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date: 19 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Purity rules and discourses are present in all three Abrahamic religions, serving as a medium in structuring their moral, social, and ritual worlds and in constructing the holiness of the religious community, religious spaces, and the individual body. Purity and defilement govern the management of the individual body versus the community: in eating, defecation, illness, sexual relations, birth, and death, in attitudes towards foreigners and heretics, and in the understanding of the demonic. However, ritual and moral purity were used in different ways by the various traditions. Thus while in Judaism and Islam ritual purity is the main medium, in Christianity ritual purity is typically overlaid by moral purity discourse.

Keywords: Purity, defilement, holiness, death, demons, sexual relations, polemic, sin, ritual, hierarchy

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