Oda Wischmeyer

Leviticus 19,18 The Text and Some Stations in the History of its Reception

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Informations and abstract

Keywords: Love of one’s neighbour, Paul, Nächstenliebe

Lv 19,18 is part of the cultic-social-ethical commandments of Israel’s Torah. The history of the reception of Lv 19,18, in the strict sense of quotation, began with Paul. He was the first to cite the commandment of love explicitly and to discuss its range and place in the Torah. He gave the commandment the comprehensive, unique ethical and legal status it had never previously enjoyed. Martin Luther intensified the existential-emotional aspect of love through his famous translation of ʼahab as Nächstenliebe. Currently, the encyclical Deus caritas est (2005) and statements by the German Protestant bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm aim to safeguard the ethical value and dynamics of Lv 19,18 in conditions that are completely different from the historical, social and religious context of the original instruction.

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