Sexuality, especially in terms of same-sex desire, is something that is extremely difficult to discuss, because often people use historical assumptions to build their own modern perspective concerning how they feel about modern homosexuality. Paraphrasing verses from the Bible or making broad generalizations about what modern individuals might assume they know about sexual desire between people of the same-sex during Greco-Roman antiquity is very common in arguing for or against this modern branch of sexuality. The purpose of this paper is to explore homoeroticism in the context of Roman antiquity, particularly between the years of 60 BCE and 300 CE, and to more thoroughly examine homoeroticism in the contexts of prostitution, broad social understanding and practices, and early Christianity.
In order to better understand homoeroticism as it was considered and responded to by early Christians, the context and understanding of sexuality by the Roman led world which Christianity was born into must be more deeply explored. To begin, a differentiation between homoeroticism and homosexuality must be established. For the purpose of this paper, as is argued by scholar David M. Halperin in his essay One Hundred Years of Homosexuality, homosexuality is a much more modern concept which is far from a completion of sexual acts between members of the same gender, but instead implies certain lifestyles and viewpoints that are recognized by members of society today (Halperin 44).
On the other hand the terminology of homoeroticism does not automatically imprint modern understandings of erotic relations between individuals of the same sex and instead leaves those exposed to the terminology open to various defi...
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...ithin the Roman world (Brooten 73). Evidence such as erotic binding spells and marriage between women in certain areas, further acts as proof that the ideals of elite men, which have often been what was protected and preserved throughout time, were not the daily reality for the majority of the population of the Roman world.
Both male and female homoeroticism were both classified as sinful by early Christians and such classifications are speculated by scholars to have played a crucial role in the creation of the modern concept of homosexuality (Brooten 9). Paul’s status as a Jewish born and raised male in all probability means that he was against forms of homoeroticism based on scripture within Old Testament books Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Therefore it would make logical sense, considering the mass conversion to Christianity that followed the emperor Constantine
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