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Hezser, Catherine (2024) 'Attitudes Torward the Body.' In: Hezser, Catherine, (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Jews and Judaism in Late Antiquity. London and New York: Routledge, pp. 216-228.

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Abstract

Jewish attitudes toward the human body differed significantly from Christian attitudes in late antiquity. In contrast to the Christian emphasis on the soul and its survival after death, rabbis insisted that body and soul constituted an inseparable unity. Rather than expecting salvation through belief and spirituality, one’s bodily practices in the material and social world of daily life reflected one’s relationship with God. The great significance of the body and procreation made rabbis devise complex rules to govern sexuality and ritual purity. For males, circumcision was the foremost physical marker of Jewishness. The preservation of a healthy body became a religious value and ethical questions concerning abortion and euthanasia were subjects of halakhic discussions.

Item Type: Book Chapters
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of History, Religions & Philosophies > Department of Religions & Philosophies
ISBN: 9781138241220
Copyright Statement: This is the version of the chapter accepted for publication in Hezser, Catherine, (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Jews and Judaism in Late Antiquity. London and New York: Routledge, pp. 216-228. Re-use is subject to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315280974-17
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2024 09:42
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/41277

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