Leviticus 18/20

Liz Fried lizfried at umich.edu
Sat Feb 17 12:46:58 EST 2001

Dear Christine,
> Regarding the word "abomination"  in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 (I am
> using the JPS 1917 edition of the Tanach), what is the general
> consensus of
> this word as an accurate translation?
I think B. A. Levine has written about this word somewhere.
I think there are Ugaritic or Akkadian cognates (sorry, I can't be more
precise.) The word has cultic connotations, in other words it is a violation
of a cult prohibition.
> Toevah...abominable, right? ...<snip>..which may be abominable
> traits but hardly worthy of the death penalty, eh? "

There is no mention of the death penalty in this chapter at all.
The Biblical writer here is simply saying that it was for infractions of
rules that the previous inhabitants were expelled from the land,
and if you do them you will be expelled from that same land too,
YHWH"s land.  There is nothing for *people* to do with regard to
those who break these rules, the punishment, if any, is left to God.
Further, this chapter has only to do with the land of Israel, nowhere else.

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