In your understanding of the Torah, were the Jews concerned with remaining ritually clean typically?

E/P. Sanders (who has some good point and some not so good ones, IMO) suggests that the average Jewish person (during the time of the first and second temple) was not concerned about being ritually clean on a daily basis, but only when going to the Tabernacle/Temple or for the Festivals.

What is your understanding of this?  It makes a big deal of difference when trying to understand the Book of Leviticus, for example.

Also worth commenting upon are the sacrifices.  In later times, we know communities often pitched in to offer a sin offering, etc., for an entire village, for example. 

Any thoughts apprecaited.

I believe devout Jews were concerned about being ritually clean as much as possible.
25% (3 votes)
I believe most devout Jews wanted to be clean for Sabbaths, festivals, and trips to the temple.
0% (0 votes)
I believe most devout Jews wanted to be clean for feistivals and temple trips, not necessarily Sabbath days.
8% (1 vote)
I have no idea.
58% (7 votes)
Other
8% (1 vote)
Total votes: 12
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There are 3 Comments

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Had to go with "other," because I think it depends on what point in history you use as a scope... and it's too much history to meaningfully average.

During periods where you have lots of idolatry going on--even assuming syncretism--it seems likely that there would have been widespread ignoring of Torah particulars. There are pretty clear references in the major and minor prophets to specific chunks of Exodus-Deut that were not being followed. I think I recall a reference to the years in captivity being, among other things, a way of God taking back many unobserved sabbath years (just found it: Jer. 34:14–22).

So, my impression is that there was a faithful remnant all through that would have taken all the covenant particulars seriously, periods of revival when many more did, but long stretches of widespread neglect, culminating in outright worship of false gods.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Ed Vasicek's picture

Aaron, I meant to ask if the faithful Jews understood the Scriptures to teach a need to be clean constantly, or just for festivals and visits to the Temple.

In my understanding, the Jews were not concerned with ritual cleanness at other times.  I am not talking about Kosher laws, etc., but bodily fluids or touching dead animals, etc.

 

"The Midrash Detective"

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Thanks for clarifying.

I don't have an opinion on that one... Though I'm skeptical of the idea that the faithful ignored the cleanness idea except on special occasions, I'm not read up on that. 

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.