Reviews:On Homosexuality in Greece and Rome by Thomas Hubbard

From William A. Percy
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On Homosexuality in Greece and Rome

Thomas Hubbard has produced the most significant anthology about Greek and Roman homosexuality ever. I had wanted to do such a book twenty years ago, but I lacked the skill. A master of the Greek tongue, he found the best translations of texts often misunderstood or bowdlerized, and when he couldn’t find any, he translated them himself or commissioned others to do so. He additionally placed extensive and erudite introductions along with very useful bibliographic notes at the beginning of each of chapter. Each chapter is well foot-noted, and as Hubbard says in his preface, “The footnotes are geared to a general undergraduate audience that has little previous knowledge of classical civilization and may need explanation of basic cultural artifacts or historical references. The notes also include points of interpretation, which should interest both the general and the more knowledgeable reader.”

He effectively demolished the absurdities of John Boswell and David Halperin, and criticized the less reprehensible but still erroneous theses of Dover and Foucault. True, Hubbard did not do much with lesbianism, but then it didn’t appear often in the sources. His subtle but devastating attacks on social constructionists, extreme feminists, lesbiterians, and Socarides, the other (dying-off) old-time American Freudians, and the child abuse industry make his work not only intellectually unassailable but socially and legally relevant. It is the first of its kind and will not conceivably be surpassed. Reviewers and others may over time be able to add a few items or even quibble a bit with the translations offered. It is plausible, at the most, that a second edition may be needed in a decade or two.

At Amazon's site "search inside" is possible.

- Posted 11-02-05

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