A Gendered Reading of Purity and Boundaries: 4QTohorot A (4Q274) as a Case Study

In: Dead Sea Discoveries

Abstract

To understand purity from both the male and the female perspective within the Qumran ‎communities, this article will be using 4QTohorot A (4Q274) as a case study to: review the formation and function of gender within the manuscript; permit a broadening of the critique of purity to include a range of gender ‎issues; enable a discussion of the position of women in relation to ‎female purification laws; and permit exploration of the male perspective and ‎experience from a masculinist perspective. ‎By concentrating on the ‎functionality of this particular scroll, further insights will be gained to understand the gendered ‎and identity politics at play behind such strict purity regulations in order to discern—and to ‎imagine—what it actually meant to be a constant threat of potential pollution within ‎communities where purity ruled all aspects of everyday life, and how such regulations worked on a gendered ‎level.

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