Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ancient Greece: Pederast Nation

In the Sept. 24, 2009 issue of the NY Review of Books, G.W. Bowerstock makes a strong and shocking case for the ancient Greeks' widespread toleration of the sexual molestation of boys by adult males. (As Bowerstock points out, we owe the word 'pederasty' for this activity to the Greek pais for boy and erastês for lover). While Mr. Bowerstock concealed his own sympathies for most of his book review, he seems to have revealed them in his conclusion and this became a subject for a letter to the editor by this writer. His review ("Men and Boys") was of the following two books: The Greeks and Greek Love: A Bold New Exploration of the Ancient World, by James Davidson, Random House, 789 pp., $45.00. Images of Ancient Greek Pederasty: Boys Were Their Gods, by Andrew Lear and Eva Cantarella, Routledge, 262 pp., $41.95.

Here is the (as yet unpublished)  letter I submitted in response:

To the Editor of the New York Review of Books

G.W. Bowersock concludes his review of the history and artifacts of ancient Greek pederasty with the statement: "The sexual life of the ancient Greeks was as variegated and inventive as its resplendent culture...To this day it stubbornly resists all modern ideologies and prejudices, and yet it had its own principles of decency."

In addition to the molestation of boys, the Greeks also practiced slavery. Can anyone imagine referring to slavery as "stubbornly resisting modern ideologies and prejudices" and possessed of its own "decency"?

Is it a "prejudice" to view the sexual molestation of youth as abhorrent, and to regard the term "decency" in connection with it as a grotesque - if not depraved - whitewash of this predation?

Michael Hoffman

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3 comments:

Iranian For Aryans said...

"Sexual Life in Ancient Greece" by Licht is also worth reading.

Rusty Mason said...

What trash you do read, Mr. Hoffman. Hundreds of years from now writers will call America the people who not only tolerated abortion and pederasty, but celebrated every perversion under the sun. They will write, "The American nation paid hundreds or thousands of dollars each year to have this filth piped right into their homes, to enjoy with their children. They changed all their laws to legalize prostitution, gambling, abortion, and homosexuality. Homos were held in highest esteem in their culture and their very being was celebrated as the highest good in every cultural venue."

Bowerstock should stop projecting his perversions onto whole populations.

As for slavery, that has been the condition of every society from the beginning of history up until only recently. We still have a form of slavery, called debt slavery, heavy taxes, forced humiliating searches, and heavy regulations with jail penalties.

Michael Hoffman said...

Dear Mr Mason

Have you read Bowerstock or James Davidson; or Lear and Cantarella? Or is yours a case of don't confuse me with the facts?

The ancient Greek nation discussed in works by these authors tolerated pederasty, i.e. the adult male predation of boys.

Should we fear and denounce the truth, as rabbis do?

The virtue of our heritage is the willingness to face the facts. The betrayal is to flee from them.