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In the WildernessThe Doctrine of Defilement in the Book of Numbers$
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Mary Douglas

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780199245413

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199245413.001.0001

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The Politics of Enclaves

The Politics of Enclaves

Chapter:
(p.42) Chapter 2 The Politics of Enclaves
Source:
In the Wilderness
Author(s):

Mary Douglas

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199245413.003.0002

Judaism rejects images and magic, this is one of its central features. Any useful typology of religions has to offer an account of icons, their presence or absence. The rejection of graven images in Judaism is not seriously to be written off as an adventitious by-product of literacy. This chapter characterises the bias of a certain type of culture, which it calls here the sectarian or enclave community. In the typology of cultures, this is the community which has good reasons for preferring an aniconic religion. In this complex scene the chapter recourses to cultural theory, which gives four kinds of religious bias. The word ‘culture’ has many meanings; here it is used in a specialised sense for a distinctive pattern of claims.

Keywords:   Judaism, images, magic, culture, enclave community, aniconic religion, cultural theory, religious bias, claims

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