Holy Seed or Holy Deed

Naomi Koltun-Fromm

in Hermeneutics of Holiness

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780199736485
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199866427 | DOI:
Holy Seed or Holy Deed

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This chapter focuses on those Second Temple authors who continue to develop notions of community holiness that are tied to sexual behavior. These trajectories continue along the lines of ascribed, achieved, and supererogatory holiness (or in this case purity) discussed in the first chapter. Those who assume Israel’s ascribed, God-given holiness (Ezra, Jubilees, Tobit, 4QMMT), focus on endogamy as the only means to protect their community holiness, which would be profaned through intermarriage. Some of the sectarian authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls focus their attention on holiness achieved (Community Rule, Damascus Document, Messianic Rule)—that is, how they redefine the boundaries of Holy Israel—through their idiosyncratic biblical interpretive traditions. Other Dead Sea Scrolls (War Scroll, Temple Scroll) assume neither an ascribed nor an achieved holiness for Israel, but rather focus on those activities that protect God’s holy presence in their midst.

Keywords: holiness; purity; sexual behavior; endogamy; Ezra; Jubilees; Dead Sea Scrolls

Chapter.  9215 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies ; Religious Studies

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