The Boswell Thesis: Essays on Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality
Few books have had the social, cultural, and scholarly impact of John Boswell's Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality. Arguing that neither the Bible nor the Christian tradition was nearly as hostile to homoeroticism as was generally thought, its initial publication sent shock waves through university classrooms, gay communities, and religious congregations. Twenty-five years later, the aftershocks still reverberate. The Boswell Thesis brings together fifteen leading scholars at the intersection of religious and sexuality studies to comment on this book's immense impact, the endless debates it generated, and the many contributions it has made to our culture.
The essays in this magnificent volume examine a variety of aspects of Boswell's interpretation of events in the development of sexuality from Classical Antiquity through the Middle Ages, including a Roman emperor's love letters to another man; suspicions of sodomy among medieval monks, knights, and crusaders; and the gender-bending visions of Christian saints and mystics. Also included are discussions of Boswell's career, including his influence among gay and lesbian Christians and his role in academic debates between essentialists and social constructionists.
Elegant and thought-provoking, this collection provides a fitting twenty-fifth anniversary tribute to the incalculable influence of Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality and its author.
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1 The Boswell Thesis
PART I IMPACT
2 John Boswells Gay Science
3 Touching on the Past
4 Reading CSTH as a Call to Action
5 Both as a Christian and as a Historian
PART II DEBATES
6 Fronto + Marcus
10 Male Friendship and the Suspicion of Sodomy in Twelfth Century France
PART III INNOVATIONS
11 Impossible Translation
12 Beauty and Passion in TenthCentury Córdoba
13 Sexual Mutilation and Castration Anxiety
14 Knighthood Compulsory Heterosexuality and Sodomy
15 The Body of Gerardesca of Pisa Reclothed and Resexed
16 Francis of Assisi as Mother Father and Androgynous Figure
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accusations al-Andalus Amy Richlin ancient Anselm Antony argued beauty biblical Boswell Thesis Boswell’s boys brothers Caes caliph castration Catholic Celano church condemnation context CSTH culture debate difﬁcult discussion early Christian erotic essay example female ﬁeld ﬁgures ﬁnal ﬁnd ﬁrst Foucault Francis Francis’s Fronto gay Christians gender genitals Gerardesca Greek Hadewijch heterosexual historian History of Sexuality holy homoeroticism homosexual desire homosocial human interpretation John Boswell Journal kiss Knights Lesbian letters literature male friendship Marcus Marcus’s masculine Medieval men’s Middle Ages military modern mother nature Orderic Vitalis Oxford passion Paul Paul’s pederasty Pelagius Pelagius’s Phaedrus poems published R. W. Southern Raguel’s Ralph Hexter reader reﬂect relationship religious Review Roman Ruﬁnus Ruﬁnus’s saint Same-Sex Unions scholars signiﬁcance Social Tolerance Society sodomy Southern speciﬁcally spiritual Templars testicles Teutonic Knights theology tradition trans translation twelfth century unnatural Virgin Vita Vita prima woman women words writing York