Scholarly Press Cancels Book After Web Site Attacks It as a Defense of Pederasty
Following an outcry from social conservatives, Haworth Press announced last week that it had canceled the publication of an edited volume on homosexuality in classical antiquity. The conservative activists had complained that one of the book's chapters -- an essay by Bruce L. Rind, an adjunct instructor in psychology at Temple University -- amounted to a defense of present-day sexual relationships between men and adolescent boys.
The press has not made the full text of the book available, but earlier this year, extended abstracts of the volume's 15 chapters appeared on Haworth's Web site. Most of the essays appear to be straightforward exegeses of gay themes in classical art, poetry, and mythology.
But Mr. Rind's essay, "Pederasty: An Integration of Cross-Cultural, Cross-Species, and Empirical Data," seems to have been written in a different vein. Like the early-20th-century French novelist André Gide, Mr. Rind argues that sexual relationships with older men are a time-honored way for adolescents to grow into mature masculinity.
"In ancient Greece, samurai Japan, and numerous other cultures," Mr. Rind writes in his abstract, "pederasty was seen as the noblest of human relations, conducive to if not essential to nurturing the adolescent's successful intellectual and physical maturation." In the abstract's conclusion, Mr. Rind contrasts his model of pederasty with "the highly inadequate feminist and psychiatric models."
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Mike Hodas - 9/28/2005
This is cowardly behavior on the part of Haworth Press. It does not bode well for the historical profession when publishers give in to fundamentalists. I am not an expert in this area. I have not read the essay. But, if it is to be criticized it should be on scholarly grounds. Historical knowledge must be persued regardless whether it is distasteful on moral grounds to some special interest group.
This is very similar to the motives for the attacks on evolution. It reminds of the old saying: first they came for, etc. etc.