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From "love your neighbor" to "love your enemy"

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on the tradition of the Sermon on the Mount/Sermon on the Plain, more specifically, on the exegetical attempts to widen the scope of Leviticus 19: 18 to include also enemies. It reviews a variety of Jewish exegetical trends from the Second Temple period, which concern themselves with Leviticus 19: 18. Some of the material previously discussed in the research is re-evaluated, and instances of additional, previously overlooked, evidence are addressed. Special attention is be paid to exegetical attempts to define the scope of applicability of the love your neighbor precept, in particular attempts to widen the scope of Leviticus 19: 18 to cover enemies also; characteristic features of the exegetical trends of this last kind are outlined. The results of the analysis provide a basis for the discussion of the love your enemy precept in the Sermon on the Mount.

Keywords: Jewish exegetical trends; Leviticus; love your enemy; love your neighbor; Second Temple period; Sermon on the Mount



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