Women's History and Ancient History

By Sarah B. Pomeroy | Go to book overview

SHAYE J. D. COHEN


Menstruants and the Sacred in Judaism and Christianity

In numerous cultures menstruants and parturients (women who have just given birth) are distanced from sacred places, actions, or objects and are isolated from society. The women are regarded as impure or "polluted." Menstrual taboos have been a favorite topic of study for anthropologists and, in recent years, for feminists from various disciplines, but much work remains to be done. 1 Two large and important topics that remain virtually unexplored are the histories of menstrual taboos in Judaism and in Christianity. The regulations governing the impurity and purification of the menstruant were, and for many Jews still are, an essential part of Jewish piety, but aside from two recent articles (in Hebrew) by Yedidyah Dinari, I have not found a single historical study of the subject. 2 Menstrual taboos occupy a much smaller place, of course, in Christianity than in Judaism, but they do have a place, especially in eastern Christianity, even if they have not yet attracted scholarly attention.

This essay is an initial attempt to fill the lacuna. A full treatment of the topic would require an analysis of the purity systems of ancient Judaism; the Jewish attitudes towards sex, sexuality, the body, and bodily functions; the place of women in Jewish law and society; the parallels and contrasts between Jewish and non-Jewish practices; and the Christian analogues to all these matters. The topic also demands of its interpreter expertise in legal history, social history, comparative religion, social anthropology, folklore, and a host of other disciplines. Even if I were competent in all these areas, and I am not, I could not cover the entire topic in the space allotted. Instead I restrict my discussion here to legal history. I first present the biblical material on menstrual impurity and then describe

-273-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Women's History and Ancient History
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 318

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.