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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 End

The End

(p.236) Conclusion The End
Visions of Sodom

H. G. Cocks

University of Chicago Press

The Sodom story underlies many of our own ideas about homoerotic desire and identity. It gave Western culture the idea of a polity undermined by immorality, but also suggested that any country, city or state could be destroyed in this way. In that sense the story also gives us the idea of homosexuals as a threatening group that, until very recently, characterised modern Western attitudes. The idea that homosexuality is an apocalyptic threat now resides mainly on the Christian Right in the US. There, many of the prophetic ideas associated with the Protestant tradition have their modern home. These notions have been exported round the world in recent years. While many writers (and Christian fundamentalists) have tried to draw a direct line between the Protestant tradition and modern fundamentalism, especially in their attitudes to homosexuality, there are substantial differences. Not least of those is the fact that in the post-Reformation tradition, the Sodom story is a warning against sexual excess of all kinds, and not only homosexuality. Queer theorists have also found the Sodom story useful as it exemplifies a radical rejection of heteronormativity.

Keywords:   fundamentalism, Christian Right, queer theory, post-Reformation, heteronormativity

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