When Same-Sex Marriage Was a Christian Rite

Saints Sergius and Bacchus. 7th Century icon. ...

‘Contrary to myth, Christianity’s concept of marriage has not been set in stone since the days of Christ, but has constantly evolved as a concept and ritual. Prof. John Boswell, the late Chairman of Yale University’s history department, discovered that in addition to heterosexual marriage ceremonies in ancient Christian church liturgical documents, there were also ceremonies called the “Office of Same-Sex Union” (10th and 11th century), and the “Order for Uniting Two Men” (11th and 12th century).’ (via anthropologist)

3 comments

  1. Charles

    It’s great to see that Professor Boswell has found so much additional evidence since his book on the subject was published 17 years ago.

    On the other hand, I don’t like encouraging the notion that Christianity is the primary place we should look for standards on marriage. Marriage existed as a civil and economic contract long before Christianity was invented. It is not entitled to claim any special rights in regards to defining marriage.

    And to look realistically at the issue in the present, let’s not forget that a heterosexual couple that stands in front of a preacher for a wedding is not a legal couple until they get a marriage license, but one that gets married by a Justice of the Peace with no participation by a religious authority is a legal couple. Doesn’t that prove that marriage is a civil matter and not religious one?

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  2. FmH

    All points well-taken, Charles. I have always felt that “marriage” should be considered a matter of faith and divorced from recognition in the eyes of the law. However, the point of highlighting this article was to point out Christian hypocrisy, not to set them up as arbiters of any standards at all.

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  3. Charles

    My quibble was with the article and not with you, Eliot. And it was a minor one at that.

    I prefer to think of myself as the opposite of an atheist, in that I approach all religions with equal amounts of looking for glimpses of ethical truth and watching out for utter nonsense. When it comes to Yeshua ben Yosef, I like most of his teachings and think it would be a much better world if people tried to live by them, but I only have contempt for the organized religion that was foisted off on him by the likes of “Saint” Paul, Constantine/Eusebius, and the Catholic Church in general.

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