Article

Life Cycle Rituals

Harvey E. Goldberg

in Jewish Studies

ISBN: 9780199840731
Published online August 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199840731-0043
Life Cycle Rituals

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Life cycle events have been part of Jewish life since Antiquity, but scholarly focus on them emerged only in the 19th century. This stemmed from the development of modern Jewish studies along with the new fields of anthropology and folklore. These disciplines only slowly gained legitimacy among Judaic scholars over the course of the 20th century, while detailed attention to life cycle rituals at times appeared in other research disciplines: rabbinic law (halakha), often complemented by the attempt to elucidate accepted customs (minhag); social and more recently cultural history; and Kabbalah (mysticism). A milestone in the study of life cycle events in general was Arnold van Gennep’s 1909 formulation of the notion of rites de passage (rites of passage). Only in the late 20th and early 21st centuries have some Judaic scholars sought to engage theoretical concerns in the analysis of ritual, including those linked to life cycle developments.

Article.  9377 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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