In Lev 19:2, God says, “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.” Using speech act theory and an account of holiness recently proffered by Alan Mittleman, I argue that one’s antecedent commitments to a particular conception of holiness have dramatic implications for one’s categorization of the kind of speech act one takes God to perform with this utterance. If, on the one hand, one takes holiness to refer to an ethical category, then one will see the utterance in question as a command—God enjoining the people toward some ethical end. On the other hand, if one takes a metaphysical understanding of holiness, one will read the utterance as the exact opposite of a command. Instead of placing obligations on the people, in this utterance God places obligations on Godself. I conclude by following Mittleman’s synthesis of the ethical and metaphysical conceptions of holiness that thereby undergirds a synthesis of the twin speech acts performed by God in this utterance.

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