Levitikus 15

Cordoni, Constanza, Die weißen Tage oder warum die Frau immer noch als ‚unrein‘ gilt, nachdem ihre ‚Unreinheit‘ aufgehört hat: Protokolle zur Bibel 21, 2012, 3–19.  Show MorePublished abstract: This article compares three versions of a rabbinic story dealing with the so called impurity of women during the menstruation and its biblical roots. Since rabbinic stories do not stand on their own but are always used to illustrate an argument made in the context in which they are transmitted, be it Talmudic or midrashic, special attention is paid to the specific function the story has in each of the studied contexts.

Erbele-Küster, Dorothea, Archaeological and Textual Evidence for Menstruation as Gendered Taboo in the Second Temple Period?, in: Bauks, Michaela; Galor, Katharina; Hartenstein, Judith (eds.), Gender and Social Norms in Ancient Israel, Early Judaism and Early Christianity. Texts and Material Culture (Journal of Ancient Judaism. Supplements (JAJ.S), 28), Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2019, 169–184.  Show More Abstract from OTA (adapted): E.-K.’s essay focuses on Leviticus 11-15 and its various regulations for women, seeking to bring this biblical text into dialogue with later interpretations found in the DSS as well as with archaeological findings from the Second Temple period. The gaps in the biblical text and its perspective make it unlikely that Leviticus 11-15 was written as a manual for ritual practice. Documents from among the DSS do seem to fill certain of the Leviticus chapters’ gaps and further suggest that the biblical requirements were made more stringent in the DSS material by prolonging the duration of a woman’s impurity. The literary descriptions featured in the Scrolls do not, however, provide unequivocal information regarding the much-debated question of the presence of women in the Qumran community. The large number of contemporary stepped pools found at other sites may suggest that there was an actual ritual for the termination of impurity. [Adapted from published abstract—C.T.B.]

Gehring, René, Is Sexuality Impure? An Alternative Interpretation of Leviticus 15:18, in: Journal of the Adventist Theological Society 24, 2013, 75–115.   Show MoreAbstract from OTA 38, 2015, 670, #2214: The law in Lev 15:18 seems most puzzling, running counter to the tenor of biblical morality. G. begins by referring to Philo and Josephus, who recognize two types of possible defilement: nocturnal emission (Lev 15:16-17) and legal conjugal intercourse (Lev 15:18). Josephus refers to a moral problem in this connection citing the pleasure of the act and the resulting debasement of the soul. He accordingly labels sexual intercourse as “fornication” unless it is for the purpose of begetting children. The Mishnah seder Toharot also offers a discussion of the subject. The treatments of Philo and Josephus are dominated by a strong dualism between body and soul. This explains the Jewish custom of bathing after conjugal intercourse. G.’s conclusion is that Leviticus 15 is about unintended impurities caused by uncontrollable bodily discharges and communicated by contact. Thus, Lev 15:18 “does not speak about sexual intercourse and does not attach any impurity to legal sexuality.”—M.K.

Hieke, Thomas, Menstruation and Impurity. Regular Abstention from the Cult According to Leviticus 15:19-24 and Some Examples for the Reception of the Biblical Text in Early Judaism, in: Xeravits, Géza G. (ed.), Religion and Female Body in Ancient Judaism and Its Environments (DCLS 28), Berlin/Boston 2015, 54-70.  Show MorePublished abstract: The biblical instructions in Leviticus 15:19–24 about women’s regular shedding of the uterine lining and their religious activity mostly refer to male conceptualizations of the female body in Antiquity: The male concepts consider women during their menses as unable to participate in the cult. The woman’s status during this period is called “impure.” The paper presents the overall structure of Leviticus 15, a short note about the origin of the text, and an exegesis of Leviticus 15:19–24: What exactly do the biblical prescriptions regulate and what was the impact for everyday life? Finally some examples demonstrate the reception of this biblical passage in Early Judaism.

Whitekettle, Richard, There Is a Tide in the Affairs of Women: The Biology of Menstruation in Levitical (and Israelite) Thought, in: Journal of Biblical Literature 142, 2023, 197–219. Show More Published abstract: This article examines the Levitical/priestly understanding of the biology of menstruation. In particular, it examines the Levitical/priestly legists’ typology of vaginal discharging, as well as their understanding of the length of normally occurring menstrual cycles, the anatomy and physiology of vaginal discharging, the homologous relationship between the womb and the primeval world, the biological process that took place during the seven-day span of the menstrual state, and menarche and menopause. It is possible that some or all of what is presented here as the Levitical/priestly understanding of the biology of menstruation was the understanding of the Israelites in general.

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