Theology Book Review

The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics

by Robert A. J. Gagnon
Reviewed date: 2023 Mar 24
528 pages
cover art

Gagnon is thorough. This is the standard text explaining the biblical texts that have bearing on homosexual practice. Gagnon has done his research. It's extensively footnoted, and after reading his book I am much less impressed by the work of Matthew Vines. The arguments Vines offered up in his 2014 book have been well and truly demolished by Gagnon in this 2001 book.

I did not take detailed notes. The book is simply too dense for that. This is the sort of book one might keep on the shelf as a reference book. But after reading the whole thing, it's convincing: there is simply no way to read the Bible honestly and come away with anything other than the traditional view of marriage and sexuality.

To be completely fair, I will read James V. Brownson's book, Bible, Gender, Sexuality. This is supposedly the book that demolishes Gagnon's scholarship and his arguments (and, from what I understand, is the standard scholarly work defending a gay-affirming Christian position.) But I've read some of Gagnon's responses to Brownson's work, and it doesn't seem that Brownson addresses most of what Gagnon's book says. And I've read Matthew Vines's book (which seems to be based on the scholarly works of Brownson) and been unimpressed. But we'll see.

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