Since its publication in 1980, John Boswell’s Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality has dominated conversations about the history of sexuality. Within academic circles, it provoked considerable debate, being subjected to fierce criticism even as it was adopted as one of the foundation texts of a new discipline. Its impact was also felt outside the academy: a New York Times Book of the Year (1980) and winner of a National Book Award (1981), it attracted (and continues to attract) a wide non-specialist readership. This week on NOTCHES, we examine the Boswell legacy, asking three leading medievalists to evaluate the book’s significance today, more than three decades after its publication. We’d love to hear what Boswell’s book means to our readers so please continue the conversation in our comments section.

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The three posts in this series are:

David Clark (University of Leicester): ‘The Inevitable Errors of First Explorations’? Revisiting John Boswell’s Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality

Ruth Mazo Karras (University of Minnesota): Where are the Women? Revisiting John Boswell’s Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality

Robert Mills (University College London): Linked in Orgasm? Revisiting John Boswell’s Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality



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