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Visions of SodomReligion, Homoerotic Desire, and the End of the World in England, c. 1550-1850$
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H. G. Cocks

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226438665

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226438832.001.0001

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The Roman Sodom

The Roman Sodom

(p.23) Chapter One The Roman Sodom
Visions of Sodom

H. G. Cocks

University of Chicago Press

Perhaps the most important way of reading the Sodom story was to see the Roman Catholic Church as another Sodom. This followed from Protestant readings of the Book of Revelation. Writers such as the propagandist John Bale saw Christian history as a battle between two churches, one true (and Protestant) and the other false (and Roman Catholic). The latter was the seat of Antichrist who sought to take the place of Christ and overthrow true religion. According to Bale and others, the Book of Revelation identified Rome as a new Sodom, and prophesied the existence of such a city. Prophetic texts foretold the defeat of the false church and of Antichrist. Bale and others saw the Protestant Reformation as the beginning of this historical process, one that that had been prophesied in Scripture, and which would soon occur. To prove the prophetic analogy, writers like Bale sought to show that Rome was a type of Sodom by setting out its moral impurity and listing its "fornication." This included lengthy descriptions of its "sodometry." In this way, Protestant readings of scripture provided an important way of making homoerotic behaviour visible in the world.

Keywords:   Protestantism, Antichrist, prophecy, Catholic Church, Bible

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