Was Same-Sex Marriage a Christian RitePosted: May 19, 2012
This post is in response to links to this one: http://anthropologist.livejournal.com/1314574.html which I found cropping up on friends walls on facebook, and then noticed was posted on numerous blogs and forums. That one is similar to a new one found here: http://io9.com/gay-marriage-in-the-year-100-ad-951140108?fb_action_ids=10201784798360900&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=%7B%2210201784798360900%22%3A213350815487451%7D&action_type_map=%7B%2210201784798360900%22%3A%22og.likes%22%7D&action_ref_map=%5B%5D
My response here is in its preliminary stages – Ill add more to it, as I have done to previous posts on this blog.
Have churches wed same-sex couples in past centuries? I dont know for sure, but it wouldnt surprise me if there were some cases here and there. Over the centuries there have been times when most of a given country could not read, and Biblical literacy was low, so it’s not surprising that Christians back then got things wrong here and there. Was it common or sanctioned by people like St Paul? I very much doubt it, firstly because ancient writings identify that homosexuality was not accepted in the Jewish religion or in Christian culture. As such the final sentence of the above post is misleading.
The above posts are based very much on the work of John Boswell. Brent D. Shaw from Fordham University writes a damning report of Boswell’s work here and here, implying “tendentious misreadings of antiquity” and that Boswell read things into the original texts that were not there. Ross Douthat wrote that Boswell was “clearly mistaken” about the nature of the apparent same-sex weddings. And there is another review here. There was even a book written about the impact that Boswell had. In The Bible and Homosexual Practice, (EG p. 119 of Chapter 1) Gagnon too exposes flaws in Boswell’s claims.
“What one historian or pseudo-intellectual may see as harmless theorizing; another may take as the Gospel Truth from God. Anyway, it can all lead to hell.”
Perusing early Christian references to marriage, suggests to me that it was at that point regarded as a heterosexual institution. EG look through the quotes on this page, and see how it’s referred to as a commitment between a husband and a wife.