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Homosexuality: A History (1996)

af Colin Spencer

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"In this magisterial overview of homosexual behavior across time and geography, British novelist and journalist Colin Spencer cuts through an extraordinary amount of myth and misunderstanding about the place of same-sex love in society. For millennia, Spencer shows, society accepted sexual relations between men as entirely normal and even essential to the maintenance of social relations. The privileged place of homosexuality in ancient Greece is well known, but, as Spencer points out, the Biblical story of David and Jonathan is also one of the great love stories of literature, and even the fiery strictures of Leviticus and the brimstone fall of Sodom may have changed meaning in time and translation." "From the ancient world to the Renaissance and (in places) long thereafter, the love of one's own sex was given equal place to the love of the opposite sex (especially if you were a man, of course). An Attic Greek male in his twenties was expected to develop a relationship with a boy in his teens, and the older man was as much teacher and father figure as lover. It was not until the sixth century A.D. that all sexual acts between men were made illegal. A minority's ideas about sex were easily identified with doctrinal or political unorthodoxy, and the transition from "outside the dominant order" to "unnatural" was an easy one for ideologues from Saint Augustine to Senator Joseph McCarthy."--BOOK JACKET.… (mere)
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"In this magisterial overview of homosexual behavior across time and geography, British novelist and journalist Colin Spencer cuts through an extraordinary amount of myth and misunderstanding about the place of same-sex love in society. For millennia, Spencer shows, society accepted sexual relations between men as entirely normal and even essential to the maintenance of social relations. The privileged place of homosexuality in ancient Greece is well known, but, as Spencer points out, the Biblical story of David and Jonathan is also one of the great love stories of literature, and even the fiery strictures of Leviticus and the brimstone fall of Sodom may have changed meaning in time and translation." "From the ancient world to the Renaissance and (in places) long thereafter, the love of one's own sex was given equal place to the love of the opposite sex (especially if you were a man, of course). An Attic Greek male in his twenties was expected to develop a relationship with a boy in his teens, and the older man was as much teacher and father figure as lover. It was not until the sixth century A.D. that all sexual acts between men were made illegal. A minority's ideas about sex were easily identified with doctrinal or political unorthodoxy, and the transition from "outside the dominant order" to "unnatural" was an easy one for ideologues from Saint Augustine to Senator Joseph McCarthy."--BOOK JACKET.

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