Chapter

Ritual and Moral Impurity in the Hebrew Bible

Jonathan Klawans

in Impurity and Sin in Ancient Judaism

Published in print November 2000 | ISBN: 9780195132908
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199848850 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195132908.003.0002
Ritual and Moral Impurity in the Hebrew Bible

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This chapter reevaluates the dynamic between sin and impurity in the Hebrew Bible. It specifically schematizes the two main conceptions of impurity in the Hebrew Bible. Some correctives and challenges to the biblical scholarship are provided. The distinction between ritual and moral impurity in the Hebrew Bible is also considered. Ritual impurity is a contagious but generally impermanent sort of defilement, while moral impurity results from what are believed to be immoral acts. Moreover, the dietary laws between ritual and moral impurity are shown. The issue of gender is also taken up in order to shed some light on the ways in which these two systems relate to women, men, and sexuality in general.

Keywords: ritual impurity; moral impurity; Hebrew Bible; sin; gender

Chapter.  12169 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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