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Jesus and Purity Halakhah Was Jesus Indifferent to Impurity?

Published by Eisenbrauns
ISBN 10: 1575068095 / ISBN 13: 9781575068091
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Title: Jesus and Purity Halakhah Was Jesus ...

Publisher: Eisenbrauns

Binding: Softcover/Paperback

Book Condition: New


What did Jesus think about Jewish practice regarding impurity? How did he relate to the inner-Jewish debates of his day concerning ritual purity and impurity? Did he discard the impurity concept altogether, or was it an obvious and natural part of his Jewish faith and life? Did he advocate another or different type of purity?Ritual or cultic purity was paramount in Jewish society and life during the Second Temple period, and differences in purity halakhah were one of the factors that distinguished various movements. Therefore, considering purity is crucial in any attempt to interpret the historical Jesus within his contemporary context. In the latest or ?third? phase of historical Jesus study, researchers have given prominence to Jesus' social and cultural context. In keeping with this goal, Thomas Kazen discusses the historical Jesus alongside what we know of Jewish purity halakhah of his time and explains Jesus' attitude toward impurity. Kazen balances the work of New Testament scholars on Judaism and legal matters by incorporating the historical Jesus studies of Jewish scholars, seeking to engage students of the historical Jesus with the primary materials relating to legal matters. Bookseller Inventory # KAZJESUSA

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Synopsis: At the end of the Second Temple period, ritual purity came to play an increasing role in Jewish society. Purity laws were interpreted and expanded, and sources of impurity were generally avoided by many. Signs of that development are discussed in this study and put forward as arguments for an expansionist trend, gaining in influence and support from the common people. Jesus' attitude to impurity is traced against this historical background. The (in)famous history of historical Jesus-research necessitates a conscious choice of method. The traditional focus on sayings material and criteria of authenticity is modified; narrative traditions with implicit purity issues are appealed to, and extra-canonical traditions are included. The main areas examined are the most important "fathers" of impurity: "leprosy" (skin diseases), genital discharges and corpse-contamination. Jesus is found to have acted in ways easily understood as indifference to these types of impurity.

His behavior is shown on several points to clash with current purity halakhah and dominant expansionist ideals. In an attempt to interpret his actions within the Jewish context and culture of the Second Temple period, three explanatory models are provided. Jesus' attitude is seen as part of a moral trajectory in Judaism. It is understood as a response to a regional, Galilean dilemma. It is viewed in a power perspective as an expression of Jesus' eschatological struggle against demonic evil. The result is that Jesus may be understood as operating within the purity paradigm of his time, yet pushing it to the breaking point, at least in the eyes of some. Such a reconstruction makes subsequent developments intelligible, in which various Christian currents drew conflicting conclusions. The function and effect of purity laws change with time, however. While they are irrelevant to most modern people, those looking to Jesus' behavior for some sort of guidance may find contemporary analogies.

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