The one that comes to mind that is explicitly about homosexuality in the New Testament is...The Man Jesus Loved
by Theodore W. Jennings, Jr.
"Jennings starts out by examining the title character's role in the Gospel of St. John [John 13, 18-21]. It turns out that there is substantial similarity between the relationship between Jesus and the Beloved Disciple and that between a lover and a beloved in a Hellenistic gymnasium; nowadays we would say they were boyfriends or lovers. Jennings reviews various attempts to identify the Beloved Disciple and goes into the stories of the nude youth fleeing at the arrest of Jesus, of Lazarus, of the youth at the tomb of Jesus, and of the usage of the words eros vs. philia vs. agape (different Koine Greek words for love) in the text. Furthermore, there is no indication Jesus and the Beloved Disciple would not have consummated the relationship. Jennings makes a case that traditional commentators prefer to ignore or sublimate.
Jennings moves on to show how the story of the Centurion's lad (pais,doulos) [Matthew 8:5-13] might reasonably be interpreted as Jesus being happy to help a sick lover in a same-sex relationship and on Jesus's compassion for eunichs.
The final section gathers the evidence that Jesus wanted to convert traditional family values to a situation where everyone cares about everyone else and all have a direct connection to God."
Not explicited about homosexuality, but good insight into how the New Testament evolved...I mean, can you add something to the gospels and have it still be the word of God?Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why
by Bart Ehrman
"The popular perception of the Bible as a divinely perfect book receives scant support from Ehrman, who sees in Holy Writ ample evidence of human fallibility and ecclesiastical politics. Though himself schooled in evangelical literalism, Ehrman has come to regard his earlier faith in the inerrant inspiration of the Bible as misguided, given that the original texts have disappeared and that the extant texts available do not agree with one another. Most of the textual discrepancies, Ehrman acknowledges, matter little, but some do profoundly affect religious doctrine. To assess how ignorant or theologically manipulative scribes may have changed the biblical text, modern scholars have developed procedures for comparing diverging texts. And in language accessible to nonspecialists, Ehrman explains these procedures and their results. He further explains why textual criticism has frequently sparked intense controversy, especially among scripture-alone Protestants. In discounting not only the authenticity of existing manuscripts but also the inspiration of the original writers, Ehrman will deeply divide his readers. Although he addresses a popular audience, he undercuts the very religious attitudes that have made the Bible a popular book."
Another Ehrman book...any of his books are good reads God's Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question--Why We Suffer
by Bart Ehrman
"Through close readings of every section of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, he discovers that the Bible offers numerous answers that are often contradictory. The prophets think God sends pain and suffering as a punishment for sin and also that human beings who oppress others create such misery; the writers who tell the Jesus story and the Joseph stories think God works through suffering to achieve redemptive purposes; the writers of Job view pain as God's test; and the writers of Job and Ecclesiastes conclude that we simply cannot know why we suffer. In the end, frustrated that the Bible offers such a range of opposing answers, Ehrman gives up on his Christian faith and fashions a peculiarly utilitarian solution to suffering and evil in the world: first, make this life as pleasing to ourselves as we can and then make it pleasing to others."
Now this is a great book in my opinion. It examines Jesus' teaching without the divinity and heavenly reward crap...just what do Jesus' teaching say about how we should live HERE ON EARTH. This one will blow your socks off. I have never read the Beatitudes described like this.The Political Teachings of Jesus
by Tod Lindberg
This one is about Islam. It's the best history of the religion that I have read for the Westerner. It gives enough detail so you can understand who all the players in the religion are and why, but it doesnt drag you thru every Caliph that ever existed!No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam
by Reza Aslan
"Aslan, a young Iranian emigrant, lucidly charts the growth of Islam from Muhammad's model community in Medina—depicted as a center of egalitarian social reform—through the chaotic contest to define the faith after the Prophet's death. Within generations, seven hundred thousand hadith—accounts of Muhammad's words and deeds—were in circulation, many "fabricated by individuals who sought to legitimize their own particular beliefs." Out of this muddle was born the primacy of the ulema, Islam's clerical establishment. The ulema, in Aslan's view, foreclosed Koranic interpretation, detoured from the Medinan ideal, and obscured Islam under a thicket of legalistic decrees. Fifteen centuries after Muhammad, Islam has reached the age at which Christianity underwent its reformation; Islam's renewal, Aslan attests, "is already here." However, both modernizers and their "fundamentalist" opposites call themselves reformers, and the victory of the former is not assured."