Leviticus Morality

June 20, 2006

I read the comments of many people who draw distinctions between Jesus and the Old Testament, and Jesus and Paul. The Old Testament is full of massacres and harsh codes of law, whereas Jesus preached Love, they say. Paul was judgmental and focussed on sacrifice and the need to ‘believe’, whereas Jesus loved and included even Samaritan women.

There is truth in this – Jesus did preach Love and Inclusion, the Old Testament is full of massacres and injunctions against shellfish. But there is also danger.

The danger is to rip Jesus out of his context; a modern day act of Marcion. For me the Bible as a collection of books (a library, a biblioteca) is a story of gradual discovery. Jesus pointed his listeners to the Torah they already knew and said “Look, listen, it’s all here already – you were just looking at it the wrong way, stupido. Let all who have ears hear (that’s you, buddy)”.

In that light I present a passage from Leviticus, home of nasty quotes about gays, women, shellfish and slavery:

Leviticus 19:18
Love your neighbor as yourself


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