The Book of Leviticus

An Important Book in Jewish-Christian Dialogue

in European Judaism

We can characterize the different degrees of importance given to the Book of Leviticus in Judaism and Christianity with the words of G.J. Wenham: ‘Leviticus used to be the first book that Jewish children studied in the synagogue. In the modern Church it tends to be the last part of the Bible anyone looks at seriously.’2 In the Encyclopaedia Judaica,3 J. Milgrom also highlights the great significance of the Book of Leviticus as the first object of instruction in school, which Midrash LevR VII.3 explains as follows: ‘Rabbi Assi: Why do the small children begin (to learn) with Leviticus (Torah Kohanim) and not with Genesis? Because the small children are pure and the sacrifices are pure; so the pure come and occupy themselves with the pure.’

European Judaism

A Journal for the New Europe

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