Never Have I Ever, Leviticus edition

Tad’s Happy Funtime scores himself against the list of “76 Things Banned in Leviticus.”

Seeing them all listed out like that does seem to invite a marathon game of “I Never.” (Or, depending on regional variations in college drinking games, “Never Have I Ever.”)

But seeing them all listed out like that also invites a more meaningful exercise: Evaluating the consistency of one’s biblical hermeneutic.

That’s fancy seminary talk for an interpretive framework, or more generally for how you read the Bible.

Look at that list of “76 Things Banned in Leviticus.” Pretty much everyone can skim through that list and note several items that they agree ought to be forbidden. And pretty much everyone can skim through that list and note several items that it just seems weird to treat as morally significant in any way.

I personally reject many of these prohibitions while affirming many of the others. No. 39, for example, from Leviticus 18:22, forbids a man from having sex with another man as though “with a woman.” I don’t think that’s binding or meaningful today.

My disregard for that verse and that prohibition leads some of my fellow American evangelicals to accuse me of being “liberal” or insufficiently respectful of the authoritah of scripture.

But none of those folks has any problem with No. 42, maximizing profits (or “Reaping to the very edges of a field”), or with No. 48, “Holding back the wages of an employee overnight.” Most of them don’t believe in No. 66 — forbidding them to treat foreigners differently than they treat the native-born. And they utterly, vehemently reject No. 75, “Selling land permanently.”

Yet somehow their disregard for all of those biblical commands never results in them being accused of “liberal” tendencies or a suspicious failure to respect the scriptures.

They’re picking and choosing.

And so am I, of course. The difference is I can explain why.

Here is the basis on which I do my picking and choosing:

He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

That tells me that No. 47, “Defrauding your neighbor,” still applies. And No. 67, “Using dishonest weights and scales” still applies. Those are both expressions of love for, and justice toward, your neighbor. But No. 61, “Trimming your beard,” does not still apply. In another time, place and culture, leaving one’s beard untrimmed may have been an expression of love for God. But not here, now, in this culture.

So far, everyone I’ve heard trying to defend No. 39 as a form of love for neighbor has resorted to making that case by violating No. 45 (lying), No. 53 (bearing a grudge), No. 67 (dishonest weights and scales), and especially No. 51 (spreading slander).

  • thatotherjean

     Sorry.  If you stick with YHWH, no catfish for you.

  • Lori

     

      Sorry.  If you stick with YHWH, no catfish for you.  

    Yeah, no catfish. See: earlier discussion about kosher being largely determined by what the creature eats. Catfish will eat anything and are basically swimming garbage dumps.

  • Ursula L

    I had assumed that the phrase embodied the sexist idea that intercourse is inherently about man as dominant and woman as submissive, and that the Torah’s authors were really objecting to men being in a submissive position. 

    This makes a great deal of sense.  

    From what I can tell, the Bible has no particular sense of “consent” as we understand it.  

    Rather, it has a series of rules about how and with whom men can have sex, and rules about which specific man has the right to control a given woman’s sexuality and reproductive capacity, an obligation on men to respect another man’s right to control the sexuality and reproductive capacity of a woman, and an obligation on women to submit to a man who is permitted to have sex with her, resist a man who is not permitted to have sex with her, and obey the man who has a right to control her sexuality.

    To have sex with a man “like a woman” would be to treat a man as an object whose sexual abilities are property.  You can have sex with your wife or concubine, because she was born with her father controlling her sexuality, and he gave her to you.  You can have sex with a slave because you bought her and with her the right to control her sexuality.  You can have sex with a woman captured in war because you’ve captured her and the control of her sexuality.  You can have sex with a prostitute because no particular man owns her sexuality, so any man can use it, or because her sexuality is owned by her pimp, from whom you have rented the right to temporarily use it.  You can’t have sex with a woman married to another man, because the other man owns her sexuality.  You can’t have sex with an unmarried woman because her father or male next-of-kin owns her sexuality. You can’t have sex with certain female relatives, because their sexuality is the property of other men in your family, and you have a particular obligation to respect the rights of men who are your kin, particularly older men or men of a previous generation, even if younger than you (such as an uncle younger than you born to your grandfather in his old age to a younger wife/concubine.)

    Who you want to have sex with and who wants to have sex with you is pretty much irrelevant. It’s a glaring absence in all those rules.  “Don’t have sex with anyone who isn’t enthusiastically agreeing to have sex with you of their own free will.”  

    And the absence of that rule is sufficient, as far as I’m concerned, to eliminate the Bible as an authoritative source on sexual ethics.   It starts with the wrong premise – the premise that sexuality is a property women have that is owned by a particular man in her life, and that property right must be respected.  Rather than that the correct starting premise for understanding sexual morality, that sexuality is something everyone has for themself, and you must respect everyone as a human who is your equal.

  • http://jesustheram.blogspot.com/ Mr. Heartland

    You can have my metal gods when you pry them out of my cold dead hands!!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8PIQp0RKaE

  • CAThompson

    As for 
    No. 39, I cannot find the Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal comic. But that explains it nicely as “God recommending sodomy.”

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     

    No. 39, [...] as “God recommending sodomy.”

    That makes certain assumptions about how men lie with women that turn out not to be reliably the case.

  • http://www.nightphoenix.com Amaranth

    A couple of thoughts on the “a man shouldn’t have sex with another man as though with a woman” thing.

    I know very little about the Hebrew language, but in researching the topic I found several people pointing out that there are two different words being used here for “man”: a man (ish) shouldn’t lie with a man (zakar) as with a woman. It gets confusing because people disagree on what this meant and why it was significant. Because “zakar” was sometimes used to refer to a cultic male prostitute, it’s been theorized that the verse was actually forbidding a specific custom where a man would go to pagan temple and have sex with a (male) prostitute as an offering to a deity.

    It makes sense to me because that makes it fit in with the larger context of Leviticus 18, which was all about “This is stuff your neighbors do in their temples. Don’t do that.” Research on ancient Canaanite and surrounding areas suggests that people would specifically have sex with relatives in their temples, as offerings. (Found a lot of this here:) http://www.gaychristian101.com/Shrine-Prostitutes.html

     It ALSO makes the sore thumb verse about not sacrificing your children to Molech fit right in.

  • Ursula L

    It’s worth noting that #31, “having sex with your uncle’s wife,” is not the most precise translation, at least in the NIV.  Rather, the prohibition is on having sex with your father’s brother’s wife.  

    Having sex with your mother’s brother’s wife, who is also an uncle’s wife, and just as closely related, is permitted.  Neither is having sex with your’father’s wife’s brother’s wife (when your father has more than one wife, your mother and another woman or other women), who might be considered a step-uncle.  

    This distinction, again, goes to the point of who control’s a woman’s sexuality, and to which men you have a particular obligation to respect their control of a woman’s sexuality.  

    A man’s father’s brother is in the group of men who are close relations to a man so that they are his social and cultural superiors whom he must particularly respect, beyond the obligation of not having sex with another man’s wife.

    But a man’s mother isn’t that important – relationships that count flow from his relationship with his father, for the most part. 

  • TheFaithfulStone

     

    Catfish … are basically swimming garbage dumps.

    Delicious swimming garbage dumps.  Mmmmmm…. swimming garbage dumps…uggglllhhh.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Not… really.

    In Rome, a man being in a sexual relationship with another man was a big huge honkin’ deal, and very frowned on. Penetration doesn’t enter into it. Men were not supposed to have sexual relationships with men.
    In Greece, a man being in a sexual relationship with a much younger man was expected. Penetration was also expected and not frowned on at all in these relationships, with the older man being the “top”. 

    Rome and Greece were extremely different cultures. People tend to get confused because Rome adopted Greece’s gods — but Rome changed those gods to be more in line with their own cultural mores. Jupiter (Zeus) was no longer a philandering rapist, he was a wise and stern and just father and husband. Juno (Hera) was no longer a jealous wife, she was a wise and kind and loving wife and mother. Rome did something similar with art; they used Grecian techniques, but Roman art tended to be more realistic and down to earth than Greece’s ultra-idealized stuff.

    Rome was a huge, centralized empire; Greece was a bunch of city-states that fought among themselves. Women in Athens were treated as property, lumped with slaves, considered stupid and well-nigh pointless except as incubators (though some writers pushed against this view, and we don’t really know what most people believed). But women in Sparta were treated as near-equals to men. Women in Rome were neither equals to men nor property —  Roman women could own property and be educated, their husbands and male relatives were not supposed to mistreat them, and they were considered valuable participants in the Empire, with rights of their own, though their roles were constricted relative to free male citizens’. 

  • Kirala

    But a man’s mother isn’t that important – relationships that count flow from his relationship with his father, for the most part.

    I’d be interested in seeing how this is meshed with the fact that Jewish religious/cultural inheritance flows matrilineally.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ed-Mix/100000574306150 Ed Mix

    This is a pretty clear prohibition against zombies.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

     “Don’t have sex with anyone who isn’t enthusiastically agreeing to have sex with you of their own free will.”  
    And the absence of that rule is sufficient, as far as I’m concerned, to eliminate the Bible as an authoritative source on sexual ethics.

    Absolutely. 

    Then I thought about it for a minute, and realized this one is a good basis for sexual ethics:  ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  Also do unto others as you would have them do unto you. You wouldn’t have anyone ignore your consent, nor would you want anyone else to prevent you from being with whom you love.

    Basically, I don’t see how people who elevate Leviticus above the New Testament and what Jesus specifically taught can consider themselves Christians.

  • Ursula L

    Then I thought about it for a minute, and realized this one is a good basis for sexual ethics:  ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  Also do unto others as you would have them do unto you. You wouldn’t have anyone ignore your consent, nor would you want anyone else to prevent you from being with whom you love.

    Basically, I don’t see how people who elevate Leviticus above the New Testament and what Jesus specifically taught can consider themselves Christians.

    Misogynists who like the sexual ethics of Leviticus can easily reconcile all the Leviticus-rules with “love your neighbor as yourself.”

    Because, if you embrace a Leviticus-level of misogyny, then “love your neighbor as yourself” is an instruction to men to love other men as themselves.  Which means respecting a man’s control over a particular woman’s sexuality to the same degree that you would have them respect your control over the women you have a right to.  

    A woman is neither person nor neighbor nor like the person being told to love another like themself.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira


    if you embrace a Leviticus-level of misogyny, then “love your neighbor as yourself” is an instruction to men to love other men as themselves.

    So it’s an instruction to engage in mutual masturbation with other men? Hm, that is basically the right wing… maybe if they did it literally, rather than metaphorically, they wouldn’t be so uptight.

    (I know, serious topic, but there’s only so much “love your neighbor” I can see in the context of sexuality without making the obvious jokes.)

  • Ursula L

    I’d be interested in seeing how this is meshed with the fact that Jewish religious/cultural inheritance flows matrilineally. 

    I’m not familiar with the particular reasoning behind that modern Jewish understanding of inheritance.

    But it isn’t inconsistent with seeing women as property whose sexuality is controlled by men.  

    If a Jewish man wants legitimate Jewish heirs, he must have them with a woman who is Jewish.  

    Which means that any children a Jewish man had whose mother was not Jewish, such as a foreign wife, a slave, a foreign woman captured in warfare, etc. could not inherit. Jewishness was preserved by men favoring the children they had with women who were the daughters of Jewish men whose father contracted with him to give the daughter to have the status of “wife.”    

    And a Jewish woman had her sexuality rand reproductive power controlled by Jewish men.  Her sexuality and reproductive power belonged to her father, when she was born.  She was expected to remain a virgin, and he was expected to ensure she remained a virgin, until he decided it was time for that status to change.  At that point, he could arrange a marriage for her to a Jewish man, so that her children would be legitimately Jewish.  Or he could arrange for her to be a concubine, or to sell her into slavery.  At that point, her sexuality and reproductive power became the property of the man she was transferred to.   And her children might be legitimate Jewish heirs to a Jewish man she was married to.  Or they might just be “other,” with the inferior status of being the child of a concubine or slave.  

    It isn’t any different than how, in the US, prior to the civil war, the children of a an enslaved woman were slaves.  Even if the father of those children was a free citizen.  Even if the father of the children was the man who had legal ownership of the mother.  

    If a free white woman had children with an enslaved black man, she was ostracized, and the child would be considered illegitimate.  She could not bear free and legitimate children to anyone but a free man to whom she was legally married.  

    A free white man’s legitimate heirs were the children he had with a woman he married who was the daughter of a free white woman married to a free white man.

    Status as “free” or “slave” was determined by your mother. If you were “free” whatever property, power and cultural status you had was determined by your father, and by the legitimacy of your mother’s relationship with your father.  

    That sort of inheritance law isn’t about empowering women.  It is about allowing men to control and limit the inheritance of property and citizenship rights without having to limit their sexual activity to the woman or women who were culturally appropriate to be mothers of his heirs. 

  • Ursula L

    I know, serious topic, but there’s only so much “love your neighbor” I can see in the context of sexuality without making the obvious jokes.

    That may well be t he only way to stay sane while trying to understand what something means when read with a Leviticus-level of misogyny.  

  • Trixie_Belden

    Thanks for your post – I’ve been curious about that ever since I wandered onto a site for Conservative and Orthodox Jews where they were discussing what sort of foods and drinks out in the world could be considered kosher and several comments were made to the effect of “no Campari allowed, because of the bugs”.  I assumed they were referring to the cochineal insects that may or may not still be used to give Campari its color.  I had a dim memory at the time that Leviticus allowed at least some bugs.  “Hey,” I said to myself, “is that really correct?  If Leviticus allows some types of bugs, like Locusts, couldn’t a bug like the cochineal be acceptable too?”  This sent me to Wikipedia, where I wasted a fruitless half-hour or so trying to figure out whether the order Hemiptera (for the cochineal) would be” in” or “out” re Leviticus and trying to figure out the difference between that order, the order Orthoptera (for the locusts) and all those suborders and such and finally I just gave up. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

     

    Personally I’m not a fan of the “But look at all the other silly
    rules! What kind of silly person would pay attention to such rules?”
    school of argument, but what do I know? I’m just a Jew.

    It’s not so much that the rules themselves are silly, but why exactly is it that the conservative movement in this country focus all of their attention on just one of the dozens of rules listed here? There doesn’t seem to be anything in the actual text of Leviticus that raises the prohibition on homosexuality (regardless of how you parse the sentence) so far above the rest that it must be codified in the secular laws of every nation in the world, while the others can be safely ignored by anyone except for experimental bloggers and profoundly religious people.

    What’s silly isn’t Leviticus; it’s the people who think that they’re some kind of pious angels of light because they manage to adhere to one taboo or restriction while enthusiastically violating 75 others.

  • VCarlson

    I’d seen it explained somewhere that a lot of these rules are simply how to manage property rights. And women were/are simply property.

  • Tricksterson

    What’s “authorized” fire as opposed to unauthorized.

    And no sacrificing children to Moloch?  Does that mean Baal is okay?  Or that adults are?

  • Tricksterson

    i ld gowith the Tears of Laughter but that’s because U follow the Path of Trickster.

  • Tricksterson

    Meant “I”, not “U”

  • Tricksterson

    I definitely wat to chow down on a hoopoe now.
    Notice cousins apparently aren’t forbidden.  Or did I miss one?

  • Lunch Meat

     I wonder if that’s related to all the slippery slope arguments about people marrying children and dogs and toasters–because if a father can consent on behalf of his (adult) daughter, then why shouldn’t a father consent on behalf of his (child) daughter, or an owner consent on behalf of his dog or his toaster? If men are the only ones doing the consenting, then we have to make sure they can only marry women or they’ll all be consenting on behalf of trees or jellyfish, and THE HUMAN RACE WILL DIE OUT.

  • Abigail Nussbaum

    I think you’re confusing issues of legitimacy, inheritance, and the descent of Jewishness.  The concept of legitimacy in Judaism isn’t identical to the Christian one, both because classically Judaism doesn’t place the same emphasis on virginity and sexual purity that Christianity does (Orthodox Judaism has, of course, accumulated these preoccupations, but that’s more an artifact of strict patriarchy that has been justified by religion than a purely religious issue), and because historically Jews have not tended to have land to bequeath to their descendants.  A Jew is illegitimate (mamzer) if they are born to a married woman and their father is not her husband.  The child of a single, widowed, or divorced woman is not illegitimate.  

    Jewish law doesn’t codify inheritance very strongly in any case (most of the Biblical stories take for granted a system of primogeniture, but the laws neither reflect nor counter it), much less in the specific case of a bastard.  Bastardy is important mainly as it regards marriage – a bastard may not marry a legitimately born Jew but only another bastard.

    Where the maternal line comes into it is in the inheritance of Jewishness.  Being Jewish is, for the most part, something you’re born into, and the condition is having a Jewish mother – the father’s religion doesn’t matter.  Growing up, I was taught that this was because you could always be sure who the mother was, but not so much about the father.

  • Tricksterson

    Yeah but the children of that incestuos tryst grew up to becme some tribe  (Moabites I think, but don’t quote me) that were enemies of the Isrealites so basically that whole passage )like the curse of Ham which actually fell not on Ham but his son  Canaan, was just propaganda saying “This is why God wants you to hate, slaughter and enslave these people.”

  • Tricksterson

    Were/are catfish even indiginous to the Middle East?  Aren’t they a New World fish?

  • Tricksterson

    Well, yeah, zombies are the guilt free monster.  One can empathize with the pights of various versions of werewolves and vampires but zombies?  They’re the last acceptable prejudice.  Even us fat people get off easy compared to them.

  • MadGastronomer

    Two men in a sexual relationship was very frowned on in Rome, but it still had a firm active/passive split: A man who penetrated another man was still manly, but a man who was penetrated was not. The man who was (or, more accurately, presumed to be) the “passive” partner came in for most of the scorn there, while the “active” partner was more making poor choices about where he stuck his bits.

  • pharoute

    I’m so old I remember when Reagan got a pass for consulting with astrologers.

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    Penetration was also expected and not frowned on at all in these relationships, with the older man being the “top”.

    Could you cite a source for this because if you’re right then I definitely want to contact the chair of the department at my university and … well, warn her that she’s apparently somehow managed to miss the relevant research and she had better revise that lecture she keeps going around giving and seriously consider redoing all of her research that she’s put into her upcoming work on pederasty in ancient Greece and Rome.

    It wouldn’t be the biggest mistake someone in academia has ever made, but it would be a major fuck up and I’d like to spare her that.

    Also, she could probably stop squicking prudish students by explaining what intercrural sex is (the reason for the explanation as is, she explains it was what was done in such relationships as opposed to penetrative sex.)  Then again, could isn’t would.  If she were trying to avoid squicking there are a lot of kylixes she would never have shown.

    -

    Other than that, I shortened things a lot in my original post because I figured that making this about Rome and Greece would going too far off topic.  I did consider just saying, “Athens” instead of Greece because Sparta definitely was entirely different and most places outside of Athens we know of mostly by non-written artifacts or what Athens thought about them.

    And with Rome it’s worth noting that there seem to be multiple standards at play where they’ll at once look down on the Greeks for having same sex relations and also have same sex relations.  And then there’s parsing of which of the insults thrown at Nero were meant to be most severe, and the fact that the definitely were male slaves used to be the sexual objects of their masters and it wasn’t kept a secret.  And given that the literary evidence spans styles from Horace to Petronius it gets very complicated very fast.

    -

    Rome did something similar with art; they used Grecian techniques, but Roman art tended to be more realistic and down to earth than Greece’s ultra-idealized stuff.

    That depends on when you’re talking about.  Julio-Claudian art was definitely calling back specifically to the idealized forms of classical Athens, and there’s some Republican art that was just as far from realistic as the idealism of the Greeks you’re talking about, but in the opposite direction (embracing wrinkles and flaws to the point they become laughably unreal in their overemphasis).  (And Flavian art, when it started at least, called back to the Republican style.)

    And then there’s the complication that a fair amount of Greek art is known only via Roman copies, and the fact that what kind of art was in use depended not just on when it was made but also where it was made with the eastern part of the Roman empire being more open to styles that called back to political ideologies the western part of the empire did not like.

    Anyway, if we’re trying not to oversimplify, then it’s definitely the case that Greek and Roman art are way more complicated than you make them out to be.

    -

    So, in short, I agree that I oversimplified a lot.

    Also, could you cite a source for your claim that the eromenos was expected to be penetrated and that this was not frowned upon?  I’m completely serious about knowing someone working on that very area that seems not to be aware of that.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Eek, no, I don’t have any citations. This was stuff I learned in my Gender in Ancient Greece class about a decade ago. It’s likely the woman you’re talking about has newer research, or maybe more specific research. 

    I took a class on ancient Rome at the same time I took that Greek class, btw. Tip: never do that. There was another woman in that class who did the same thing, and we both did very poorly on our papers about gender roles in Rome because we got them confused with Greece in the same odd way. It was the only history paper I ever did poorly on — luckily, the professor let me re-write it.

  • P J Evans

     What about pigeons? I’ve seen them called ‘feathered rats’.

  • Lori

     

    Were/are catfish even indiginous to the Middle East?  Aren’t they a New World fish?  

    I think so, but IIRC there are other fish with similar properties that have similar issues with what they eat. (Don’t quote me on that though.)

  • Lori

     

      What about pigeons? I’ve seen them called ‘feathered rats’.  

    Pigeons will eat human food (they seem to love french fries more than I do), but they aren’t naturally flying garbage cans. I think people call them rats with wings because they’re annoying, plentiful and not the cleanest birds more so than because of what they eat.

  • Tad Callin

    Thanks for the link!  (I wondered why my traffic was boosted!)

  • Benly

    Okay, so. The rules vary from one category of animals to the next. There’s nothing that actually says “you’re not allowed to eat carnivores”, but in every case (except for certain fish) the rules are structured so as to forbid all known carnivorous animals of the time. Catfish weren’t known in the Old World, but similar bottom-feeders that lack visible scales were, and “fish that lack visible scales” were off the list.

    When you get to birds, things get a little weird, because instead of giving a solid rule for birds the Torah actually lists a long list of forbidden birds. The problem is that a lot of them are words where we don’t actually know anymore what bird that word is used to refer to in ancient Hebrew.

    Some of them we do. Hawks and vultures are forbidden, for example, which incidentally also means New World hawks and vultures are also off the list – they don’t have to be listed breed-by-breed. We don’t know what bird a “vomiter” or an “angry sniffer” is. There are later translations where we do know what birds they’re talking about in Greek or Latin – but these translations frequently disagree, with translators inserting locally-known birds hat seemed to make sense.

    So given all that, what do you do? Because birds are such a weird and special case, a common rule is “a bird is kosher if an unbroken tradition of how it is to be prepared as kosher meat can be confirmed to exist”. How long you have to go for it to be unbroken and traditional is a matter for rabbis to argue over. Everyone agrees that chicken, ducks and geese are kosher if properly raised and prepared. Not everyone agrees about swan, but nobody really eats swan these days so there aren’t huge arguments over it. Turkey was controversial for a while very early on, but at this point everyone pretty much agrees that turkey (a) was not on the forbidden list and (b) does not share the qualities generally considered to make food unclean, like carrion-eating and so on.

    Something I didn’t know before but a quick poke around has confirmed is that pigeons are actually a special case among this category of special cases! On the list of offerings for various occasions at the Temple, one of them is “doves or pigeons”. Since the meat remnants of offerings were to be eaten, pigeons are among the few birds that are incontrovertibly established as kosher. However, wild pigeons would be unlikely to meet the standards of health and cleanliness standards required – this would be domesticated pigeons raised for food, for the most part (usually called squabs).

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     Not all Jews agree about ducks, actually; the tradition my parents were brought up in considers ducks unkosher.

  • JenL

    Were/are catfish even indiginous to the Middle East?  Aren’t they a New World fish?

    Even if what you picture as a catfish wasn’t in the Middle East, there’d be some analog.  Bottom-feeders/garbage-eaters fill a need…

  • erikagillian

     Does for me.  Though I tend to use the Love lens.  Anyway, staying away from your sister-in-law is about not treating your brother like dirt or if you want it as a societal thing is going to mess the family up and that’s not good.  Bestiality goes with consent for me but you could put it in the don’t mistreat your livestock, you need to keep them healthy column.  #33 has all kinds of ways it can be interpreted.  (I managed to spell ‘interpreted’ so badly the spell checker’s first suggestion was interpenetrated).  I wonder about the translation too, as ‘lie with’ and ‘like a woman’ can be very vague once you start looking at them closely.

  • http://twitter.com/Didaktylos Paul Hantusch

    Marrying the wife’s sister while the wife still lives: well, the punishment for bigamy (so they say) is TWO mothers-in-law; so a man who marries a pair of sisters is clearly trying to get around that one …

    On a more serious note, I would imagine that “touching the carcass” would mean “using an unclean animal as industrial material” and thus removing rotting carrion so as to end a health hazard would be permitted.

  • Tricksterson

    Btw, aren’t there a whol;e bunch of rules and regs in Deuteronomy and some in Numbers?  How cum Leviticus gets all the attention?  Their feelings are hurt.


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