TitleUnsettled Boundaries: Jews, Christians, and the Messiness of Purity, II
Date/TimeThursday 7 July 2022: 14.15-15.45
OrganiserNeta B. Bodner, Department of Literature, Languages & the Arts, Open University of Israel
Moderator/ChairNeta B. Bodner, Department of Literature, Languages & the Arts, Open University of Israel
RespondentSara McDougall, Department of History, John Jay College, City University of New York
Paper 1724-a Sexual Purity versus Ritual Purity in Medieval Egypt: The View from the Cairo Geniza
(Language: English)
Eve Krakowski, Department of Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University
Index Terms: Gender Studies; Hebrew and Jewish Studies; Sexuality
Paper 1724-b Purification without Impurity: Postpartum Christian Rituals in Late Medieval Iberia
(Language: English)
Naama Cohen-Hanegbi, Department of History, Tel Aviv University
Index Terms: Gender Studies; Medicine
Paper 1724-c Sensing Impurity: Scents and Sexual Misbehaviour in Christian and Jewish Literature
(Language: English)
Alice Raw, Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford
Index Terms: Language and Literature - Comparative; Sexuality
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.