Purity, Community, and Ritual in Early Christian Literature

Oxford University Press
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Purity, Community, and Ritual in Early Christian Literature investigates the meaning of purity, purification, defilement, and disgust for Christian writers, readers, and listeners from the first to third centuries. Anthropological and sociological works over the past decades have demonstrated how purity and defilement rituals, practices, and discourses harness the power of a raw emotion in order to shape and manipulate cultural structures. Moshe Blidstein builds on such theories to explain how early Christian writers drew on ancient Jewish and Greco-Roman traditions on purity and defilement, using them to create new types of community, form Christian identity, and articulate the relationship between body, sin, and ritual. Blidstein discusses early Christian purity issues under several headings: dietary law, death defilement, purity of the heart, defilement of outsiders, and purity of the community. Analysis of the motivations shaping the development of each area of discourse reveals two major considerations: polemical and substantive. Thus, Christian writing on dietary law and death defilement is essentially polemical, constructing Christian identity by marking the purity practices and beliefs of others as false. Concerning the subjects of baptism, eucharist, and penance, however, the discourse turns inwards and becomes more substantive, seeking to create and maintain theories of ritual and human nature coherent with the theological principles of the new religion.
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About the author

Moshe Blidstein is Postdoctoral fellow at the Martin Buber Society of Fellows at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Oxford University Press
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Published on
Apr 15, 2017
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Pages
368
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ISBN
9780192509765
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Religion / Christian Church / History
Religion / Christian Theology / General
Religion / Christianity / History
Religion / Comparative Religion
Religion / Demonology & Satanism
Religion / Judaism / Theology
Religion / Spirituality
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The Oxford Handbook of the Abrahamic Religions includes authoritative yet accessible studies on a wide variety of topics dealing comparatively with Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, as well as with the interactions between the adherents of these religions throughout history. The comparative study of the Abrahamic Religions has been undertaken for many centuries. More often than not, these studies reflected a polemical rather than an ecumenical approach to the topic. Since the nineteenth century, the comparative study of the Abrahamic Religions has not been pursued either intensively or systematically, and it is only recently that the comparative study of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam has received more serious attention. This volume contributes to the emergence and development of the comparative study of the Abrahamic religions, a discipline which is now in its formative stages. This Handbook includes both critical and supportive perspectives on the very concept of the Abrahamic religions and discussions on the role of the figure of Abraham in these religions. It features 32 essays, by the foremost scholars in the field, on the historical interactions between Abrahamic communities; on Holy Scriptures and their interpretation; on conceptions of religious history; on various topics and strands of religious thought, such as monotheism and mysticism; on rituals of prayer, purity, and sainthood, on love in the three religions and on fundamentalism. The volume concludes with three epilogues written by three influential figures in the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim communities, to provide a broader perspective on the comparative study of the Abrahamic religions. This ground-breaking work introduces readers to the challenges and rewards of studying these three religions together.
The Oxford Handbook of the Abrahamic Religions includes authoritative yet accessible studies on a wide variety of topics dealing comparatively with Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, as well as with the interactions between the adherents of these religions throughout history. The comparative study of the Abrahamic Religions has been undertaken for many centuries. More often than not, these studies reflected a polemical rather than an ecumenical approach to the topic. Since the nineteenth century, the comparative study of the Abrahamic Religions has not been pursued either intensively or systematically, and it is only recently that the comparative study of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam has received more serious attention. This volume contributes to the emergence and development of the comparative study of the Abrahamic religions, a discipline which is now in its formative stages. This Handbook includes both critical and supportive perspectives on the very concept of the Abrahamic religions and discussions on the role of the figure of Abraham in these religions. It features 32 essays, by the foremost scholars in the field, on the historical interactions between Abrahamic communities; on Holy Scriptures and their interpretation; on conceptions of religious history; on various topics and strands of religious thought, such as monotheism and mysticism; on rituals of prayer, purity, and sainthood, on love in the three religions and on fundamentalism. The volume concludes with three epilogues written by three influential figures in the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim communities, to provide a broader perspective on the comparative study of the Abrahamic religions. This ground-breaking work introduces readers to the challenges and rewards of studying these three religions together.
The Oxford Handbook of the Abrahamic Religions includes authoritative yet accessible studies on a wide variety of topics dealing comparatively with Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, as well as with the interactions between the adherents of these religions throughout history. The comparative study of the Abrahamic Religions has been undertaken for many centuries. More often than not, these studies reflected a polemical rather than an ecumenical approach to the topic. Since the nineteenth century, the comparative study of the Abrahamic Religions has not been pursued either intensively or systematically, and it is only recently that the comparative study of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam has received more serious attention. This volume contributes to the emergence and development of the comparative study of the Abrahamic religions, a discipline which is now in its formative stages. This Handbook includes both critical and supportive perspectives on the very concept of the Abrahamic religions and discussions on the role of the figure of Abraham in these religions. It features 32 essays, by the foremost scholars in the field, on the historical interactions between Abrahamic communities; on Holy Scriptures and their interpretation; on conceptions of religious history; on various topics and strands of religious thought, such as monotheism and mysticism; on rituals of prayer, purity, and sainthood, on love in the three religions and on fundamentalism. The volume concludes with three epilogues written by three influential figures in the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim communities, to provide a broader perspective on the comparative study of the Abrahamic religions. This ground-breaking work introduces readers to the challenges and rewards of studying these three religions together.
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