Chapter

Sanctify Yourself

Naomi Koltun-Fromm

in Hermeneutics of Holiness

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780199736485
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199866427 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199736485.003.0007
Sanctify Yourself

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Following on the research presented in the last chapter, this chapter continues to pursue the question of Rabbinic asceticism, particularly sexual asceticism. This chapter concludes that the rabbis were not uniformly anti-asceticism as early scholars have claimed, but had many reasons to wish to incorporate ascetic practice, if not total sexual renunciation, into their lives. In line with the rest of this book, this chapter traces the same notions of achieved and ascribed holiness within the rabbinic literature that began in the biblical texts. Supererogatory behavior, based, in part, on Moses’ behavior at Sinai, but also on a notion of over-obedience to the law, allows some rabbis to construct a notion of holy achievement, on an individual basis, for the strong of heart and faith. Thus, without ever doing away with a notion of a Holy Israel by ascription, they create a hierarchy of holiness within the ascribed community.

Keywords: Rabbis; asceticism; holiness

Chapter.  12319 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies ; Religious Studies

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