Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 20 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article considers Leviticus, the Rabbis, and Qumran; ritual purity, moral purity, and their evolution at Qumran; and other incongruities facing the purity–community model. The dominant understanding of purity at Qumran has much to commend it. Inspired by Mary Douglas's style of structuralism, scholars – notably Harrington – have reconstructed a meaningful and logically coherent sectarian purity system by following the interconnections among the various texts and correlating them with archaeological evidence. A number of questions, however, remain. When some purity practices are attributed to the sect's past or future, while others in the same document are taken as characteristic of the group's present, one can rightly question whether the evidence or the model is driving the interpretation. Moreover, the present paradigm rests, in part, on reconstructed evidence: can such a theory justify overlooking seeming contradictions between the literary and archaeological evidence?

Keywords: Qumran, Mary Douglas, sectarian purity, archaeological evidence, ritual purity

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.