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