John Hartung asserted in “Love Thy Neighbor: The Evolution of In-Group Morality” that the command to love, and the later use of it by Jesus, does not apply to everyone but only to those within one’s own group. Through a close reading of Leviticus and the Gospel of Matthew, this essay questions Hartung’s hermeneutic and assesses his conclusion as erroneous. By interrogating the world of the text using a literary method, this essay argues for an appreciation of the complexity of the language and the importance of literary context.

Love Thy Neighbor: The Expansive Command

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