Moral Impurity in the Second Temple Period

Jonathan Klawans

in Impurity and Sin in Ancient Judaism

Published in print November 2000 | ISBN: 9780195132908
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199848850 | DOI:
Moral Impurity in the Second Temple Period

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This chapter shows that the biblical idea of moral defilement persists into the second temple period. It studies selected passages from the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, the book of Jubilees, the Tempe Scroll, the Damascus Document, and other sundry texts. The analyzed passages have been understood to be concerned with ritual impurity. However, it is argued that they are best understood as articulations of the concept of moral impurity. It has been indicated that the idea of moral defilement was very much alive in the second temple period. Moreover, it examines a few Jewish texts from 1 Enoch, the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, and the Psalms of Solomon. These texts should suffice to make the point that sexual sins were perceived to defile the sanctuary, morally.

Keywords: moral impurity; second temple period; Ezra and Nehemiah; book of Jubilees; Tempe Scroll; Damascus Document; sexual sin

Chapter.  10362 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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