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Gentile Impurities and Jewish IdentitiesIntermarriage and Conversion from the Bible to the Talmud$
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Christine E. Hayes

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195151206

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195151208.001.0001

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Gentiles and Genealogical Impurity: Converts and Their Offspring in Rabbinic Texts

Gentiles and Genealogical Impurity: Converts and Their Offspring in Rabbinic Texts

Chapter:
(p.164) 8 Gentiles and Genealogical Impurity: Converts and Their Offspring in Rabbinic Texts
Source:
Gentile Impurities and Jewish Identities
Author(s):

Christine E. Hayes (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0195151208.003.0008

The rabbis break with Ezra, Jubilees, and sectarian sources that democratize the priestly requirement of genealogical purity. According to the rabbis, genealogical purity is not an end in itself for ordinary Jews, but an optional matter relevant only in determining fitness for marriage into the priesthood and appointment to certain positions of leadership. Over the course of centuries, the rabbis took steps to eliminate the disadvantages of genealogical blemish and narrow the gap between native‐born and nonnative Jews. Two halakhic developments brought greater parity between native‐born Jews and converts: the gradual prohibition of unions between converts and persons prohibited to native‐born Jews (e.g., the mamzer) and the campaign to permit intermarriage between converts (or their descendants) and priests.

Keywords:   converts, genealogical, mamzer, priests, purity, rabbis

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