Sexual Pollution in the Hebrew Bible by Eve Levavi Feinstein

Sexual Pollution in the Hebrew Bible

byEve Levavi Feinstein

Hardcover | October 8, 2014

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The concepts of purity and pollution are fundamental to the worldview reflected in the Hebrew Bible yet the ways that biblical texts apply these concepts to sexual relationships remain largely overlooked. Sexual Pollution in the Hebrew Bible argues that the concept of pollution is rooted in disgust and that pollution language applied to sexual relations expresses a sense of bodily contamination resulting from revulsion.Most texts in the Hebrew Bible that use pollution language in sexual contexts reflect a conception of women as sexual property susceptible to being "ruined" for particular men through contamination by others. In contrast, the Holiness legislation of the Pentateuch applies pollution language to menwho engage in transgressive sexual relations, conveying the idea that male bodily purity is a prerequisite for individual and communal holiness. Sexual transgressions contaminate the male body and ultimately result in exile when the land vomits out its inhabitants.The Holiness legislation's conception of sexual pollution, which is found in Leviticus 18, had 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 led to the Babylonian exile. In the book of Ezra, itfigures in a view of the Israelite community as a body of males contaminated by foreign women. Yet the idea of female pollution rooted in a view of women as sexual property persisted alongside the idea of male pollution as an impediment to holiness.Eva Feinstein illuminates why the idea of pollution adheres to particular domains of experience, including sex, death, and certain types of infirmity. Sexual Pollution in the Hebrew Bible allows for a more thorough understanding of sexual pollution, its particular characteristics, and the role thatit plays in biblical literature.

About The Author

Eve Levavi Feinstein 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 (TandT Clark).

Details & Specs

Title:Sexual Pollution in the Hebrew BibleFormat:HardcoverDimensions:308 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:October 8, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199395543

ISBN - 13:9780199395545

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Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations1. Introduction2. Purity and Pollution Ideas in the Hebrew Bible3. Sexual Pollution of Women4. Leviticus 18 and Sexual Pollution of Men5. The Legacy of Leviticus 18 in the Hebrew Bible6. ConclusionAppendices