This paper explores Lev 24:10–23 from the perspective of the outsider. By looking at the story of the so-called blasphemer, I bring up the issues of community boundaries that affect the way he is portrayed. How the narrative describes this person introduces tensions between him and the community. First, I explore the exegetical problems that surround the fight between this man and an Israelite, showing that there is more here than just a wayward or malicious person cursing the deity of the community. Second, I look at the divine speech because one possible interpretation is that the deity, Yhwh, allows for the possibility of the community worshiping other gods. This issue complicates the mainstream interpretation that depicts the mestizo as a “blasphemer.” Since Yhwh accepts worship of other gods, the boundaries between insiders and outsiders are not well defined; in this context, issues of justice are part of the story and the man’s gruesome fate.

After considering the biblical text, I will explore a recent case where an outsider pays for the consequences of misspeaking and ends up deported to his homeland. I establish an initial dialogue between the biblical story and that of a Bangladeshi native to see how these stories complement each other. The connection critiques the traditional readings of the Leviticus narrative that do not pay attention to the portrayal of the mestizo in it.


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pp. 89-102
Launched on MUSE
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