Tagsame sex marriage

Same-sex Marriages were Sanctioned by the Early Christian Church During an Era Commonly Called the Dark Ages

Annalee Newitz writes:

Gay marriage sounds like an ultra-contemporary idea. But almost twenty years ago, a Catholic scholar at Yale shocked the world by publishing a book packed with evidence that same-sex marriages were sanctioned by the early Christian Church during an era commonly called the Dark Ages.

John Boswell was a historian and religious Catholic who dedicated much of his scholarly life to studying the late Roman Empire and early Christian Church. Poring over legal and church documents from this era, he discovered something incredible. There were dozens of records of church ceremonies where two men were joined in unions that used the same rituals as heterosexual marriages. (He found almost no records of lesbian unions, which is probably an artifact of a culture which kept more records about the lives of men generally.) […]

How could these marriages have been forgotten by history? One easy answer is that — as Boswell argues — the Church reframed the idea of marriage in the 13th century to be for the purposes of procreation. And this slammed the door on gay marriage. Church scholars and officials worked hard to suppress the history of these marriages in order to justify their new definition.

Full Story: io9: Gay marriage in the year 100 AD

Blood Brothers: Jack Donovan and Nathan F. Miller interviewed

Jack Donovan: My co-author Nathan Miller and I wrote a book about blood-brotherhood because Mr. Miller originally suggested it to me as an alternative to the ideal of “marriage” which carries too much heterosexual cultural baggage to create an innately masculine bond between two men.

But the book really isn’t about same sex-marriage. It’s about rites between men who were predominantly straight. It’s about male bonding and things that men—specifically men—have done to ritualize their friendships and alliances. Very few books have ever handled this topic, and ours is the only one to pull together so much information from so many diverse sources. In our research, we found blood-brotherhood bonds of various kinds in the recorded practices, literature, folklore and mythology of cultures from all over the world, throughout history. […]

Nathan F. Miller: It’s very interesting, because similar rituals have been performed by men of Africa, aboriginal Australia, and South America — populations that had been separated from each other for tens of thousands of years! Anthropological study of the blood-brother phenomenon shows certain logics that could apply to men anywhere. One reason is the rituals were meant to create a physical connection in a way that imitated natural biological relationships, but allowing the men to control the bond. Another logic was involved in the idea that the blood of a person was their very life or soul, so for two or more men to mingle their lives together was to create the most sacred bond possible. Yet another idea that often went into blood-bond ceremonies was that blood was such a magical substance that “conditional curses” could be placed on the blood, and the potential oath-breakers. Interestingly, instances of blood brother rituals could show all three logics simultaneously; the men involved would be considered to have become actual brothers, yet also something even more sacred than brothers, and have curse-backed promises tied into the agreement as well.

Greylodge: John Wisniewski Interviews Jack Donovan and Nathan F. Miller

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