The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

A Book Meme

Got this from Rachel, who forgot to tag anybody with it, but I decided to join in anyway.

1. Find the nearest book.
2. Turn to page 123.
3. Go to the fifth sentence on the page.
4. Copy out the next three sentences and post to your blog.
5. Name the book and the author, and tag three more folks.

So….

In the 1970s many historians began dating the love match from the eighteenth or even the seventeenth century. Today, many scholars trace the celebration of married love and companionship back to the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century. A few even believe the basic contours of marriage go back as far as the thirteenth century.

But I can't resist adding the following as well.

I believe the older system of marrying for political and economic advantage remained the norm until the eighteenth century, five thousand years after we encountered it in the early kingdoms and empires of the Middle East.

That's from Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage by Stephanie Coontz. It's a fascinating historical take on marriage, which reveals that what we think of as "traditional marriage" today is a relatively new institution in human history, and that marriage itself has gone through constant changes during human history. (Including some cultures that recognized same-sex unions and included them in the structure of their society, so it hasn't always been an exclusively heterosexual institution.)

In fact, what we recognize as the "traditional family" today, according to Coontz, only reached it's current form in the "long decade of the 1950s," form 1947 to the early 1960s. For more on how even that idealized "family" was a myth, check out Coontz's The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap.

As for who to tag next, I'm not really sure. So, if you read this and you want to join in, by all means please do!

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