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Purity, Sacrifice, and the TempleSymbolism and Supersessionism in the Study of Ancient Judaism$
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Jonathan Klawans

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195162639

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195162639.001.0001

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The Purity of the Second Temple in Rabbinic Literature

The Purity of the Second Temple in Rabbinic Literature

(p.175) 6 The Purity of the Second Temple in Rabbinic Literature
Purity, Sacrifice, and the Temple

Jonathan Klawans (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines an array of rabbinic sources concerning the temple, including Mishnah, Midrash, and Talmud, drawing a number of contrasts with Qumran literature in particular. The Rabbis seem to agree with the sectarians that the temple was flawed, recalling instances of priestly greed, theft, and even murder. But the rabbis downplay the moral defilement of the temple and deny to the end that the temple was ritually defiled to any significant degree before its destruction by Romans in 70 CE. Unlike the sectarians, the rabbis took a stance toward the temple and its purity that was less idealistic, but more practical and permissive.

Keywords:   Rabbinic literature, Qumran, Dead Sea Scrolls, ritual purity, moral purity, Mishnah, Midrash, Talmud, priests, greed

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