theoutwardquest

This is a reflection about purity and Jesus.

Scholars have frequently used Jesus’ attitude toward purity to explain his teaching about openness to all people.

Cecelia Wassen (“The Jewishness of Jesus and Ritual Purity”, here) shows that some of these interpretations arise from misunderstanding or bias.

She points to the late Marcus Borg in Conflict, Holiness, and Politics in the Teaching of Jesus. Borg, she says, saw purity as the opposite of compassion.

Similarly, Karen Wenell in Jesus and Land: Sacred and Social Space in Second Temple Judaism portrayed purity as opposed to love.

Many feminists have interpreted purity laws as sexist. Wassen gives Mary Ann Getty-Sullivan’s Women in the New Testament as an example.

She gives James Dunn’s article “Jesus and purity: an ongoing debate”, New Testament Studies, as an example of those who oppose purity to inclusiveness.

I have observed these scholarly views being taken up…

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