Leviticus 19:18 Does Not Mean “Love Everyone”: Why I Disagree with Richard E. FriedmanI have linked to the article by Richard E. Friedman here.
The conflicts over immigration and social inequality mean that Leviticus 19:18 (“you shall love your neighbor as yourself [ואהבת לרעך כמוך]) is being revived once again as a biblical prooftext. One of the main defenders for the universalist interpretation of Leviticus 19:18 is Richard E. Friedman. In so doing, Friedman was attemping to refute the nationalist view of Harry M. Orlinsky (1908-1992), My article here will argue that, despite a pro-immigrant and welcoming appearance, Lev 19:18 actually is part of a colonialist and patriarchal attitude toward foreigners found in Leviticus and in other biblical traditions. Friedman overlooks the exegetical and ethical problems he creates and/or propagates in explaining his disagreement with Orlinsky.
By Hector Avalos
Professor of Religious Studies
Iowa State University
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