Thematically, Boswell argues that the rise in secular hostility was what ultimately led to church proscriptions, not the other way around as had been argued prior to CSTH.
The publication of CSTH came only eleven years after the Stonewall Riots in New York on June 28, 1969, the moment in history that marks the beginning of the modern gay rights movement.
CSTH emerged to gain the attention of the general audience and became an immediate topic of public debate that loosed a firestorm of criticism from deeply opposed political sides that agreed on virtually nothing except that John Boswell was wrong.
In its first year of publication, CSTH was reprinted six times, and the demand for the book was greater than the publisher could supply (undated letter from the UCP editor to Boswell, Boswell Papers).
CSTH had and still has a large number of public detractors.
In an at least equally personal critique, Richard Hays, a New Testament scholar of the Duke Divinity School, wrote a response to CSTH wherein he claims that Boswell's interpretation of Romans I: 26-27 "has no support in the text and is a textbook case of reading into the text what one wants to find there" (214).
Jordan's complex analysis of Boswell's roles as historian and minister exposes limitations of Boswell's work in order to surpass those limitations and, usefully, to suggest connections between CSTH and recent queer theory.
Dinshaw's analyses of popular responses to CSTH, including letters written to Boswell from all over the world, are especially valuable in registering the impact it had on diverse readers.
Kuefler admirably surpasses CSTH by proposing a logic for changes Boswell observed but could not explain.
Many essays in The Boswell Thesis are especially fitting commemorations of CSTH because they pay Boswell the compliment of borrowing from him to move beyond his important achievement.
CSTH is thus simultaneously monumental and limited.
Her essay is excellent--brave, rich in detail, and far-reaching in its analysis of underexamined issues of bodily mutilation--however, it, like most chapters in the volume, centers upon men and masculinity, much as CSTH does.