Session1624
TitleUnsettled Boundaries: Jews, Christians, and the Messiness of Purity, I
Date/TimeThursday 7 July 2022: 11.15-12.45
 
OrganiserNeta B. Bodner, Department of Literature, Languages & the Arts, Open University of Israel
 
Moderator/ChairNaama Cohen-Hanegbi, Department of History, Tel Aviv University
 
Paper 1624-a Ritual Change and the Fraying Borders of Impurity in Early Christianity
(Language: English)
Moshe Blidstein, Department of General History, Haifa University
Index Terms: Religious Life; Theology
Paper 1624-b The Poisonous Barb: Purity and Pollution in Early Medieval Gaul
(Language: English)
Yaniv Fox, Department of General History, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan
Index Terms: Religious Life; Theology
Paper 1624-c Going against the Flow: Gregory the Great, Pollution, and Bodily Fluids
(Language: English)
Conrad Leyser, Worcester College, University of Oxford
Index Terms: Religious Life; Theology
Paper 1624-d Beautiful Settings for Shady Purifications: On the Flexible Borders of Purification in Medieval Ashkenaz
(Language: English)
Neta B. Bodner, Department of Literature, Languages & the Arts, Open University of Israel
Index Terms: Architecture - Religious; Hebrew and Jewish Studies; Liturgy; Social History
 
AbstractThe biblical categories of purity and defilement are commonly perceived in terms of a simple and stark opposition. Yet for both Jews and Christians in the Middle Ages the border between them appears at times to be both ambiguous and diffused. Concepts such as 'pure blood' and debates concerning perpetual impurity are a window to shifting practices, changing ideologies, and cross-religious discourse. The two sessions examine how medieval authors and practices moved, bent, expanded, and fuzzed borders between 'Pure' and 'Impure' in the Middle Ages. Discussing a range of Jewish and Christian sources (medical, theological, legal, liturgical) our aim is to consider how the collapsed and undefined boundaries challenge dichotomies between various categories in the Middle Ages: pure and impure, Jewish and Christian, physical and spiritual, material and symbolic.