Essay Christianity and Prostitution in the Middle Ages

Essay Christianity and Prostitution in the Middle Ages

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Christianity and Prostitution in the Middle Ages


21st century Americans live with the hopes of being a tolerant society. Modern American culture attempts to teach diversity and acceptance. However there is uncertainty about subjects associated with immoral behavior and sexuality. Many people are uncomfortable with the idea of prostitution as a legal institution. Hence, it remains illegal throughout the United States in all but a few counties in one state, Nevada. People have questioned the moral and legal issues of this career choice throughout much of written history, especially since the beginnings of Judeo-Christianity.

Many modern views stem from the development of Christianity and its articulation in the Middle Ages. Throughout the Middle Ages, Christians, priests, scholars, and civil governments were all trying to understand where and even if prostitution fit into society. Prostitution during the Middle Ages was seen by the church as immoral, but was tolerated “…to protect respectable townswomen from seduction and even rape.” [1] It was a legal institution in most of Europe during the Middle Ages and was in obvious demand. Most attempts to abolish prostitution failed. Prostitutes were protected by laws and were safer in brothels than on the streets. They were protected in brothels, but were also regulated.

Compared to modern views on prostitution people during the Middle Ages had a more rational outlook. By this I mean that the medieval period was more consistent when it came to a belief system that corresponded to actual practice. It is very clear that prostitution was viewed as immoral and wrong but also necessary. It was because of this understanding of human nature that logic rather than morals...


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[24] Survey and comment board, http://boards2.ivillage.com/message/get/rlsexualrevolution1.html.

[25] Tone, Andrea, ed., Controlling Reproduction: An American History, United States: Scholarly Resources Inc., 1997. p. 185.

[26] Ibid. p. 191.

[27] Ibid.

[28] Nevada State Law, NRS 201.295 Definitions. http://www.leg.state.nv.us/.

[29] Meier and Geis. Victimless Crime: Prostitution, Drugs, Homosexuality, Abortion. p. 21.

[30] Ibid. p. 28.

[31] Ibid. pp. 29-30.

[32] Ibid. p. 31.

[33] Sarah McNaught. “Legalize Prostitution,” The Boston Phoenix. Oct.23-30, 1997. http://www.bostonpheonix.com/archive/features/97/10/23.

[34] Prostitution in the US—The Statistics, http://www.bayswan.org/stats/html.

[35] Ibid.

[36] McNaught. “Legalize Prostitution”.

[37] Ibid.

[38] Ibid.

[39] www.sexuality.org/1/workers/nevada.html.

[40] Ibid.

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