Alfred C. Kinsey: an introduction...

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Alfred_Charles_Kinsey.jpgThe work of Alfred Charles Kinsey at Indiana University, and the affiliated Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction, has had a dramatic impact on our age.

In that I grew up in Bloomington, the home of IU and the Kinsey Institute, and have lived here for a portion of my adult life, I can claim some expertise in knowing the reputation of the Institute in our small, midwestern city. In that I’m a Christian, I’ll be writing from a specifically Christian worldview in making these series of posts. The impact of the man and the Institute that bears his name has been evil. 

The author of my major source has made an attempt to be objective and at least some reviewers think he has been successful. It is the biography by James H. Jones entitled, Alfred C. Kinsey: a public/private life (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1997). Jones is a historian who teaches at the University of Houston. He did his Ph.D. at IU and has written, Bad Blood: the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment. He began his work on Kinsey while he was in Bloomington...


The book comes with blurbs (on the back cover) from historians (e.g., Peter Gay, the historian of the Enlightenment) and Directors of Women’s Studies at universities. These blurbs extol Jones’ objectivity, praising him for not “denigrating or exalting” Kinsey, and for his “brutal honesty” as he portrayed the “nuanced humanity” of this conflicted pioneer. Another says that the book “shows Kinsey’s inner demons, including his homosexuality and masochism, even as it honors his great and liberating achievement.” 

Lets be clear at the outset. Jones is no wild-eyed fundamentalist. He has attempted to write the biography of Kinsey and tell the truth and let the ideological chips fall where they may. 

My hope in this series of posts is not to summarize Jones’ book. I do want to summarize the life of Alfred Kinsey for those who don’t have the time to read this biography, but I’ll also be using other books. I will also try to interpret his work and put it in a broader, Christian context. For an age that has a short attention span, I hope to make a large number of brief posts. For those of you who have longer attention spans, I apologize.

David Wegener

David is an ordained Teaching Elder (Pastor) in the Central Indiana Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America. Formerly serving in theological education in Africa with Mission to the World, he and his wife currently live in their hometown of Bloomington, IN.