Sometimes seen as inaccessible, Leviticus nevertheless contains important material about holiness.

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Democratization of the Esoteric

Some scholars believe that Leviticus was originally a set of instructions for kohanim, priests officiating at the altar and presiding over rituals of purification, detailing how they were to perform their duties properly. This professional guide became one of the five books of the Torah as part of the process of democratizing the Israelite faith, making all Israel "a kingdom of priests and a holy nation" (Exodus 19:6). There would be no secret lore accessible only to the clergy.

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Baruch A. Levine

Baruch A. Levine is Skirball Professor Emeritus of Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Studies, Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University.? He is the author of many books on biblical topics, including The Anchor Bible Commentary: Numbers 1-20.