About the book: For several decades, Michael Coogan's introductory course on the Old Testament has been a perennial favorite among students at Harvard University. In God and Sex, 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 and witty 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. God and Sex is certain to provoke, entertain, and enlighten readers.
About the Author: Michael Coogan is Director of Publications for the Harvard Semitic Museum and Professor of Religious Studies at Stonehill College. For several decades, he has taught an introductory course on the Hebrew Scriptures at Harvard University, as well as at Wellesley College, Boston College, and Stonehill College. One of the leading biblical scholars in the United States, he is the author of The Old Testament: A Historical and Literary Introduction to the Hebrew Scriptures, and editor of the acclaimed third edition of The New Oxford Annotated Bible.
My Comments: I'd like to thank the folks at Hachette Books for providing a review copy of this book. It is interesting reading about a religious book from a non-religious perspective. In short, Coogan's thesis is that the people who wrote the Hebrew and Christian scriptures were part of a patriarchal society with certain values and social customs and that the Bible has to be read with that in mind. He talks about marriage, sex, adultery, homosexual behavior, abortion and other sex-related topics. He generally arrives at conclusions different from those of the Catholic church and other traditional Christian churches.
The book is easy to read, yet it is heavily footnoted like an academic journal article. While I disagree with his conclusions, I enjoyed reading the book. You can read part of the book here.