Sex, Sacrifice, Shame, and Smiting

Is the Bible Always Right?

Donald Kraus

Nov/2008, 166 Pages, Paperback, 5.5 x 8.5

ISBN-13: 9781596270688



The Bible presents us with difficult statements about money and finance, social justice, marriage and divorce, sex, religion and politics, and other areas of life. Many of us pick and choose among them, feeling free to treat some of the Bible's moral rulings as absolutes but ignoring those we find unacceptable.

Are there areas where we can ignore what the Bible says? Is the Bible is simply wrong about some things? Are we free to argue that we understand things better than the biblical writers did an so can disregard them? Or must we accept what the Bible tells us, no matter how difficult it might be to put into practice? Kraus explores questions of prosperity, treatment of enemies, the death penalty, economics, social justice, sexual behavior, and others.

Donald Kraus is executive editor for Bibles at Oxford University Press, where he has been professionally involved with assessing, publishing, describing and defending different Bible translations for over 20 years. A lifelong Episcopalian, he is a member of St. Paul's-on-the-Green in Norwalk, Connecticut.

“Kraus approaches his subject with the delicacy required when introducing ideas that will be considered at best heterodox and, at worst, heretical. News of schisms within the mainline churches fills the headlines. Many of these bitter disagreements boil down to how one reads and understands scripture. Kraus makes a compelling case for a context- and culture-sensitive reading of the sacred book. When doing so, he insists, one can transcend the literal and appreciate the nuance in the telling of biblical stories. He further claims that a strictly literal reading of the scriptures has contributed to morally excluding segments of our population – gays and lesbians in particular…. Many readers will disagree with Kraus’s conclusions, but most will be challenged to re-examine their traditional views." — Publishers Weekly

"This is a very impressive book, and it is most valuable for those who wish to understand more deeply the major issue which is now dividing the Episcopal Church. It is especially valuable for those who wish to remain loyal to the Episcopal Church in this time of turmoil."— The Living Church

"Kraus's book will succeed in its ultimate goal: enabling communities of faith to approach the Bible in a more careful and critical manner." — Robert J. Myles, The University of Auckland

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