Sexual Pollution in the Hebrew Bible

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9780199395545: Sexual Pollution in the Hebrew Bible
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The concepts of purity and pollution are fundamental to the worldview reflected in the Hebrew Bible, yet the ways biblical texts apply these concepts to sexual relationships remain largely overlooked.

Sexual Pollution in the Hebrew Bible argues that, when applied to sexual relations, pollution language usually reflects a conception of women as sexual property susceptible to being "ruined" for particular men through contamination by others. In contrast, however, the Holiness legislation of the Pentateuch applies such language to men who engage in transgressive sexual relations, conveying the idea that male bodily purity is a prerequisite for individual and communal holiness.

This understanding of sexual pollution, found in Leviticus 18, has a profound impact on later texts. In the book of Ezekiel, it contributes to a broader conception of pollution resulting from Israel's sins, which bring about the Babylonian exile. In the book of Ezra, it figures in a view of the Israelite community as a body of males contaminated by foreign women. Drawing on psychological and cross-cultural studies as well as philological and historical-critical analysis of biblical texts, Eve Feinstein's study illuminates the reasons why the idea of pollution adheres to particular domains of experience, including sex, death, and certain types of infirmity.

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About the Author:


Eve Levavi Feinstein is a writer, editor, and educator in Palo Alto, CA. She received her Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible from the department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University. Her articles have appeared in Vetus Testamentum and Bodies, Embodiment, and Theology of the Hebrew Bible.

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"Nuanced, comprehensively researched, wide-ranging and clearly written, this book clarifies and synthesizes many interrelated issues concerning sex, gender, and ritual impurity--what the author calls ritual pollution. Employing a cross-cultural psychological approach while well-grounded in the study of the ancient Near East, this study is important not only for biblical scholars, but for anyone interested in feminism, masculinity, gender, and the broad culture of the biblical world."
--Marc Zvi Brettler, author of How to Read the Jewish Bible


"This is a book well worth reading.... Feinstein draws on a broad competence not only in Hebrew Bible but in ritual, history of religions, anthropology, psychology, and cognitive studies of emotion....Sexual Pollution in the Hebrew Bible is a substantial contribution to the field and an important voice in an ongoing conversation about how to understand concepts of impurity/pollution in the ancient world, including the Hebrew Bible and early Judaism."--Review of Biblical Literature


"Within the context of a general discussion of purity and pollution categories in the Hebrew Bible, Feinstein focuses on types of sexual pollution. Her rigorous and full analysis provides considerable clarity about the many obscurities in the system and in the texts she analyzes in detail. A major contribution."
--Michael D. Coogan, Editor, The New Oxford Annotated Bible


"Eve Feinstein rightly claims that the concepts of impurity and pollution, while central to biblical thought, have received inadequate treatment in critical biblical scholarship. Her work represents a noteworthy advance, clarifying and refining the understanding of the topic with special attention to the problematic relationship between purity/impurity and sexuality. In her meticulous examination of relevant texts, she rejects simplistic moralizing and psychologizing solutions in favor of a sophisticated analysis that is attuned to the Bible's gender politics and respectful of both chronological development and the ideological diversity of the sources."
--Alan Cooper, Elaine Ravich Professor of Jewish Studies and Provost, Jewish Theological Seminary


"This book is notable for its accurate and judicious summaries of mainstream scholar-
ship."-- James Watts, Catholic Biblical Assocation


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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2014. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. The concepts of purity and pollution are fundamental to the worldview reflected in the Hebrew Bible, yet the ways biblical texts apply these concepts to sexual relationships remain largely overlooked. Sexual Pollution in the Hebrew Bible argues that, when applied to sexual relations, pollution language usually reflects a conception of women as sexual property susceptible to being ruined for particular men through contamination by others. In contrast, however, the Holiness legislation of the Pentateuch applies such language to men who engage in transgressive sexual relations, conveying the idea that male bodily purity is a prerequisite for individual and communal holiness. This understanding of sexual pollution, found in Leviticus 18, has a profound impact on later texts. In the book of Ezekiel, it contributes to a broader conception of pollution resulting from Israel s sins, which bring about the Babylonian exile. In the book of Ezra, it figures in a view of the Israelite community as a body of males contaminated by foreign women. Drawing on psychological and cross-cultural studies as well as philological and historical-critical analysis of biblical texts, Eve Feinsteins study illuminates the reasons why the idea of pollution adheres to particular domains of experience, including sex, death, and certain types of infirmity. Seller Inventory # BTE9780199395545

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Book Description Condition: New. Oxford University Press, 2014. 312p. Hardback. Nuanced, comprehensively researched, wide-ranging and clearly written, this book clarifies and synthesizes many interrelated issues concerning sex, gender, and ritual impuritywhat the author calls ritual pollution. Employing a cross-cultural psychological approach while well-grounded in the study of the ancient Near East, this study is important not only for biblical scholars, but for anyone interested in feminism, masculinity, gender, and the broad culture of the biblical world. Marc Zvi Brettler, author of How to Read the Jewis Bible (Publisher's information). Condition: New. Seller Inventory # 42957

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Book Description PAPERBACKSHOP UK IMPORT Sep 2014, 2014. Buch. Condition: Neu. Neuware - Sexual Pollution in the Hebrew Bible examines the Hebrew Bible's use of pollution language to characterize sexual relationships. Eva Feinstein argues that descriptions of female pollution reflect a view of women as sexual property, while descriptions of male pollution relate to Israel's holiness. 293 pp. Englisch. Seller Inventory # 9780199395545

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