Unprotected Texts: The Bible's Surprising Contradictions About Sex and Desire [NOOK Book]

Overview

Bible scholar Jennifer Wright Knust addresses the big questions that dominate today's discussions and debates when it comes to sex and the Bible: Is premarital sex a sin? When, and in what contexts, is sexual desire appropriate? With whom can I legitimately have sex? Are same-sex relations permissible? In an era where the phrases, "the Bible says," and "God says," are so often exploited, it is time to consider what the Bible actually does?or does not?say about monogamy, ...

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Unprotected Texts: The Bible's Surprising Contradictions About Sex and Desire

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Overview

Bible scholar Jennifer Wright Knust addresses the big questions that dominate today's discussions and debates when it comes to sex and the Bible: Is premarital sex a sin? When, and in what contexts, is sexual desire appropriate? With whom can I legitimately have sex? Are same-sex relations permissible? In an era where the phrases, "the Bible says," and "God says," are so often exploited, it is time to consider what the Bible actually does—or does not—say about monogamy, polygamy, homosexuality, gender roles, and sex.

Unprotected Texts directly and pointedly takes on widely shared misconceptions about sex, arguing that the Bible cannot—and should not—serve as a rulebook for sexual morality, despite popular claims to the contrary. From the Song of Songs' lyrical eroticism to the rigid sexual rules of Leviticus—and everything in between—Knust parses the Bible's contradictory, often surprising messages.

Skillfully revealing the latest insights from critical scholarship, Knust provides a compassionate and liberating model for navigating these deeply personal issues that affect us all.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In a refreshingly sensible tone, Knust, assistant professor of religion at Boston University, tackles today’s most contentious biblical texts and brings to light some intriguing others in this effort to detail and explain what the Bible says about sex. Although it is academic in its embrace of biblical scholarship and treatment of texts, this is also a personal book. Knust, a lifelong Baptist (and ordained as an American Baptist pastor), begins with an anecdote from her childhood that defends the value of studying and questioning the Bible. Matters of how biblical interpretations bear on real issues for people today are never far from the discussion. As Knust is clear-eyed in showing the Bible’s acceptance of polygamy, slavery, prostitution, and premarital sex, she calls into question facile judgments and absolutist claims about “what the Bible says.” In her able hands, readers will learn and appreciate the variety of ways that the Bible treats and judges sex. She also demands of readers that they then think for themselves about how biblical texts should be interpreted and applied. (Feb.)
Newsweek
“[Knust mines] the Bible for its earthiest and most inexplicable tales about sex…to show that the Bible’s teachings on sex are not as coherent as the religious right would have people believe.”
Booklist (starred review)
“[An] impressive and highly readable analysis of Old and New Testament Bible stories.... For those wanting to understand the Bible as a chronicle of human conduct for achieving the goals of survival, peace, and fulfillment, this is a treasure.”
Library Journal
Knust (religion, Boston Univ.), an American Baptist pastor, faces directly the diversity, even the self-contradiction, of biblical teachings about sex, sexuality, and desire and argues that biblical interpretations should be judged by their value, not by their validity, a perspective she finds practiced by Jesus Christ and by very important first- to fourth-century Christian leaders who creatively claimed "that the law and the prophets are, when read correctly, all about Jesus Christ." Christians, she writes, "are not passive recipients of what the Bible says, but active interpreters who make decisions about what we will believe and what we will affirm." Knust asserts that, rather than fixed, unmediated God-given meanings, Christians have been given the Holy Spirit, a community of disciples, and the Gospel of John; she cautions against interpretations which are "shallow and self-serving." VERDICT This book is a tour de force of biblical and cultural interpretation that deserves prayerful consideration by all would-be biblical interpreters. Very highly recommended for seminary, academic, and public libraries.—Carolyn M. Craft, formerly with Longwood Univ., Farmville, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062010827
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/25/2011
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 390,149
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Jennifer Wright Knust is assistant professor of religion at Boston University. She is an ordained American Baptist pastor, and holds a doctorate in religion from Columbia University and a master of divinity from Union Theological Seminary.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 28, 2011

    Perspective

    This book is well written and researched. Like most academic writing, it never says a particular view is right or wrong. Honestly, that goes with the messge of the book. There is no one interpretation of the bible.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 24, 2013

    Unprotected Texts: The Bible's Surprising Contradictions About

    Unprotected Texts: The Bible's Surprising Contradictions About Sex and Desire Review:


    I first off want to say that this book will be difficult to understand if you are not familiar with the bible. This book really has this notion that you have already have a good understanding of the bible and will immediately understand what it is talking about, which is fine because I think the people who will be interested in this book would already have a general understanding of the bible. The author really has a good method of getting the ideas across the reader. She really sets out to explain what the "myths" are of sex and it's relations with the bible and what seems to be made up overtime and what could be taken out of context to help shape what society wants us to believe and practice. Maybe this book will help people of the Christian faith realize that some of the things we were told at a younger age were made up to keep us from acting in certain ways.
    Overall I love how the book is written and how well the author describes her ideas on paper for the reader. The book also has great ways to help keep the book flowing because the author keeps the ideas consistent throughout the book and keeps readers from flipping back pages to remember what was being talked about earlier. I really recommend this book to anyone who wants a further education on not just the subject, but on how things in the bible were changed overtime in order to keep up with the changing world. i think the overall message of this book was to take things in your own ways and not just believe what other people tell you just because you truly don't know the material. I would give four out of five stars Stephen Hester

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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