"Among medieval Christian societies, Byzantium is unique in preserving the text of a church ritual for 'brother-making' (adelphopoiesis), in which two adult men are pronounced by the prayers of a priest to be 'brothers.' They are expected to remain on friendly terms, and have access to one another's households as quasi-family members. Both the ritual and its application are well attested from the late eighth century to the 15th century and beyond. This phenomenon was at the center of John Boswell's highly controversial and publicized book Same-Sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe (1994). Although most critics dismissed Boswell's claims that these 'unions' represented church-sanctioned homosexual marriages, his book introduced readers to a poorly-understood Byzantine institution. Claudia Rapp's project will be the first ever book-length study of the ritual brotherhood in medieval Byzantium. Her main objective is to contextualize the tradition in other kinship relationships of Byzantine society and to trace its origins back to early Byzantine monasticism. Rapp will draw on new material on the structure of the ritual and its appearance in the manuscripts to show its proximity to rituals of Christian initiation, such as baptism and entry into the monastic life. She will also consider parallels to male-male relationships in pagan antiquity. Her book will make a timely contribution to an ongoing debate which has lost some of the heat since the aftermath of Boswell's book, but which remains of intrinsic interest to medieval studies, church history and the evolution of social institutions"--Provided by publisher.