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God and Sex: What the Bible Really Says by…
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God and Sex: What the Bible Really Says (2010)

by Michael Coogan

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11115170,599 (3.78)4
Biblical scholar Michael Coogan's introductory course on the Old Testament has been a perennial favorite among students at Harvard University. Here, Coogan examines one of the most controversial aspects of the Hebrew Scripture: what the Old Testament really says about sex, and how contemporary understanding of those writings is frequently misunderstood or misrepresented. In the engaging voice generations of students have appreciated, Coogan explores the language and social world of the Bible, showing how much innuendo and euphemism is at play, and illuminating the sexuality of biblical figures as well as God. By doing so, Coogan reveals the immense gap between popular use of Scripture and its original context. Certain to provoke, entertain, and enlighten.--From publisher description.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
It has taken me a little while to get round to reviewing this book. As others have mentioned, this book is more on the academic side than some may have expected, but it is still very accessible if approached with this in mind. What Coogan has done is look at the topic of 'God and Sex' from the point of what is written in the context of when and where it was written. Too many people use the Bible to prove the point they want it to make rather than actually taking the time to read what it says contextually. Although a lot oh what he wrote has been written in other places, it was good to have all of it put together in one short volume like this. I thought it was good that he left his own conclusions to the end of the book, which gives the reader time to think about their own conclusion on the subject. This is a worthwhile book to read, even if at times it may be a little to explicit for some, as it offers some insight to a topic that is often whitewashed or overlooked in the church today. ( )
  wcs53 | Mar 6, 2014 |
This was slightly more academic than I expected, but still interesting. I expected Coogan to take more of a stand throughout the book on how to interpret what the Bible says for today's world, but it wasn't until the conclusion chapter that he puts forth his personal theory. Through the rest of the book, he simply gathers the Bible verses that relate to each individual topic (women's rights, marriage, forbidden sexual relationships, rape, etc.) and presents them in all their contradictory glory. Coogan contextualizes the verses with descriptions of the historical world they came from and often notes different ways they have been interpreted, but doesn't comment much on the individual topics. I did feel that the focus could have been slightly tighter; there were a few places where I felt Coogan expanded on stuff that was of interest to him, but not necessarily directly related to the topic of hand. What I particularly liked was Coogan's insistance on taking the verses back to their language of origin and parsing out the different ways they could and have been translated. Translastion is not a direct or exact thing and it was very helpful to have Coogan compare the different ways specific words have been translated across traditions and editions of the Bible. Over all, not a bad resource for those who don't have, or choose to take, the time for in depth academic study of the Bible, but I think the academic tone may deter those with only casual interest. ( )
  JenJ. | Mar 31, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A useful little book on an entertaining and controversial topic. Well worth a read to learn a bit more of the historical context behind some of these controversial texts . While a fair amount of the material in this book can be found in other places, this is the best single reference on this topic that I've encountered. ( )
  jlhowson | Sep 9, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Doesn't really cover much new ground, but it does repackage it in a way to make a lot of scholarly historical and textual work accessible to general audiences. ( )
  getdowmab | May 3, 2012 |
If you're hoping for a biblical Harlequin, look elsewhere. This is a heavy little book, even a little overwhelming, as it delves into the sexual inequalities of biblical times. I found the book rather dark in places; an obvious agenda of the author is to extol how grateful we should be to have outgrown the biblical view of women as property. Indeed there are multiple horror stories of how women were treated in the Bible, but is it healthy to overdose on this topic? Coogan touches only briefly on the other side of the coin--the radical change in treatment encouraged by Jesus and his earliest followers. Even Paul, says Coogan, suppressed women, as he argues against current scholarship that many of the suppressive teachings recorded by "Paul" were actually later writings.

But, thankfully, the book isn't entirely about sexual inequality. Some of the topics are more light-hearted. You'll learn about sexual innuendos which shed light on several passages in the Bible; you'll find out whether David and Jonathan were gay lovers (they weren't); you'll learn about the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah (it wasn't sodomy, or even sexual perversity); you'll learn about Yahweh's wife in Israel’s most primitive beliefs, including several passages from the Bible. I highly recommend the book, and I guarantee you'll learn from it. ( )
  DubiousDisciple | Mar 29, 2011 |
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