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From the Publisher
"Ellens, an eminent scholar of the Bible and psychology, serves as both series editor and author of this work on the Bible's views on sex and sexuality, in which he also contemplates such topics as reproduction's purposes, original sin, gender roles, adultery, divorce, monogamy, and homosexuality. In some instances, e.g., homosexuality, he does an outstanding job of presenting the social and historical context for the Bible's abomination of its practice, pointing out its origins in pagan religious practices of the time. . . . [H]is study is accessible and comprehensible; public libraries will find it popular."
"Ellens aspires to discuss all aspects of human sexuality and the perspective offered by the numerous and varied authors of the 66 books of the Holy Bible during the 1,000 years or so that they wrote. He tries to look at the texts as they were intended by their original writers to be understood by their original readers, rather than as they are now read after 2,000 years of dogma, interpretation, and moralizing. He also mentions teachings of the Quran and Islam that are influenced by Christianity and Judaism."
Reference & Research Book News
"Sex in the Bible is a book that can be enjoyed by clergy, students of theology, and lay persons alike….Sex in the Bible: A New Consideration is exactly that -- a man telling the truth as he has discovered it, over a lifetime of study of human nature and biblical texts. And that truth is a breath of fresh air, indeed."
Observer & Eccentric
"Ellens believes interpretation of any biblical passage must attend to cultural context. Present culture is significantly different enough from those of biblical times to affect one's understanding of biblical passages. In the Bible, women are important for the family line, but are often viewed as property. Sometimes readers are uncertain whether sex relationship or property relationship was the central issue in this or that biblical story. Similarly, knowing whether an admonition refers to a context of holy worship and is significant only in worship settings--or also in ordinary human relationships--is difficult. Ellens seeks to clarify these contextual matters in specific biblical references to sex. He discusses ways that today's culture differs significantly from the cultures of biblical times. He points out the distinctive effects of Jerome and Augustine upon a pronounced separation of sexuality from spirituality. He reminds readers that New Testament authors lived in cultural contexts different from those of the Old Testament. Jesus's response to the law of the Old Testament was more of a situational ethics than people today are prone to admit. Ellens is generally successfully in his attempt to write at a level suitable for general readers. Recommended. Upper-level undergraduates and above; general readers."
"Compelling writing and thoughtful engagement with matters textual and sexual make this a fine resource for anyone confronting contemporary sexual issues."
The Christian Century
"[D]oes a better job than most at prodding us to encounter the biblical texts in all their strangeness….[E]llens is a welcome guide worth reading and learning from and arguing with and reading again."
Books & Culture
". . . this book is clearly and playfully written, in order to entice and allure the reader, but basically it has a very clear, contemporary-oriented thesis."
Biblical Archaeology Review