Centering on the examination of the social and legal context of adultery, homosexuality, impiety, and the public-private dichotomy in Athenian society, this book attempts to examine the problems of social control and the regulation of sexuality in a way that will be of interest to a broad readership. It uses a comparative approach to show how the examination of such issues can deepen our understanding of classical Athens, particularly in regard to the role of law in society. Further, it argues that this historical investigation can, in turn, enrich our general appreciation of the relation of social and legal norms, and the roles they play in regulating complex social practices such as those associated with sexuality, morals, and the family. This illuminating book develops a view of classical Athenian society that emphasizes the study of social control as the dynamic interplay of legal and social norms within the context of ideology and practice.
"...a sophisticated and provocative analysis of the relationship between public norms and private morals in classical Athens...it is Cohen's focus on the character of the Athenian 'public/private' dichotomy that makes his book distinctive and groundbreaking." American Historical Review "David Cohen has written an interesting and illuminating comparative social anthropological account..." American Journal of Sociology "David Cohen's Law, Sexuality, and Society is an ambitious and broad-ranging attempt to disentangle the relation of classical Athenian law and society in the particularly fraught areas of adultery, homosexuality, and (to a lesser extent) religion." Rosalind Thomas, Times Literary Supplement "This is a book that should be read, if for no other reason than to help one define and refine one's own views about certain forms of 'deviant' sexual and religious behavior--namely adultery, homosexuality, and impiety--in Athens during a specific period of its history." American Journal of Legal History "...offers an engaging and undogmatic introduction to a theoretical approach uniquely revealing of the conflicting attitudes that underlie social practice." Nancy Worman, Classical Journal