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Jesus and the Chaos of HistoryRedirecting the Life of the Historical Jesus$
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James Crossley

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199570577

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570577.001.0001

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‘Sinners’, Law, and Purity

‘Sinners’, Law, and Purity

(p.96) 4 ‘Sinners’, Law, and Purity
Jesus and the Chaos of History

James G. Crossley

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on purity and morality in the earliest Palestinian tradition and the ways in which the language of the behaviour of ‘sinners’ was constructed in relation to purity. Consideration is given to contexts which could have contributed to the concerns for purity and ‘sinners’. The interest in such ‘sinners’ in the earliest Palestinian tradition provided a connection (whether consciously or unconsciously) to ideas about inclusion of Gentiles and the process in which morality could become separated from purity while simultaneously allowing texts about purity disputes to survive. The importance of Jewish purity laws was assumed in the earliest Palestinian tradition but once these memories were present in contexts of Gentile inclusion in the Greco-Roman world, where such issues were of minimal concern, ‘morality’ becomes heightened as a boundary marker and purity no longer remains a focus. Purity could then be reinterpreted metaphorically, or simply forgotten.

Keywords:   ‘sinners’, Law, Torah, repentance, purity, impurity, Galilee

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