Knust, Jennifer Wright. “Unprotected Texts: The Bible’s Surprising Contradictions About Sex and Desire”, HarperOne, 2011.
What the Bible Says About Sex
When I see an article with the title “What the Bible Says About Sex” I often feel like I also have to see something like what the Bible doesn’t say because that’s what the Christian fundamentalists seem to get off on. Since the Bible says nothing about what they are looking for, they twist the Bible words to make it sound like it does say something. That is most definitely not the case here as Jennifer Wright Knust is a Bible scholar and we can be sure that if she has something to say, she can back it up with text.
The passages that deal with sex are probably those that are argued over the most. Knust uses both a personal and a scholarly approach to explain what the Holy writings say. As a Jew I concentrated on the section of the book dealing with the Five Books of Moses (The Old Testament). We do know that in Biblical times, prostitution and polygamy were accepted and the Jews lived in a patriarchal society and kept slaves. Kunst looks at the nature of desire and despite her Southern Baptist roots she looks at the Bible through a liberal lens. She gives new emphasis to the stories of the Bible and her reading of the texts gives us a new look at what is written. She shows how and why in some religions, the Bible is exploited and she points us at where to find-or not find—how the Bible looks at sex before marriage, homosexuality, gender roles and at sex in general. We see that the Bible was never meant to be a “morality manual” and those that do so do not interpret the book correctly.
This is both a reference book and an exciting reading experience. Knust deals with the plethora of contradictions found in the Bible. The book has already caused some major arguments from detractors and it is easy to see why—their traditional are cast aside and we look at the Bible through different eyes.
I have read several reviews that oppose what the book says and do so with vehemence. To them I say, calm down and read the book once again. Kunst has done her research well and she shares it with us. While the book is academic, it is still extremely readable. I totally recommend it.