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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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(p.133) Chapter Five Histories
Visions of Sodom

H. G. Cocks

University of Chicago Press

The existence of homoerotic behaviour, and its distribution across the world could be explained in historical terms. This was done in three broadly overlapping ways. First, sodomy descended in genealogical terms from the Fall and lived on in the world via the posterity of Noah’s cursed son Ham. This stain was passed on to the original Sodomites themselves and finally to the Roman Empire and its successor the Roman Church. Sodomy was also seen as an effect of idolatry and therefore it was located primarily in lands known for that practice—an undoubted fact recorded by a series of travelers. The second, related account of sodomy’s history saw it as an effect of Antichrist’s rise within the Roman Church, a reading which linked that sin to the fulfillment of prophecy. Finally, the history of sodomy was recounted in stories of God’s providence which compiled examples of sinners punished for their iniquity. The history of homoeroticism was both linear (in the sense of genealogical descent) and circular (sin being the same in all times and places).

Keywords:   history, idolatry, prophecy, sodomy, sin

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