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I commend Harris for doing what is quite difficult to do, making Leviticus accessible and applicable to a modern world. Harris’ approach is to see beyond the mere words on the page — or the rituals, or the laws — in order to observe something deeper, more profound, and illuminating of the human experience. It is this lens that allows the reader to think differently about ancient texts as a whole, and guides the student to a more holistic approach to this literature.

At times it can seem as if his liberal perspective clouds the exegesis of a passage. Admittedly,Leviticus is more rhetorical commentary than scholastic exegesis. In other words, the reader simply must know that this book is focusing more on the big global issues that are implied, inferred, or referenced in Leviticus more than a thorough exposition of the book or even the mentioned chapters. Case in point, he makes note that the passages that deal with homosexuality are extremely minimal in the Torah, yet they get so much attention in our public discourse. The same is true in this very short tome, that much attention is given to his counter-interpretation which includes a smattering of gay (queer) theology through the Levitical passages. I opine that this is for two main reasons. One, there is much in our public discourse that needs to be addressed, and it makes perfect sense to launch into this issue boldly and directly making both his point and his position clear. Second, it illustrates Harris’ very thesis, that Leviticus needs, no, demandsbetter attention as wrongful readings have dire consequences for real people in this world. Regardless of your aggreement or displeasure with his views, I commend his contribution to anyone wrestling (ideologically, that is) with either the current topic of homosexuality, or with Leviticus itself.

See the full review here.

 
 
Amos Lassen writes: "I have heard the book of Leviticus in the Hebrew Bible referred to as both irrelevant and confusing by many people. It does confuse and it really does not add much to the narrative of the children of Israel. It is certainly not what I would call an interesting read. However, I wonder if the reason that it is so disliked and alienating is that it is so completely misunderstood and almost every word must be weighed to get its full meaning.

Rabbi Maurice Harris, a Reconstructionist rabbi takes another look at the book and it springs to life under his guidance. He looks at the laws, the rituals and the stories contained in Leviticus to see what we can learn from it and attempts to find a higher meaning than the one we have dealt with for so. He evaluates the book with serious thought but he does take it word for word. Rather he writes a commentary that makes us want to take yet another look at the writing.

Full review here.

 
 
Prof. William Propp of UCSD published this fantastic & hilarious "speech" delivered by an ancient Israelite as a TED talk on Leviticus. It's detail oriented, funny as hell, and also thoroughly educational for people interested in understanding Leviticus better. Biblical studies geeks will love it.

Visit: http://www.bibleinterp.com/PDFs/Propp4.pdf

The web site that is hosting Propp's piece also looks like a really valuable biblical studies resource. -Maurice
 
 
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Rev. Brant Clements offers this review of the book on his blog, Both Saint and Cynic. See the review here.

Also, the UK based Anglican website, www.changingattitude.org.uk, has featured the book in its bookstore.

Word is there will also be a review in the next issue of Oregon Jewish Life.

 
 
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Melissa Harris-Perry (no relation) wrote this piece in The Nation  in 2010 that opens a conversation I'm deeply interested in: the importance of progressive approaches to the study of sacred texts and religion. Both of my books - on Moses and Leviticus - are attempts to create examples of this kind of Bible study that are readable and scholarly. 

Harris-Perry is a professor of political science at Tulane University in New Orleans. There, she became the founding director of the Project on Gender, Race, and Politics in the South. She is author of Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America. 

My own discovery and practice of progressive methods of sacred text study took place at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia. I'm interested in hearing from readers about online communities dedicated to liberal / progressive approaches to sacred text study (in any religion).

 
 
Check it out here!
 
 
In the course of sharing news about the Leviticus book, I'm getting to meet other religious progressives in the interfaith community, and it's illuminating and fun! Just discovered Eric Reitan's blog, which takes a progressive Christian look at things. You can check it out here if this is your cup of tea.
 
 
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Because of my book's focus on LGBT equality in religion, I've been trying to learn more and more about organizations in various faith communities that support LGBT-positive religion. That's when I found a web site for Christians interested in identifying churches that are inclusive and welcoming. You can look up congregations by state or Canadian province. Check it out here. I've been using this resource to send emails out to clergy around North America

 
 
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Happy to announce that the publisher, Cascade Books (a division of Wipf & Stock) has published the Leviticus book! If you want to buy a copy, I hope you'll do it through my website, but you're welcome to do so through theirs too of course. (Buying direct from me = a signed copy, however!) Here it is on the Wipf & Stock website.

It'll be up on amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online vendors soon.

 
 
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Just was exploring a blog I found called "Transient and Permanent"

The author has a blog entry on this book that came out in 2012 -- as a practitioner of liberal religion, I'm interested to see what it has to say!

More on the book here.