God and Sex – Michael Coogan

Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Twelve (October 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446545252
ISBN-13: 978-0446545259
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Have you ever thought about all the sex that goes on in the Bible. Have you wondered what The bible actually had to say on topics such as adultery, incest, and other taboo topics. In God & Sex, Michael Coogan attempts to explain those things. Mr. Coogan is a professor of Religious Studies at Stonehill College, and has taught Hebrew Scriptures at Harvard, Wellesley College, Boston College, and Stonehill. The basic premise for this book is taken from some of those lectures.

He puts some interesting, and some might consider blasphemous spins on some of the taboos spelled out in Leviticus. One example is on the subject of Incest. The Bible says not to have intercourse with your sister, aunt, father’s wife (not necessarily mother), etc. He points out some facts regarding this issue. One, It doesn’t tell women not to have sexual relations with the corresponding family members. In fact, he points out, the bible is full of cases of sisters and brothers marrying. Two, he argues that one of the primary reasons, is that women were property. A man sleeping with his sister, deprives his father of the income that she would bring as a virgin bride.

A lot of the hangups towards sex we seem to have actually tie back to the male dominance within the bible according to this book. He points out areas where there are contradictions in things, and where some times a sexual connotation is being given, but we aren’t aware of it, such as mentioning of uncovering feet, wherein feet is a euphemism for genitalia. I’d never considered that, but his explanation does make sense, in the situations he brings up.

While I’m not 100% certain he’s correct in his interpretations, they do seem to make sense and fit his overall logic. I’m not sure I’d recommend this book for those who read the bible literally, but for those who tend to read things, and want to see things in their historical context, I think you’d find Mr. Coogan’s spin on these issues to be quite though provoking.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Valerie at Hachette Book Group for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review.

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One Response to “God and Sex – Michael Coogan”

  1. Joan Slish Says:

    Mr. Coogan is so correct. Though I have not done any in-depth studies of it, a few examples come to mind.
    After the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah,Lot’s daughters get him drunk and have sex with him. Lot is the grandfather of his own children.
    King David and all the kings having multiple wives and concubines. Not to mention Bathsheba and the killing of her husband.
    The Song of Solomon…Song of Songs… with its very description of the sex act.
    This book sounds like a very fascinating read. Let me know his take on the Song of Solomon.