Byzantine Christianity, adelphopoiesis as so-called gay unions

Sts Sergius and Bacchus

In 1994, the late John Boswell, then historian at Yale, published Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe, in which he argued that the Orthodox rite of adelphopoiesis should be understood as a rite of same-sex union, rather than as ‘brother-making’, a rite uniting two men as spiritual brothers. This rather controversial thesis has been taken up again, this time by Stephen Morris, in When Brothers Dwell in Unity: Byzantine Christianity and Homosexuality (2015). I have yet to find a published review of this new work – it has only been out for a month – but in the meantime there are these good reviews of Boswell’s thesis by Patrick Viscuso, Failed Attempt to Rewrite History and John Neuhaus, In the Case of John Boswell.


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