Essay #3 Final - Mou 1 Emily Mou L&S R44: 108 December...

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Mou 1 Emily Mou December 3, 2007 The Second Greatest Commandment When one of the teachers of the law asked Jesus: “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” (Mark 12:28), Jesus answered: “The most important one…is this…Love the Lord your God with all your heart…The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:29-31). Indeed, the latter of these two commandments, though seemingly absurdly simple, is actually a rather multi-layered commandment with substantial weight and significance. The commandment to “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18) has been integrated and stressed since the beginning of the Old Testament and throughout the entirety of the Bible. However, what distinguishes and defines the New Testament as being radical and significant is the transformation of this theme into the new doctrine: “Love your enemies” (Luke 6:27), including those outside the Hebrew race. This simple commandment is extremely noteworthy in defining and separating the Old Testament from the New Testament. While the Old Testament simply commands one to “Love your neighbor”, the New Testament takes this command and transforms it by modifying the parameters and boundaries under which the commandment is applied, as well as instituting and modeling new ways to practice the act of loving. In the Old Testament, the definition of “neighbor” includes only those of the Hebrew race; therefore, the doctrine of loving your neighbor applies only to those in one’s own family. The Old Testament does not explicitly call for one to love their enemies; however, it must be recognized that there are several examples of characters that have chosen to love those who hurt
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Mou 2 them, despite the absence of a law commanding them to do so. In the very beginning of the Old Testament, even though “quarreling arose between Abram’s herdsmen and the herdsmen of Lot” (Genesis 13:7), Abram agreed to peacefully divide the land between the two of them, and did not even hold a grudge when Lot chose to keep the best and richest land for himself. In fact, immediately after, Abram even arrived to Lot’s rescue when he was carried off by foreign invaders (Genesis 14). In the same way, Esau’s character demonstrated love for one that had slighted him when “he ran to meet Jacob and embraced him he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him” (Genesis 33:4), even though Jacob had cheated him of his birthright twenty years ago. These two men, Abram and Esau loved their neighbors by forgiving them for their past transgressions, even when their material possessions had been taken away from them. In the case of Joseph, his brothers, who sold them into slavery, did not cheat him out of great material possession, but rather, took his freedom away from him. Yet when Joseph came into great power in Egypt and had the perfect opportunity to easily destroy and take his revenge, Joseph still loved
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This note was uploaded on 04/06/2008 for the course R 44 taught by Professor Oliensis during the Fall '07 term at University of California, Berkeley.

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Essay #3 Final - Mou 1 Emily Mou L&S R44: 108 December...

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