John E. Boswell, a Yale historian who provoked debate with his research saying gay marriages during the Middle Ages were celebrated in the church, died Friday of the complications of AIDS. He was 47.
Boswell drew national attention in June with his book “Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe,” a study of more than 60 manuscripts from the Middle Ages.
Boswell contended that homosexual marriages were well established in the medieval church. But Boswell’s thesis was criticized by other scholars. He wrote that one major aim of his work was “to rebut the common idea that religious belief--Christian and other--has been the cause of intolerance in regard to gay people.”
Boswell joined the Yale faculty in 1975 as an assistant professor. He was appointed a full professor in 1982.