I was looking forward to his book with high expectations, but these expectations were quickly dashed.
First, I expected this book to be about the "Old Testament" Bible -- about Mespotamia, Babylon, and the rest of the Near East. It's not. It's basically Yet Another Bible Study About Homosexuality, and takes up all the hoary chestnuts one by one, subjecting them to a myopic scrutiny.
The hoary old chestnuts are: the Levitical prohibitions, the Sodom story and the parallel story of the outrage at Gibeah, the story of David and Jonathan, and St. Paul's ravings, plus a few other odds and ends about cult prostitutes. Frankly, I think I did a better job at reviewing these old chestnuts in my own book. (!)
How could that be? The reason is, I suspect, as follows. First, you get a big clue about the author when he appends a lengthy discussion of "homosexuality" as a theological issue. Huh? I thought this was a book of history?
The author mentions that his native Finland is 95 percent Lutheran, and evidently he is a Lutheran himself -- as well as "purely heterosexual." However, he finds himself (like many others) unable to accept the absurd analyses proferred by the charlatan John Boswell, and so this book is basically a long refutation of Boswell written by another believing Christian. This provides (to me) an extremely odd authorial perspective.
He ends up by condescendingly informing us that the important question is not "Why is that man [homosexual]?" -- although the question may be worth asking, or so he says -- but "What gives me a problem in dealing with this [homosexual]?" The author tells us that contemplating this question will make us "look in the mirror" and thus become one who "loves his neighbor as oneself." One could hardly imagine a more overt bit of Christian moralizing to conclude a book. And of course he misses the point entirely; he should not be looking in the mirror, he should be looking at his religion!
And so you understand why he easily dismisses Gilgamesh and Enkidu, David and Jonathan -- and, one would imagine, Achilles and Patroclus -- as "non-sexual" relationships. I don't think we can ever establish such "facts" as these, but should be paying very close attention to the fact that all of these are stories of love. LOVE! The word is right there, in all the sources, unambigous and beyond obfuscation. Gilgamesh LOVED Enkidu. David LOVED Jonathan. Achilles LOVED Patroclus. It's the same pattern: the love "surpassing the love of woman." In the Gilgamesh epic, one of the crucial facts is that Gilgamesh turns down the sexual overtures of Ishtar, and his friend Enkidu eventually winds up dead at the hands of the scorned goddess!
Another puzzle to chew over: right at the beginning of Gilgamesh, the story tells us that Gilgamesh was a mighty king and sexually voracious: no daughter of the town was safe from him, and neither was any son of the town. And then, on page after page, our myopic author tells us that he can't see ANY evidence ANYWHERE that "homosexual relations" were even known to these people.
This book is probably worth having on the shelf as a reference, but only for a truly dedicated scholar. Otherwise, I'd suggest reading Gilgamesh. That, at least, is a good story!