Sean McDowell | April 12, 2016

What are the Top Academic Books on the Bible and Homosexuality?

In my last post, I listed my top five popular books on the Bible and homosexuality. This post is designed for those who want to go deeper and explore the academic sources firsthand:

The Bible and Homosexual Practice, Robert Gagnon (Abingdon Press, 2002). If you are going to read one academic book on this subject, this should probably be it. Gagnon is probably the most well-known and outspoken proponent of the traditional view of homosexuality.

The Flame of Yahweh, Richard Davidson (Baker Academic, 2007). This book is a massive 650+ page book focused specifically on sexuality in the OT. Davidson focuses on diverse issues such as divorce and remarriage, incest, polygamy, and homosexuality. He approaches OT ethics through the lens of the creation narrative. One of my favorite parts is where he demonstrates that the “one flesh” union of Genesis 2:24 involves not only sex, but also total oneness in the social, relational, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual realms (p. 37). Amazingly, many contemporary writers are unaware of (or ignore) this book.

The New Testament on Sexuality, William Loader (Eerdmans, 2012). Given that professor Loader supports same-sex marriage, it is particularly powerful that he concludes that the NT makes no room for same-sex sexual relations. As an expert on the Jewish and Greco-Roman cultures, he also concludes that people in Paul’s time were aware of sexual orientation, including lifelong orientation (p. 322).

Out of Order, Donald J. Wold (Cedar Leaf Press, 2009). As an expert in the ancient near east, professor Wold has unique insight into how cultural factors influence the interpretation of biblical passages. This book is shorter than many academic books, but it packs a punch (218 pages).

Bible, Gender, Sexuality, James Brownson (Eerdmans, 2013). This book is clearly the leading revisionist academic book, and informs much of the arguments of people like Matthew Vines. If you want to interact with scholarly affirming arguments, you need to carefully read and consider this book.

There are also some other important academic books, such as Unchanging Witness by Fortson and Grams, The Moral Vision of the New Testament by Richard Hays, Slaves, Women, and Homosexuals, by William Webb, and Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality by John Boswell.

Sean McDowell, Ph.D. is a professor of Christian Apologetics at Biola University, a best-selling author of over 15 books, an internationally recognized speaker, and a part-time high school teacher. Follow him on Twitter: @sean_mcdowell and his blog:

Sean McDowell, Ph.D. is a professor of Christian Apologetics at Biola University, a best-selling author, popular speaker, and part-time high school teacher. Follow him on Twitter: @sean_mcdowell, TikTok, Instagram, and his blog: