This book is about listening to what writers were saying about sex in early Judaism and Christianity -- ancient words surprisingly relevant for today. It functions as both a summary and a conclusion to William Loader's five previous books on sexuality in a form accessible to those who may not have a background knowledge of early Judaism and Christianity. It also contains a useful subject index to those five previous volumes.
In examining thoroughly all the relevant writings and related evidence of the Greco-Roman period, Loader dialogues with scholarship related to each writing in order to make his conclusions as objective as possible. By enabling the reader to listen respectfully to these ancient texts, Making Sense of Sex provides a basis for informed discussion of sexual issues today.
William Loader is professor emeritus of New Testament atMurdoch University, Perth, Australia. His other books onsexuality in early Judaism and Christianity are Philo,Josephus, and the Testaments on Sexuality;The Pseudepigrapha on Sexuality; TheDead Sea Scrolls on Sexuality; and Enoch,Levi, and Jubilees on Sexuality.,
John J. Collins
-- Yale Divinity School
"The capstone of a project that has already produced five volumes of detailed research, this book establishes Loader as the Kinsey of biblical sexuality. Like Kinsey, he has taken a topic that has often been taboo and demystified it. His patient cataloguing of the diverse biblical attitudes to sexuality complicates the issue for anyone who would appeal to biblical authority in a simplistic way. This is a major contribution both to biblical scholarship and to practical theology."
Margaret Y. MacDonald
-- St. Francis Xavier University
"Making Sense of Sex could only have been written by a scholar who has spent a decade of research and previously published five scholarly volumes on the topic. Here William Loader presents his main conclusions in a highly accessible format. The lucid prose, anchored with references to primary sources, makes it an indispensable resource for students, but scholars will also find much value in the concise overview. . . . Loader is clearly a worldwide leading expert on sexuality in early Judaism and early Christianity, and his command of the material is detectable on every page."
-- University of Edinburgh
"This book is much more than a mere distillation of Loaders magisterial five-volume study of attitudes toward sexuality in ancient Jewish and Christian sources. With consummate skill, precise prose, and detailed understanding of relevant texts, Loader takes readers on a journey drawing out overarching themes relating to attitudes toward sexuality, yet without minimizing the diversity of views that existed. . . . This scintillating study showcases biblical scholarship in its finest form. Beyond simply being an exercise in excellent exegesis, it delves into the fundamental questions of what it means to be both human and sexual beings. One could wish for no better guide in tackling these vexed issues concerning sexuality."
George J. Brooke
-- University of Manchester
"This book is both a magnificent distillation of many years work published in five comprehensive volumes and a splendid new work in its own right. Loaders paying attention to and juxtaposing the full range of ancient Jewish and New Testament texts on human sexuality clearly shows the lack of any monochrome view in those texts. His thematic arrangement enables readers to bridge the gap of two millennia with ease and without undue distortion. Most valuable."
-- Yale Divinity School
"Over the course of the last six years William Loader has engaged in a comprehensive study of sexuality in the literature of Second Temple Judaism and early Christianity. . . . The current volume provides the capstone to this ambitious project, offering a thematically arranged presentation of the evidence of primary sources. In every sense of the word, this is a magisterial contribution to the study of ancient Judaism and early Christianity."
-- Princeton Theological Seminary
"After publishing eight major monographs devoted to sexuality in antiquity, William Loader has become the international expert best prepared to suggest how each of us can have a healthy sexuality that is faithful to our sacred tradition. This book encompasses areas that are both far-reaching and of great interest to many in contemporary society. Reading it will help us all know more about our vulnerability and how heart is related to genitalia. Loader helps us respect the necessary distance and proximity of the other and how to appreciate a persons otherness and holiness. He writes with insight, skill, and passion. . . . Highly recommended for all who like to read and wish to be better informed."
Journal of the American Oriental Society
"William Loader knows more about ancient views of human sexuality than anyone else in the world. With exquisite exegetical precision, he has written numerous scholarly volumes on sexuality as it surfaces in biblically related documents of Second Temple Judaism and Christian origins. . . . Loaders present volume has been highly valued by the scholarly community of OT and NT researchers, and indeed this book presents an overview of the insights that marked the previous volumes in the series with broad scope and great depth."
Catholic Books Review
"As Loader meanders back and forth through a number of texts, he grapples with the meanings of the period associated with this myriad of sexual practices. . . . There is something to be learned in every chapter. . . . This book is a conversation starter not the end of the conversation."
"A clear and authoritative guide."