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God and Sex: What the Bible Really Says
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God and Sex: What the Bible Really Says

3.6 9
by Michael Coogan
 

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The Bible is full of narratives about sexual encounters, and modern-day readers have shown a widespread interest in what, exactly, it says about the subject. Scholars have turned their attention to the rigorous examination of biblical texts from historical, theological, and ethical perspectives.

Still, many clergy and lay people continue to look upon these words

Overview

The Bible is full of narratives about sexual encounters, and modern-day readers have shown a widespread interest in what, exactly, it says about the subject. Scholars have turned their attention to the rigorous examination of biblical texts from historical, theological, and ethical perspectives.

Still, many clergy and lay people continue to look upon these words (even the most cryptic, confusing, and bizarre ones) as authoritative literal statements. In addition, these misinterpreted texts are constantly used to "legislate morality" and to promote "family values"--selectively and misleadingly twisting what is written.

As it stands, the gulf between the scholarly understandings of these texts and their popular appropriation today is a large one. Before the Bible can be applied to contemporary issues, it is vitally important that we take a careful look at what the Bible itself says-- placing it in the contexts of the social worlds in which it was written. To know what the Bible really means, we must first actually determine what it meant when it was written, and apply this to the lives we lead, here and now. This is the mission of GOD AND SEX.

Editorial Reviews

Booklist

"Revered by the devout as a revelation of God's will, the Bible vexes many progressive thinkers as an obstacle to gender equality and sexual liberation. Coogan has written this book to help such progressives get past their vexations ... A critique as radical as this one will astonish conservatives, who will wonder why those who accept it would even bother with the Bible. But it will embolden social activists glad to weaken restraints rooted in traditional understandings of scripture.

Expect media attention and controversy."

Bart D. Ehrman
"Michael Coogan is one of the leading Hebrew Bible scholars in America. His new book on sexuality in the Bible (the sexuality of men, women, and God!) promises to be as scintillating as it is informative. Here a seasoned interpreter of Scripture shows how ancient authors viewed the world of sexuality, and how these ancient reflections can influence modern thinking, as "people of the book" reflect on the pressing issues of sex and gender in our own day, issues ranging from adultery and premarital sex to same-sex relations and heterosexual sex within marriage."
Thomas Cahill
"Michael Coogan is an extraordinary writer on the culture of the Bible and the ancient Near East. Though acknowledged far and wide as an impeccable scholar, he always manages to make his scholarship accessible to the general reader and to find just the right point of entry into a subject so that the reader may be lured onward. Furthermore, his clarity of exposition inevitably exposes the relevance of his subject to our world. A book on sex in the Bible is the perfect subject to display Coogan's unusual abilities. It's hard to imagine readers not being interested in the subject of sex and God, especially in the hands of a writer as skillful as Coogan."
From the Publisher
"Michael Coogan is one of the leading Hebrew Bible scholars in America. His new book on sexuality in the Bible (the sexuality of men, women, and God!) promises to be as scintillating as it is informative. Here a seasoned interpreter of Scripture shows how ancient authors viewed the world of sexuality, and how these ancient reflections can influence modern thinking, as "people of the book" reflect on the pressing issues of sex and gender in our own day, issues ranging from adultery and premarital sex to same-sex relations and heterosexual sex within marriage."—Bart D. Ehrman, New York Times bestselling author of Misquoting Jesus

"Readers looking for an unbiased appraisal of what the Bible says about premarital sex, homosexuality, and polygamy can trust Coogan, a biblical scholar of the highest order. Concise, clear, and accessible to general readers, this book covers all the usual topics plus a few that may surprise ... Readers may be surprised to find a convincing discussion of evidence for God's own (sometimes unflattering) sexuality, in metaphor if not in fact. Coogan's reminder at the book's end that modern application of biblical texts requires interpretation and nuance is a welcome corrective to selective, literalist use."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Revered by the devout as a revelation of God's will, the Bible vexes many progressive thinkers as an obstacle to gender equality and sexual liberation. Coogan has written this book to help such progressives get past their vexations ... A critique as radical as this one will astonish conservatives, who will wonder why those who accept it would even bother with the Bible. But it will embolden social activists glad to weaken restraints rooted in traditional understandings of scripture.

Expect media attention and controversy."—Booklist

"Michael Coogan is an extraordinary writer on the culture of the Bible and the ancient Near East. Though acknowledged far and wide as an impeccable scholar, he always manages to make his scholarship accessible to the general reader and to find just the right point of entry into a subject so that the reader may be lured onward. Furthermore, his clarity of exposition inevitably exposes the relevance of his subject to our world. A book on sex in the Bible is the perfect subject to display Coogan's unusual abilities. It's hard to imagine readers not being interested in the subject of sex and God, especially in the hands of a writer as skillful as Coogan."—Thomas Cahill, former director of religious publishing at Doubleday and author of the bestselling Hinges of History series

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780446545266
Publisher:
Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
11/03/2011
Pages:
237
Sales rank:
693,035
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.75(d)

Meet the Author

Michael Coogan is Director of Publications for the Harvard Semitic Museum and Professor of Religious Studies at Stonehill College. For several decades, he has taught an introductory course on the Hebrew Scriptures at Harvard University, as well as at Wellesley College, Boston College, and Stonehill College. One of the leading biblical scholars in the United States, he is the author of The Old Testament: A Historical and Literary Introduction to the Hebrew Scriptures, and editor of the acclaimed third edition of The New Oxford Annotated Bible.

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God and Sex: What the Bible Really Says 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
kittycrochettwo More than 1 year ago
Anytime I can read a book that may further help me understand the Bible and what God's word really means I am excited to read it, so I jumped at the chance to review God And Sex What The Bible Really Says by Michael Coogan. With that being said, even though it had me looking up a few scriptures, overall, the ideas presented in this book was quite different from my religious upbringing. This book sheds a different light on the topic of sex in the Bible. He explains very simply how meanings can be lost in translation. For us to" know" someone means just that, to perhaps know them personally or know their work, but to "know" someone in the biblical sense means to know them sexually. It is easy to see how reading the Bible we should really know the true meaning of the word as it was used during Bible time. He goes on to tell us that in Hebrew time words such as hand, feet,nakedness among other terms could be used as euphemisms for male or female genitalia. His covered subjects such as marriage, adultery, homosexuality along with a myriad of other sexual related topics. This book was an easy read, written so the average person could understand it, and included footnotes peppered throughout. He presents his ideas in a clear concise way, without sounding preachy. While his interpretations vary from what I was taught in church, I still found this an interesting book to read. Thanks to Hachette Publishing for providing me a copy for review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I grew up in the Baptist church, and even went so far as to do a 2 month missions trip, so my background is so intensely "Christian," that people are surprised when I discuss things like this... things that just aren't talked about. But they should be. And Coogan does. And he does it in a fairly non-biased way, simply using his experience to examine the Bible from a different perspective. The book isn't simply about intercourse, but examines gender issues, and challenges believers to examine the roots of our faith. Signed, a Christian of 20 years.
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ManoaHI More than 1 year ago
Disclosure: I am of the same opinion that the bible has lots of references to sex and is man inspired and not divine in any way. I was raised in a Christian family, but I became a non-believer about 35 years ago; i.e. I am an Humanist, non-believer in god(s). I have read the bible many times in several different versions. It is a good book, but not the "Good Book," meaning it has fascinating stories and interesting points in history. But this book's title is "God and Sex: What the Bible Really Say" spends a lot of pages on not covering this at all. All of this, possibly a first version, jumps all over the place and doesn't follow neither biblical order nor chronological order (or supposedly chronological order). This rather poor organization makes it hard to follow, especially if you know the bible. Points covered as a list and that is what this should have been, not a book. I highly recommend passing on this book, unless you get it for free.