sexpunishment by eric berkowitz
Last Updated : GMT 15:30:33
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Sex & Punishment by Eric Berkowitz

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Sex & Punishment by Eric Berkowitz

London - Arabstoday

I remember once, when on a visit to Amsterdam, I noticed in one of its narrower streets a church and a brothel so closely opposed to each other that I could just about have stood with one foot in the knocking-shop\'s doorway and the other in the church\'s. I wondered how the ecclesiastical authorities, even in such a liberal-minded country, could have accommodated such proximity. Well, now I know: because there have been links between the church and prostitution since well before Christian times. And in Christian times, even the church\'s famously anti-sex attitude led, paradoxically, to some strange and striking compromises; for example, there were prostitutes in 15th-century Strasbourg, known as \"swallows\", who worked in the cathedral\'s bell tower; in 1608, the Dominicans of Perpignan \"collected alms from their congregations for the refurbishment of the order\'s bordello\". These are, though, by no means the weirdest parts of Berkowitz\'s extraordinary book. We begin, as all histories of human civilisation must, in ancient Mesopotamia, where we learn that, pace Lévi-Strauss, incest is not the universal taboo we hold it to be. In Egypt, the practice was so encouraged that you could actually get into trouble if you didn\'t marry your sister. It took the Romans three centuries to eradicate the custom. When something as irrational as sex comes up against something as self-proclaimedly \"rational\" (ha!) as the law, then the law is going to be made to look pretty silly: that is the underlying message of this book. Not that this would be any comfort to you if, say, you were about to be severely punished for the crime of having been raped, as was not only common across much of the world for millennia, but persists today in those parts still governed by bigotry and religious mania. It is funny, but quietly instructive, how those most exercised about the sexual incontinence of others go to such great lengths to seek it out or incite it, as a quick look at the methods of the 19th-century Society for the Suppression of Vice would quickly confirm. Berkowitz, a lawyer-cum-journalist, has used both his skills to extremely good effect. This is a book that could so easily have been either too smirkingly knowing or too dry. Early on, when comparing Mosaic law with that of the earlier Middle Assyrians, and noting almost identical concern about what should happen if a woman attacks a man\'s balls when fighting, Berkowitz observes that Deuteronomy was not necessarily dictated by God, but that \"it appears that this Hebrew law was a reflection of a regional testicle fixation\". On almost every page, Berkowitz is prompted to make some similar droll comment, and here\'s the clever part: it is never done inappropriately or facetiously. Somehow he always gets the tone right. \"The only weapon against genital demands was moral will,\" he writes of Augustine\'s teachings regarding sex, \"but the smart money was always on the gonads.\" Even when one has all the information at one\'s disposal, laughter is an excellent way of getting the information to sink in. And there is much to laugh at; otherwise we\'d be weeping at the injustice of it all. Berkowitz\'s legal background would appear to have helped him churn through millennia of documents, from the days of cuneiform to the 20th century (where he stops: the noise of the present would drown out the past, he says; and there are plenty of examples which shed light on the idiocies and inconsistencies of today). I don\'t think I\'ve ever read such an entertaining historical work. It has the wisdom granted by perspective, without the condescension of someone who thinks we\'re wiser than our ancestors. Whether you want to fuel your indignation, or simply furnish yourself with enough jaw-dropping data to galvanise a hundred party conversations (\"Did you know that the single event that precipitated the fall of the Roman empire more than any other was the imprisonment of a popular homosexual charioteer in Thessalonica in 390AD?\"), you really must shell out for this book. It\'s worth every penny.

arabstoday
arabstoday

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

sexpunishment by eric berkowitz sexpunishment by eric berkowitz

 



Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

sexpunishment by eric berkowitz sexpunishment by eric berkowitz

 



Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Jordanian woman reveals her project

GMT 00:46 2017 Saturday ,11 November

Jordanian woman reveals her project
Arab Today, arab today Visit Jamaica for more than just sun

GMT 09:45 2017 Tuesday ,21 November

Visit Jamaica for more than just sun
Arab Today, arab today Keep kids busy at Thanksgiving gatherings

GMT 11:14 2017 Friday ,10 November

Keep kids busy at Thanksgiving gatherings
Arab Today, arab today UN warns of conflict in Gaza

GMT 08:39 2017 Tuesday ,21 November

UN warns of conflict in Gaza
Arab Today, arab today Missouri problem mirrors woes

GMT 06:46 2017 Tuesday ,21 November

Missouri problem mirrors woes
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Australian academic's book pulled

GMT 15:20 2017 Monday ,13 November

Australian academic's book pulled
Arab Today, arab today May under Brexit pressure at EU reform summit

GMT 02:14 2017 Saturday ,18 November

May under Brexit pressure at EU reform summit
Arab Today, arab today Delhi half-marathon to go ahead

GMT 03:51 2017 Saturday ,18 November

Delhi half-marathon to go ahead
Arab Today, arab today The history of solar eclipses

GMT 05:16 2017 Sunday ,20 August

The history of solar eclipses
Arab Today, arab today VW says will invest over 34bn euros

GMT 07:19 2017 Tuesday ,21 November

VW says will invest over 34bn euros
Arab Today, arab today Driverless, electric future just round

GMT 02:45 2017 Monday ,20 November

Driverless, electric future just round
Arab Today, arab today Fedra happy for “Between Two Worlds” success

GMT 09:23 2017 Saturday ,18 November

Fedra happy for “Between Two Worlds” success
Arab Today, arab today paObama climate envoy slams Trump's rejection

GMT 16:04 2017 Friday ,17 November

paObama climate envoy slams Trump's rejection

GMT 12:15 2017 Friday ,17 November

Mona Abdel Ghany increased artistic activities

GMT 11:15 2017 Thursday ,16 November

Angola oil boss sacked by father's protege

GMT 18:41 2017 Friday ,20 October

Designer Aql Faqih aspires to innovation

GMT 11:38 2017 Wednesday ,15 November

Unloved vultures fight for their survival

GMT 11:49 2017 Thursday ,17 August

Egyptian artist presents new collection of designs

GMT 00:54 2017 Monday ,20 November

Mideast in danger as London explores

GMT 03:12 2017 Saturday ,18 November

Prince's vision spurs new Cornwall village

GMT 17:12 2017 Monday ,07 August

Al-Shawaifi reveals secrets of total solar eclipse

GMT 16:53 2017 Tuesday ,05 September

Youssra depended on colored foam
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday