The ancient world was obsessed with glory and the importance of being remembered by posterity. "My fame will be secure to all my sons," is the constant refrain spoken by Gilgamesh, one of the great heroes of Mesopotamia. But in our culture--where romantic love is celebrated in nearly every song, book, and movie--such a worldview is entirely alien. One has only to look at the 2004 film Troy starring Brad Pitt to see how the ideal of romantic love has been foisted on the ancient epic. Either the screenwriters were oblivious to the worldview of Homer's contemporaries or they recognized it and "fixed" it so that the story would appeal to moderns.
|Katharina Von Bora|
(Martin Luther's wife)
The Reformation put marriage at the center. I suspect that Luther’s marriage to Katie is one of the most important and central relationships in the history of the world. Beyond Luther and the Reformational emphasis on the centrality of marriage, C.S. Lewis makes the case that it was the Puritans who virtually “invented” or made normal the very idea of “companionate marriage.” Indeed, the affection and love between husband and wife in Puritan and Reformed households was quite remarkable. Jonathan Edwards' famous marriage is only one outstanding example.
Was it indeed the Reformation that began to normalize romantic love between husband and wife? When Martin Luther rescued his future wife from a convent in a fish barrel, was he beginning the great romance that would change the modern world forever?