Let's start with a background of Leviticus and the Torah: sorta of a historical, local, and cultural contextual analysis.
- Covenant with Abraham: There were 3 parts (Genesis 15:5, 18; 17:11)
* Progeny, promised land, circumcision as symbol
- Genealogy: Abraham - Isaac - Jacob (Israel)
- Captivity, liberation and exodus - 10 weeks to Mount Sinai, where they commit idolatry
- The Israelites were made to wander for 40 years post-exodus
* desert culture, importance of reproduction
* Carthaginian culture (Phoenicia and Canaan)
- Amorites, Hittites, Jebusites, Girgashites, Perizzites, Amalckites
* Distinguish: Moabites and Ammonites
- Composition of Leviticus
* Priestly Code: 1-16, 27 (ritual/ceremonial purity)
- 1-7, sacrificial regulations
- 8-10, consecration, practical application
- 11-16, purity laws
- 27, commutation of vows
* Holiness Code (Leviticus 19:2): 17-26 (miscellany of laws)
- idolatry, sexual conduct, celebration rites
- information about familiars, strangers, promises, penalties
Now, I know these are just some very basic notes about the background, but really, there is so much information out there about the Torah and the background of the Google culture that I don't really need to go too much into depth about, only because it's all only a search away. Basically though, the Israelites has been slaves in Egypt; they had wandered in the desert for a long long time. They needed cohesiveness, cleanliness, and order in every aspect of their lives. they needed a establish a social contract that would give them their own identity; they needed a code for living. In response, they developed a Holiness Code to define their religious, civic, and cultural identity.
The Holiness Code's purpose was to help this community achieve the "holy purity" that they were seeking. So how would they try to achieve this holy purity?
- Israel's worship practices had to be different from their neighbors.
- There could not be an mixing of any kind with other groups, because they were to maintain and preserve the purity of their community.
- Male gender superiority had to be maintained
But what about this word "abomination" that appears in the text? The Hebrew word toevah, that is being used for "abomination," actually refers to something that is ritually impure, such as pork or having sex with a woman while she is menstruating. So, "abomination" is synonymous with unclean.
There are other ways of addressing these texts. One could even bring up the issue and contrasts of the old and new covenants. But this is a could jumping board for addressing Leviticus. There are many great resources out there if you want to read more on Leviticus. I personally recommend, "Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality" by Jack Rogers, which has received excellent reviews for his scholarship. I welcome conversation on this text. I know I gave a very basic opinion and that was intentional, only because there are other resources out there for those that are more interested in this part of the Bible.