Friday, May 11, 2012

On the hunt....

I was pointed to this site by a friend of mine. Thanks Lauren!

It makes a bunch of (frankly) ludicrous historical claims, but the one that really caught my attention was this:

In the definitive 10th century account of their lives, St. Sergius is openly celebrated as the "sweet companion and lover" of St. Bacchus. Sergius and Bacchus's close relationship has led many modern scholars to believe they were lovers. But the most compelling evidence for this view is that the oldest text of their martyrology, written in New Testament Greek describes them as "erastai,” or "lovers". In other words, they were a male homosexual couple. Their orientation and relationship was not only acknowledged, but it was fully accepted and celebrated by the early Christian church, which was far more tolerant than it is today.
Now here's my problem. I googled this left and right, and got precious little background on this claim except obvious cut-and-paste rehashings of the same basic plot: that John Boswell "discovered" that the two men were described as "erastai" (likely a mistake for "erastoi") = "lovers" in the earliest account of their martyrdom. This claim is now all over the Internet, and seems to be accepted as plain fact.

Not so fast.

Thanks to Google, I now have the Greek text of the Acts of Sts. Sergius and Bacchus in front of me (page 373 and following). I also found a translation of these Acts attributed to John Boswell.

The Greek text is not searchable, and I'm slow at it, so I'd have to go through it word by word to determine where "erastai/erastoi" occurs if at all. But the *really* odd thing is that nothing like it seems to be in Boswell's English translation.

Do the search. No "lover," no "love". In short, no indication that the concept of lover/erastos is even *in* this text at all--English or Greek.

So let me get this straight. John Boswell discovered the fact in this account that Sergius and Bacchus were erastoi/lovers...*and he didn't bother to translate it accordingly?* Maybe I am just missing it. Maybe he was misattributed. Or maybe some academics are putting some serious disinformation out there, and maybe they have some serious explaining to do.

I sure as heck intend to find out.

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