William Loader, Author . Eerdmans $30 (288p) ISBN 978-0-8028-2862-0

Loader offers in this volume a serious and thoughtful examination of sexual attitudes and mores arising from a study of the gospels, Paul's letters and the evolving church tradition. His primary focus is the issue of celibacy, both enforced, as in the case of some priests and celibate orders, and voluntary, as in the case of the apostle Paul. Loader, professor of New Testament at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia, and author of The Septuagint, Sexuality, and the New Testament , utilizes critical methods and language study to look beneath the text in determining meaning and intent. "Almost at every point we find ourselves taken beyond a concern with [sexual] acts towards a more holistic approach which looks at attitudes." Beginning with a fine study of Jesus' sayings in the Sermon on the Mount, Loader examines the reasons why celibacy seemed to be chosen by some and rejected by others. He avoids discussion of homosexuality, citing the already abundant literature on this subject. His familiarity with the biblical languages and the ancient cultural milieu serves him well as he looks beneath the text for a mature view of sexuality and celibacy. General readers will find this extensively footnoted book a bit complex, but scholars and pastors will appreciate the author's detailed and satisfying study. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 01/17/2005
Release date: 02/01/2005
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!