The Purity of the Second Temple in Rabbinic Literature

Jonathan Klawans

in Purity, Sacrifice, and the Temple

Published in print November 2005 | ISBN: 9780195162639
Published online January 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780199785254 | DOI:
                      The Purity of the Second Temple in Rabbinic Literature

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This chapter examines an array of rabbinic sources concerning the temple, including Mishnah, Midrash, and Talmud, drawing a number of contrasts with Qumran literature in particular. The Rabbis seem to agree with the sectarians that the temple was flawed, recalling instances of priestly greed, theft, and even murder. But the rabbis downplay the moral defilement of the temple and deny to the end that the temple was ritually defiled to any significant degree before its destruction by Romans in 70 CE. Unlike the sectarians, the rabbis took a stance toward the temple and its purity that was less idealistic, but more practical and permissive.

Keywords: Rabbinic literature; Qumran; Dead Sea Scrolls; ritual purity; moral purity; Mishnah; Midrash; Talmud; priests; greed

Chapter.  19550 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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