Boston University Religion Professor Jennifer Wright Knust discusses her latest book, Unprotected Texts: The Bible's Surprising Contradictions about Sex and Desire (HarperOne 2011).
In a refreshingly sensible tone, Knust, Assistant Professor of Religion at Boston University, tackles today's most contentious biblical texts and brings to light some intriguing others in this effort to detail and explain what the Bible says about sex. Although it is academic in its embrace of biblical scholarship and treatment of texts, this is also a personal book.
Knust, a lifelong Baptist (and ordained as an American Baptist Pastor), begins with an anecdote from her childhood that defends the value of studying and questioning the Bible. Matters of how biblical interpretations bear on real issues for people today are never far from the discussion. As Knust is clear-eyed in showing the Bible's acceptance of polygamy, slavery, prostitution, and premarital sex, she calls into question facile judgments and absolutist claims about "what the Bible says." In her able hands, readers will learn and appreciate the variety of ways that the Bible treats and judges sex. She also demands of readers that they then think for themselves about how biblical texts should be interpreted and applied.