We often talk here (and even more often on my blog) about how the basis of human freedom came from Christianity. We also talk a fair amount about the sexual sins.
In fact, right now we in the States have a kerfuffle going on because one of the stars of a reality show, Duck Dynasty, had the sheer temerity to state in an interview the classic Christian view of homosexuality. And yes he is now on hiatus, which likely means that one of a very few shows that showed the wholesome America that I grew up in is probably gone. But that’s a side issue.
There is a new book out, and no I haven’t seen it yet, apparently it posits that Rome ran it’s ‘bread and circuses’, blood sports and anything goes sexuality on the easy availability of slaves whose bodies could be used as one desired. OK, to me that seems rather like common sense.
But if I’m reading the review I’ve excerpted here correctly, a good part of the reason that Christianity came to be (almost alone in the world) such a fierce foe of slavery between the third and sixth century is simply because (although I’m pretty sure there were other reasons as well) because it was such a facilitator of sexual depravity.
This makes sense to me, at least on a facile level, we obviously know that the early church didn’t remonstrate all that strongly about slavery. But at some point in the later empire, slavery all but came to an end. Granted it wasn’t exactly to what we would call freedom for the individual, but it was a huge step. And it was one no other society took, only Christianity.
This is excerpted from Gene Edward Veith writing on Cranach, the Blog of Veith, One of the best Lutheran blogs
Classical scholar Peter Brown has published in the New York Review of Books an excited review of Kyle Harper’s From Shame to Sin: The Christian Transformation of Sexual Morality in Late Antiquity (Harvard University Press). The book, which is said to break new ground in the scholarship of ancient Rome, shows that the vaunted sexual permissiveness of ancient Rome was inextricably linked to the practice of slavery, with slave boys and girls being the primary sex objects who could not object to how they were used.
From Rome: Sex & Freedom by Peter Brown | The New York Review of Books:
The jolly free-for-all, which we like to imagine as forming a timeless human bond between us and the ancients, was based upon the existence of a vast and cruel “zone of free access” provided by the enslaved bodies of boys and girls. Slavery, “an inherently degrading institution,” was “absolutely fundamental to the social and moral order of Roman life.”
But Harper realizes that this is too facile a conclusion. The excitement of his second chapter, “The Will and the World in Early Christian Sexuality,” lies in the manner in which he traces the sheer fierceness of Christian attitudes toward sexuality back to how sexual morality merged with the charged issue of freedom. Christians rethought these ideas in profound alienation from a society that took unfreedom for granted. They also dissociated themselves from a view of the cosmos that seemed to support a chill “indifference toward the brutalities accepted in the name of destiny.”
Continue reading Sex and freedom in ancient Rome.
This is well out of my field, so I’m mostly bringing this to everybody’s attention. As I said though, the concept makes all the sense in the world to me, although I have learned over the years that history doesn’t really have to make sense. Something happened though, to make Christianity the enemy of slavery.
And just because; on a much lighter note:
- Top 10 Reasons Ancient Rome Was a Pervert’s Paradise (toptenz.net)
- The sex lives of the Romans and Early Christians (matteroffactsblog.wordpress.com)
St Bosco said:
I never heard of Duck Dynasty until i saw the news yesterday. Its a good thing Satan took action against this man. Myself and others that never heard of them and what they believe now know of them and that they are christian. Maybe now people who subscribe to bible teaching will rise up and fight back. I cant think of one media organization that gets indignant when Christianity is attacked. Oh, but everyone has to walk on pins and needles around men who like to have sex with their own kind. Lets not offend them. They might picket our offices or even riot in the streets. How dare you speak out against men dressing up as girls and living life as females.
I know a man here in Elsinore that worked for the municipal water dept. He just recently retired. He told me that city workers would get fired if it became known that they were against homosexuality. So, homosexuals were getting hired and they would bring in their homo buddies and soon the water dept was top heavey in homos. My friend said that they would taunt him and make fun of him and make homo advances knowing he wasnt gay. But if he even complained about it, he could be fired. That office should be glad that I, Bosco, wasnt working there.
God has been taken out of our schools. Now they wonder why He has been replaced by Satan. Just a few days ago some boy shot a girl in the face, point blank, on his way to shoot a teacher, who escaped, then he shot himself. They wonder why. Jesus is not allowed in US schools. But witches and ghouls and devils and ghosts are allowed every halloween. Yesterday, a boy called in a bomb threat to Harvard , just so he wouldnt have to take his final exam. No need to mention 20 first graders shot to death last year .
Its war against God and His Christ. The Kings of the earth rise up, and the rulers take council together.
Soon, christianity will be outlawed every where.
Bosco, that is one of the best comments on the Duck Dynasty thing that I have seen.
I agree completely with you, and I note that quite a few others do as well. We’re not, by any means beaten, and it’s time for us to lead on the issue. What he said in that interview could have gotten him arrested in the UK. It’s getting that bad.
Keep the faith, my friend.
St Bosco said:
Good brother Neo, i hope you are exaggerating about Being arrested in the UK for saying that. If it is true, its the scariest thing ive heard in my life. The country that abolished the slave trade now has made Christ illegal. I would like someone to confirm what you said. If its true, the good ol US of A is next. All these things must be. But the end is not yet.
I ask the readers here to google Fema Detention Camps. There are some in every state in the union here. They are staffed and ready to operate. I understand they are to be used on christians.
And i saw the souls of them that were beheaded for their testimony
Now, google ” Guillotines” You will find that the US and England have bought thousands of them. I believe Japan makes them.
I say no more.
Maybe, but only slightly.
Last summer a Reformed pastor was all but charged for street preaching and an e-mail protesting (nicely) one of the gay parades.
Lots of rumors around Bosco, not so much evidence, but there are probably some plans, the people have some I’d guess as well. This is still America, not some quiescent European country.
Bosco, as a UK man, I can partially confirm what NEO said. There was at least one case of a street preacher and a policeman came and asked him what the Bible says about homosexuality. The preacher told him the truth and the policeman arrested him. He was eventually released and the police paid him compensation, but the fact that the policeman felt he could do this shows how easily our anti-hate-speech laws can be interpreted to persecute Christians.
Carl D'Agostino said:
Emperor Marcus Aurelius (the noblest Roman of them all) condemned homosexuality and other bizarre acts and promiscuous sex. Even the the evil sex and evil of the Coliseum was condemned by many patrician families throughout the empire living lives of morality and self restraint and performing civil service with dignity and honor although they did not have Christ in their lives either before or after His incarnation.
Perhaps so, Carl. But beyond living moral lives, and idle complaining what did they do about it?
Christianity ended it and it’s root cause.
That said, the evil came in mostly with the later empire, the Republic was much more just. See any parallels?
St Bosco said:
Thanks Good brothers Neo and Carl. These are small beginnings to a bright future of the reign of antichrist. There are some in here who say everything has happened already. Then they sit down in their easy chair and watch the evening news then go to bed. Life goes on. But these people fail to see that prophesy is at work now. Their only reality is the talking heads on TV. They dont believe there are locust with heads of lions deep in the earth, waiting to sting them. In short, they give the bible lip servus but actually dont believe one gat danged word of it.
Tom McEwen said:
NEO – St Augustine tells of him taking a friend to the games and losing him from Christianity, It was first punishment for evil doers, then entertainment, It took another 300 years for Christianity to end the practice, Christianity is like this poem.
“In our sleep, pain which can not forget falls drop by drop upon our heart until in our despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God..
Tom McEwen said:
It was a death sentence for a two Roman Soldiers to have homosexual relations in the Legion. For any free Roman to be the receiver was a death sentence. He could be the penetrator, but never the receiver. That was thought to be dishonourable to a military people.
Didn’t know that. Thanks Tom.
Tom McEwen said:
Of course the normal penalty was death in the legion, flogging for losing equipment, decimate for rebellion in the legion (one man would be chosen by lot to be beaten to death by the other 9 members of his maniple).
The normal penalty for falling asleep on watch was the whole maniple was punished, sometimes with death for all. So why was the guards not put to death at the tomb of Jesus, something happened that excused the open tomb that even the governor believed.