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Church sanctioned gay marriage in the year 100AD?

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  • Church sanctioned gay marriage in the year 100AD?

    Wow, this is fascinating, and certainly throws a whole new light on the current debate around gay marriage. Not that I'd ever dare accuse the Catholic church of distorting history or the facts (), but this is a fascinating presentation.

    http://io9.com/gay-marriage-in-the-y...0-ad-951140108
    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.)

    <snip>

    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.

    Of course, history is more complicated than that. Boswell claims that part of the problem is that we define marriage so differently today that it's almost impossible for historians to recognize 1800-year-old gay marriage documents when they see them. Often, these documents refer to uniting "brothers," which at the time would have been a way of describing same-sex partners whose lifestyles were tolerated in Rome. Also, marriages over a millennium ago were not based on procreation, but wealth-sharing. So "marriage" sometimes meant a non-sexual union of two people's or families' wealth. Boswell admits that some of the documents he found may refer simply to non-sexual joining of two men's fortunes — but many also referred to what today we would call gay marriage.

  • #2
    Re: Church sanctioned gay marriage in the year 100AD?

    Just as today, I'm not sure why anyone would need a religious ceremony to share their wealth.

    מה מכילות החדשות?


    • #3
      Re: Church sanctioned gay marriage in the year 100AD?

      I hope this is on topic: I just read this article this morning, in the NY Times:

      On Gay Priests, Pope Francis Asks, ‘Who Am I to Judge?’
      By
      RACHEL DONADIO
      Published: July 29, 2013

      ROME — For generations, homosexuality has largely been a taboo topic for the Vatican, ignored altogether or treated as “an intrinsic moral evil,” in the words of the previous pope.

      In that context, brief remarks by Pope Francis suggesting that he would not judge priests for their sexual orientation, made aboard the papal airplane on the way back from his first foreign trip, to Brazil, resonated through the church. Never veering from church doctrine opposing homosexuality, Francis did strike a more compassionate tone than that of his predecessors, some of whom had largely avoided even saying the more colloquial “gay.” “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” Francis told reporters, speaking in Italian but using the English word “gay.”
      I've noted elsewhere in this community my perspective on how the church, today, treats homosexuals:

      Simply put, the Bible is pretty clear that all sin is sin.

      Seems a simple concept, doesn't it? But when man gets involved, even the most simple concept gets pretty complex. So I hope I can clarify:

      Everyone is tempted, even Jesus. Everyone EXCEPT Jesus falls to various temptations and that is called "sin." People throughout history, beginning with Adam and Eve, seem incapable of overcoming sin. Sin separates us from God but He really wants fellowship with us. So a price had to be paid because all actions have consequences and there was only one sacrifice in all of humanity and from time immemorial who could ever pay the price for all of that sin: Jesus.

      Those of us in the church today (not just talking about the Catholic church here ... but not excluding them either) have some pretty unfounded beliefs when it comes to sin. We tend to want to think "our" sin isn't as great as "their" sin but the fact is, sin is sin... and all sin separates us from God.

      To a human being, the impact of sexual sin (which includes homosexuality) is greater so in The Bible, God instructs us to FLEE from sexual sin, but He nowhere tells us "Sexual sin is greater than any other sin" ... we've pretty much just made that up. So when we get to homosexual sin, we've got this idea that "sexual" sin is greater AND we're uncomfortable with homosexuality ... which only compounds our misdirected ire at that particular sin.

      So Pope Francis is right, IMO, at least in part. the church should not be keeping homosexuals outside our doors... and by our attitudes towards them, that is exactly what we're doing. Christ needs to be the savior of ALL mankind, not just heterosexual mankind and the church should minister, likewise, to all.

      Now, don't get me wrong, I definitely do NOT advocate condoning their (or any) sin: What I'm saying is we should be at a place in our own salvation that we realize Christ rescued us from a sinful state very similar to the homosexual and we should not be judging THEM so much as we should judge all sin as onerous to God.

      Our church embraces the homeless. We send vans out to pick them up for services, we give them food and furniture (once we help them find a place), we help them find jobs... AND THEY WORK IN OUR MINISTRY. Why are "homeless" acceptable to us but homosexuals are not? Did Christ die for both? Does salvation extend to both? If we cut them, do they not bleed (and all the other applicable Shakespeare stuff).

      The church needs to get its head out of its own butt and start reaching out to all sinners, engage all sinners, encourage all sinners into its doors ... and stand strong against all sin.

      מה מכילות החדשות?


      • #4
        Re: Church sanctioned gay marriage in the year 100AD?

        Originally posted by OldmanDan View Post
        Just as today, I'm not sure why anyone would need a religious ceremony to share their wealth.
        Maybe bacause mariage is not a religious act any more?

        מה מכילות החדשות?


        • #5
          Re: Church sanctioned gay marriage in the year 100AD?

          Originally posted by PeterUK75 View Post
          Maybe bacause mariage is not a religious act any more?
          For some of us, it still is. Others, not.

          מה מכילות החדשות?


          • #6
            Re: Church sanctioned gay marriage in the year 100AD?

            Originally posted by PeterUK75 View Post
            Maybe bacause mariage is not a religious act any more?
            Oh I'm sure that Brittney Spears and Kim Kardashian had region high on their thoughts when they got married....

            מה מכילות החדשות?


            • #7
              Re: Church sanctioned gay marriage in the year 100AD?

              The simple answer is that marriage is religious if you place a religious value on it. This has no relation to civil marriage, however. Two people form a legal union and, if they feel it's appropriate or necessary, combine that with a religious ceremony. You can have one without the other as evidenced by atheists and Mormon fundamentalists.

              מה מכילות החדשות?


              • #8
                Re: Church sanctioned gay marriage in the year 100AD?

                Originally posted by Porras View Post
                The simple answer is that marriage is religious if you place a religious value on it. This has no relation to civil marriage, however. Two people form a legal union and, if they feel it's appropriate or necessary, combine that with a religious ceremony. You can have one without the other as evidenced by atheists and Mormon fundamentalists.
                Exactly! If you're married in a church by a person of a cloth, then it's a religious event; if you're married by a civil servant in a non-religious setting, then it's not. Marriage ceased being a religious event long ago (if it ever was?), so the attempts to now make it appear so are simply another futile argument against gay marriage.

                מה מכילות החדשות?


                • #9
                  Re: Church sanctioned gay marriage in the year 100AD?

                  Originally posted by noahath View Post
                  Exactly! If you're married in a church by a person of a cloth, then it's a religious event; if you're married by a civil servant in a non-religious setting, then it's not. Marriage ceased being a religious event long ago (if it ever was?), so the attempts to now make it appear so are simply another futile argument against gay marriage.
                  I don't know of many who defend the religiosity of marriage as an argument against homosexual marriage.

                  I don't advocate so-called "gay" marriage because marriage is defined as the union between a man and a woman. What you describeas a ceremony overseen by a civil servant is a civil union.

                  מה מכילות החדשות?


                  • #10
                    Re: Church sanctioned gay marriage in the year 100AD?

                    Originally posted by Good1 View Post
                    I don't know of many who defend the religiosity of marriage as an argument against homosexual marriage.

                    I don't advocate so-called "gay" marriage because marriage is defined as the union between a man and a woman. What you describeas a ceremony overseen by a civil servant is a civil union.
                    Then I gather you'd have no objection to abolishing the term "marriage" from all non-religious unions?

                    מה מכילות החדשות?


                    • #11
                      Re: Church sanctioned gay marriage in the year 100AD?

                      Originally posted by noahath View Post
                      Wow, this is fascinating, and certainly throws a whole new light on the current debate around gay marriage. Not that I'd ever dare accuse the Catholic church of distorting history or the facts (), but this is a fascinating presentation.

                      Gay marriage in the year 100 AD
                      Strikes me as historical revisionism along the same lines as those who've attempted to portray Abraham Lincoln as a homosexual. One takes an historical occurrence that seems odd or out of place to modern sensibilities and, on that measure, recasts it as something entirely different to support the homosexual agenda. It's telling that no contemporary historians attributed any sexual relationship to those who participated in the ceremony, and the rite is apparently still today practiced without any homosexual predicate. See, e.g., Gay Marriage: Reimagining Church History

                      Yet we are meant to believe that nearly 2000 years later Boswell has blown the lid off some great cover-up? I don't think so.

                      noahath, I've noticed you -- an admitted atheist, if I'm not mistaken -- often taken a similar approach to Mr. Boswell, taking on the role of theological scholar, for example, to inform Christians what constitutes a sin in Christianity. Your interest isn't in historical accuracy or theological truth but, rather, to distort and twist Christianity for your own ends. Any genuine student of history or adherant of Christianity would be well advised to view your "fascinating" contributions to the debate with a healthy dose of skepticism.

                      With brotherhood and affection,

                      Wolfgang

                      מה מכילות החדשות?


                      • #12
                        Re: Church sanctioned gay marriage in the year 100AD?

                        Originally posted by PeterUK75 View Post
                        Maybe bacause mariage is not a religious act any more?
                        The act of consensual genital sexual relations between a male of legal age (9?) and a female of legal age (6?), intended to result in kih-doo-shin (separation of the female from engaging in sexual activity with any other male and the Biblical obligations of a husband to a wife), is valid.

                        I don't know how other religions handle marriage.

                        מה מכילות החדשות?


                        • #13
                          Re: Church sanctioned gay marriage in the year 100AD?

                          Originally posted by USCitizen View Post
                          The act of consensual genital sexual relations between a male of legal age (9?) and a female of legal age (6?), intended to result in kih-doo-shin (separation of the female from engaging in sexual activity with any other male and the Biblical obligations of a husband to a wife), is valid.

                          I don't know how other religions handle marriage.
                          Pretty sure peter is talking about the societal convention of marriage as it is recognized in modern times as a joining of persons and their property and families. Formerly an event that necessitated the presence of a priest and a religious ceremony as well as the tacit approval of the ruling fuedal lord, this has been replaced with a recognized official of the state (in which capacity priests often serve), the approval of the state based on none of the parties being consenting adults (as defined under the law) or related in a close fashion. Pretty sure its not talking about 9 and 6 yr olds.

                          מה מכילות החדשות?


                          • #14
                            Re: Church sanctioned gay marriage in the year 100AD?

                            Originally posted by noahath View Post
                            Then I gather you'd have no objection to abolishing the term "marriage" from all non-religious unions?
                            No, I would not object to that at all ... and I assume by this proposal, you would also not object to not attaching the term "marriage" to any but religious unions?

                            Further, and getting back to your original post, I'm dubious about the premise of a lesbian writing about the "scholarly" work of a homosexual who's "scholarly" methods and conclusions have been "religiously" questioned and challenged by other "scholars."

                            Can I assume someone has looked into what I expect will be the biases inherent in such writings?

                            מה מכילות החדשות?

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