The Role of Disgust in Priestly Purity Law

Insights from Conceptual Metaphor and Blending Theories

in Journal of Law, Religion and State
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Common anthropological and structuralist approaches to Israelite purity law are often problematic. Disgust is a more promising explanation for the diverse impurities reflected in priestly texts. But not all impurities fit into a pattern of disgust equally well. Disgust language also characterizes impurities that ought not to evoke revulsion easily. I have previously suggested a transfer of emotional disgust from obvious triggers to objects that are clearly culture-specific by means of a secondary use of disgust language as value judgment. In the present article I explore this further with the help of cognitive linguistics. Conceptual metaphor theories as well as more elaborate blending models help clarify how disgust intrinsic to certain conceptions of impurity can be extended and transferred to others, which at times bear only slight resemblances. As a result, I suggest that disgust is the most comprehensive explanation for the wide variety of conceptions of impurity found in priestly legislation.

The Role of Disgust in Priestly Purity Law

Insights from Conceptual Metaphor and Blending Theories

in Journal of Law, Religion and State

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References

7

Lemossupra note 6 (“Where There Is Dirt”) 294; cf. ibid. 274 280.

9

Douglassupra note 2 51–71.

10

Milgromsupra note 5 650–652.

13

Lemossupra note 6 (“Where There Is Dirt”) 273.

15

Lemossupra note 6 (“Where There Is Dirt”) 274. For further discussion of such discrepancies see Kazen Issues of Impurity in Early Judaism (2010) 41–61.

17

Lemossupra note 6 (“Where There Is Dirt”) 274.

20

Klawanssupra note 4; quotation at 158.

22

Wrightsupra note 14; idem “The Spectrum of Priestly Impurity” in G. A. Anderson and S. M. Olyan (eds.) Priesthood and Cult in Ancient Israel (1991) 150–181.

24

Lemossupra note 6 (“Where There Is Dirt”) 275–277 279–280.

25

Büchlersupra note 19.

26

Hoffmannsupra note 19.

31

Klawanssupra note 4 21–42.

32

Kazensupra note 18 (Jesus) 200–222; idemsupra note 1 (Emotions) 25–28.

33

Kazensupra note 1 (“Dirt”); idemsupra note 1 (Emotions) 20–31 71–94.

34

Klawanssupra note 4 32–36.

35

Kazensupra note 18 (Jesus) 204–207.

41

Millersupra note 38 60–88.

43

Rozin Haidt and McCauleysupra note 38 637.

45

Kazensupra note 1 (“Dirt”); idemsupra note 1 (Emotions) 72–94.

47

 Cf. Kazensupra note 1 (Emotions) 78–79.

51

Kolnaisupra note 42 52–62; William Miller supra note 38 38–59; Susan Miller supra note 42 47–58.

52

Rozin Haidt and McCauleysupra note 38 641–642. Rozin’s category of animal-nature disgust has been questioned by Feinstein who argues that “if the primary function of disgust were to conceal our similarity to animals we would surely be more disgusted by relatively human-like creatures such as primates and other ‘higher mammals’ than by insects and worms” (supra note 23 (2010) 27).

54

Kazensupra note 1 (Emotions) 81–89 93–94; cf. Neusner supra note 36 11.

55

Kazensupra note 1 (Emotions) 34–35 82.

58

 Cf. Lemossupra note 6 (“Where There Is Dirt”) 290–292.

59

Klawanssupra note 4 26–29.

62

Klawanssupra note 4 67–91.

63

Kazensupra note 18 (Jesus) 204–207.

65

Lakoff and Johnsonsupra note 64 (Metaphors) 156.

67

Fauconnier and Turnersupra note 66 17–57; Seanna Coulson and Todd Oakley “Blending Basics” 11 Cognitive Linguistics (2000) 175–196.

68

Coulson and Oakleysupra note 67 142–143.

77

 See Klawanssupra note 4 35–36. Klawans regards this example of moral impurity as a metaphor in contrast to other instances where he calls it “literal.”

83

Feinsteinsupra note 23 (diss. 2010) 78.

84

 See Kazensupra note 49 forthcoming.

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