devotion to a book written by men to control people’s minds through dictum. I am gay, married to my husband, loving, considerate, and do not follow any religion.
      Think for yourself not as you are told.

    3. GulliverUK 31 Jul 2013, 9:21pm

      I don’t think it’s remotely possible to know what Christianity was unless you ask why selective Gospels (4) were chosen, when over the first 400 years over 50 Gospels were written, some painting entirely different concepts of Christianity and Jesus. When Constantine ordered some Christians to establish just one version, 4 Gospels were chosen, and the others were outlawed as heretical and ordered destroyed. Yet people were so passionate about these other books, and remembering there were many dozens, perhaps a hundred, different Christian sects, they buried them, and now they’ve been discovered, the Gnostic (means Knowledge) Gospels. This video explains a great deal.

      It is undisputed that the disciples Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, did not write the Gospels attributed to them, and that at least half of Paul’s letters are fakes – this was very common at the time. Using somebody elses name, someone with authority, gave the work authority.

      1. GulliverUK 31 Jul 2013, 9:31pm

        If Christianity makes you a nicer, more thoughtful, caring person I’m for it, if you just use it tot try to exert power over others, justify a hateful personality, to justify discrimination and you end up hurting others, then that’s the sort of self-proclaimed Christian who destroys any good the New Testament might contain. The Old Testament contains very little that isn’t hateful and abusive.

        But you should accept that you are reading something by unknown authors – true biblical textual critics and experts know this, but most Christians don’t – the video is correct – I’ve seen expert biblical scholars repeat those facts. It doesn’t have to mean there aren’t some useful saying, but then there are useful sayings in all sorts of non-religious materials. People say useful things every day.

  13. I own and have read John Boswell’s book. It is thoroughly enlightening and scholastically provable. There is more than enough information in that publication to refute all the conservative arguments against homosexuality.
    Check it out.

  14. Paul Brownsey 31 Jul 2013, 8:43pm

    “A book by historian John Boswell around the origins of equal marriage is being released in digital edition for the first time in August, and discusses that almost 2,000 years ago, the Christian church performed same-sex weddings.”

    “Duscusses that” — rotten English.

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