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“In The Case Of Women-Any Hand Which Makes Many Examinations Is To Be Praised”: Niddah As Viewed By The Rabbis Of The Mishnah

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on the menstruous woman (or niddah in Hebrew) as perceived by the Rabbis of the Mishnah (redacted in approximately the second century CE as a meticulously presented system governing both the cultic ritual and civil law of a utopian rabbinical society which mirrors the divine will in heaven through careful execution of human actions on earth). According to Scripture the niddah impurity (tumah) lasts for seven days. If there is a prolonged uterine bleeding for several days, afterwards or at a time other than that of her period, she is categorized as a zava. Anthropologists have proposed numerous theories on the symbolic representation of blood and menstruation in different cultures. Anthropologists have suggested that women in general and menstrual blood in particular are in a patriarchal society.

Keywords: Mishnah; niddah; rabbinical society

10.1163/ej.9789004158337.i-234.12
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