Homosexuality and the Western Christian Tradition

Homosexuality and the Western Christian Tradition

Homosexuality and the Western Christian Tradition

Homosexuality and the Western Christian Tradition

Excerpt

As a member of a small informal group of Anglican clergymen and doctors who have been studying homosexuality, and whose findings were published in a Report entitled The Problem of Homosexuality, I undertook to investigate the Biblical and historical material bearing upon the subject. This essay is the result of some of my researches, and its scope is strictly limited by the fact that I set out to study only those factors which have helped to mould the attitude to homosexuality expressed in our present laws and public opinion. I have included nothing but what relates to the formation of the tradition of the Christian West, and this will explain certain omissions.

I have not mentioned the large and interesting mass of evidence which anthropologists have accumulated, since it chiefly concerns other peoples and cultures than those which have contributed to the making of our tradition, and does not adequately account for our particular sanctions and prejudices. Nor have I paid any regard to anecdote, pornography, and modern literature, which have at best a doubtful historical value. It may surprise the reader, however, to find that I have ignored the paiderastia of the Greeks -- but our laws and social attitudes afford overwhelming proof that they have not been influenced in the slightest by the so-called "homosexuality" of Hellas. There is need for a thorough and unprejudiced study of this subject, and its relevance (if any) to the problems which now confront us.

My object has been simply to state as accurately and to examine as fully as possible the Biblical and ecclesiastical attitudes to homosexual practice, and the contributions of Roman law and mediæval thought to the views which are now current in the West.

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