Saturday, January 22, 2022

Feder, Purity and Pollution in the Hebrew Bible (CUP)

Purity and Pollution in the Hebrew Bible
From Embodied Experience to Moral Metaphor

AUTHOR: Yitzhaq Feder, University of Haifa, Israel
DATE PUBLISHED: November 2021
FORMAT: Hardback
ISBN: 9781316517574


In this book, Yitzhaq Feder presents a novel and compelling account of pollution in ancient Israel, from its emergence as an embodied concept, rooted in physiological experience, to its expression as a pervasive metaphor in social-moral discourse. Feder aims to bring the biblical and ancient Near Eastern evidence into a sustained conversation with anthropological and psychological research through comparison with notions of contagion in other ancient and modern cultural contexts. Showing how numerous interpretive difficulties are the result of imposing modern concepts on the ancient texts, he guides readers through wide-ranging parallels to biblical attitudes in ancient Near Eastern, ethnographic, and modern cultures. Feder demonstrates how contemporary evolutionary and psychological research can be applied to ancient textual evidence. He also suggests a path of synthesis that can move beyond the polarized positions which currently characterize modern academic and popular debates bearing on the roles of biology and culture in shaping human behavior.

  • Offers a thoroughly interdisciplinary account of pollution, incorporating theoretical and empirical developments in psychology and anthropology
  • Demonstrates the role of pollution as an ancient concept of infectious disease
  • Contextualizes the attitudes regarding pollution in Israel through comparison with comparable phenomena cross-culturally
I have noted essays by Yitzhaq Feder on related matters here, here, here, here, here, and here.

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