The New Testament on Sexuality.

Author:Ellens, J. Harold
Position:Book review
 
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The New Testament on Sexuality. By William LOADER. Grand Rapids, Mich.: WILLIAM B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2012. Pp. x + 565. $65 (paper).

William Loader is Professor Emeritus of New Testament Studies at Murdoch University, Perth, Australia. He is now known world-wide for his internationally acclaimed analysis of references to human sexuality in the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, and the Dead Sea Scrolls. He has written numerous books on sexuality as it is described in the biblical and Second Temple Jewish documents. There are five volumes in the series to which this present work is the final publication. Those volumes are Enoch, Levi, and Jubilees on Sexuality; The Dead Sea Scrolls on Sexuality; The Pseudepigrapha on Sexuality; Philo, Josephus, and the Testaments on Sexuality; and The New Testament on Sexuality. These have all been published by Eerdmans. In addition he has published a popular volume with Westminster John Knox Press entitled Sexuality and the New Testament: Understanding Key Texts.

As the title implies, this present volume also deals mainly with the books unique to the Christian scriptures, the New Testament (NT) documents. His works are well reviewed and widely known and used.

Sexuality in the New Testament has a most helpful introduction, a satisfying conclusion, eight chapters, and sixty-five pages of excellent end papers including a bibliography of 700 entries, as well as indexes of ancient and biblical sources, and of modern authors. The author treats in-depth such issues as his chapter titles suggest: Sexuality in the Jewish World of the New Testament, Sexuality in the Greco-Roman World of the New Testament, Sexuality in the Gospel Tradition, Sexuality in Paul and beyond Paul, Divorce, Same-Sex Intercourse, Men and Women in Community and Leadership, and Celibacy.

Loader launches his address to this universally interesting, indeed intriguing, topic with the assumptions that we are all sexual beings and that understanding how the people of the Bible thought of sexuality will influence both how we view it and how we respond to each other sexually. Our sexual natures, after all, are not restricted to the functioning of our genitalia but also affect that of our minds and spirits.

This book is not about sexual ethics but about the NT, a world much different from ours, in that sex was considered sacred, intended for pregnancy--hence restricted to family life--and held overtones of concern...

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