Bible and Sex

September 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

Image is from Flickr by danny.hammontree

The tongue-in-cheek title Unprotected Texts is a look at the Bible’s contradictory views on sex and desire. The author is Jennifer Wright Knust, assistant professor of religion at Boston University and ordained American Baptist pastor, holds a doctorate in religion from Columbia University and a master of divinity from Union Theological Seminary in New York.

Knust addresses questions that pop up in debate regarding sex and the Bible: Is premarital sex sinful? Is sexual desire appropriate? What about homosexuality? Knust writes in a clear style allowing folks not intimately as knowledgeable about the Bible to follow her discussion. Unprotected Texts takes a head-on approach, not shying from the difficult questions, and openly stating the Bible offers contradictory views on just about everything. She writes that anyone can find support for just about any issue in some passage in the Bible like slavery or homosexual relationships. Knust relies on critical scholarship, her own knowledge, and discusses misinterpretations and mistranslations. She covers political motives and historical contexts in which the Bible was written, translated, and interpreted over time. Knust’s work is infused with her own interpretations and biases, but the work doesn’t suffer for this; instead, the text is made more approachable and interesting.

Knust concludes, “Anyone who would use God and the Bible to deny touch, love, and affection to others has failed to present a valuable interpretation, not only of the Bible but also of what it means to be human, whether or not some biblical passage somewhere can be found to support their claims.”

Extensive notes and well-documented bibliography take up a good-sized section in the back of the book.  Check out Unprotected Texts today!

If you’ve already read this book and are interested in Biblical teachings on sex, why not check out Sex and Religion in the Bible or Pregnant Passion: gender, sex, and violence in the Bible or any of the other books available on the topic of “sex religious aspects.” Or if you’re in the mood for a film, perhaps try Sex and Religion series from Films on Demand; the series includes the following titles: Fornication: a religious perspective, Homosexuality: a religious perspective, and Marital Sex: a religious perspective.

Mind you, this is on perspective of many out there on interpretations of what the Bible says about sex. Furthermore, this is only a book review and has nothing to do with my personal view.


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