Biblical Sex:Interpreting the Good Book’s Laws

Unprotected Texts:  The Bible’s Surprising Contradictions About Sex and Desire, by Jennifer Wright Knust (HarperOne, 2011)

by Natasja Sheriff

If you listen to the rhetoric of the more vocal proponents of conservative Christianity, you would be forgiven for believing that the Bible contains clear instruction on sexual conduct and morality.  You might be less inclined to believe that the Good Book is actually full of hidden meaning and innuendo, erotic poetry, extra-marital seduction and love affairs between same-sex couples. Doesn’t the Bible teach that sex is for procreation, sanctioned only within the confines of marriage between two heterosexual adults?

No, says Jennifer Wright Knust, author of Unprotected Texts: The Bible’s Surprising Contradictions About Sex and Desire. An ordained Baptist minister and religious scholar with a doctorate in Religion from Columbia University, Knust knows what she’s talking about. The Bible, Knust argues, is not a sexual guidebook. It is inconsistent, contradictory, complex and, at times, “patently immoral.”  “The Bible does not offer a systematic set of teachings or a single sexual code,” she says, “but it does reveal sometimes conflicting attempts on the part of people and groups to define sexual morality, and to do so in the name of God.” Continue Reading →