This is a book that is hard to read as it is a technical book, but it shows that marriage as we know is fairly modern. People have only married for love in the last few centuries. Same sex services to join couples in a form of marriage were carried out by churches across Europe until recent times. The author looks at forms of marriage in ancient Greece and Rome as these forms were used by Christians for over a thousand years into the Christian era, and then only slowly became the form we know today. He then goes on to show that this included same sex marriages. The appendix contains some of the same sex joining services.
This book really is a load of rubbish. Boswell claims that the Orthodox Christian Church used to perform same sex weddings but he bases this on the mediaeval ceremony of "adelphopoiesis", whose name means "the making of brothers". Brothers are not husband and wife! This was NOT a form of homosexual marriage. It was a bonding between two celibate men who would dedicate themselves to the crusades or to work for charitable ends. It had nothing to do with marriage and there was absolutely no hint of a physical consummation as there would be with marriage. To arrive at his conclusion he used mistranslation, misreading and omission to twist the source texts.
The kindest description of Boswell's "work" would be that it is wishful thinking. He was an American Roman Catholic homosexual, not a member of the Orthodox church, and he understood little of its history and liturgy. He was a Roman Catholic, but a bad one, determined to make the church accept his sexual practices rather than bring himself to follow its teaching. Possibly some of his errors are attributable to his failing health as like Michel Foucault, he was dying of AIDS when he wrote, but the book sets out to deceive. These ancient spiritual bonding ceremonies existed precisely to avoid anybody mistaking a pure relationship for a carnal one. At no time did any church pronounce the brothers in Christ to be "married", and there was no reason why they should not both subsequently marry women. Boswell has found many dupes willing to believe him but from an academic standpoint, his book is laughable.