Sexuality and the Jesus Tradition. By WILLIAM LOADER. Grand Rapids, Mich.: WILLIAM B. EERDMANS PUBLISHING Co., 2005. Pp. viii + 288 + vii. $30.
Enoch, Levi. and Jubilees on Sexuality: Attitudes towards Sexuality in the Early Enoch Literature, the Aramaic Levi Document, and the Book of Jubilees. By WILLIAM LOADER. Grand Rapids, Mich.: WILLIAM B. EERDMANS PUBLISHING CO., 2007. Pp. viii + 350. $30.
The Pseudepigrapha on Sexuality: Attitudes towards Sexuality in Apocalyptic Testaments. Legends, Wisdom, and Related Literature. By WILLIAM LOADER. Grand Rapids. Mich.: WILLIAM B. EERDMANS PUBLISHING Co., 2011. Pp. xii + 571. $65.
William Loader is an Australian scholar and he likes sex. That is, he likes to write about it. He is prolific regarding the topic, having written three important volumes and some interesting articles on the subject. Moreover, he was gracious enough to review my book, Sex in the Bible: A New Consideration (Praeger, 2006), in the Review of Biblical Literature, for which I thank him and herewith return the favor. Loader is professor emeritus of New Testament at Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia. He is busy with a five-volume series exploring attitudes toward sexuality in Judaism and Christianity during the Greco-Roman era. Eerdmans began to publish this series in 2005 and this review considers the three volumes that have already arrived.
Whereas my books on sex (cf. also The Spirituality of Sex, Praeger 2009) are written in a pastoral and psychotherapeutic vein for popular consumption, Loader's volumes are works of consummate scholarship oriented toward the academic community. They are careful exegetical textual studies and designed to present the worldview and value system evidenced in those texts. Together they constitute a watershed mass of data and interpretation that will surely prevail as the standard works in this field of ancient cultures for the twenty-first century at least.
The first volume concerns sex in the Jesus tradition and has three parts: Sex and Danger: Passion and Responsibility: Order and Chaos: Marriage and Divorce: and Celibacy and Hope: Interim Choices. Each of these is a basket into which Loader has placed a series of chapters. The first section addresses small textual selections from Matt. 5, 15, and 18, and Mark 7 and 9. After treating these key texts exegetically and hermeneutically, he develops his conclusions about sexual immorality as manifested by the attitudes, actions, and...