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Deviancy In Battle: Rituals And The Israelite Soldier In The Torah And The Mishnah: An Anthropological Understanding

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Chapter Summary

This chapter analyzes the behavior of the Israelite soldier as presented in the Pentateuch (Torah) and in early rabbinic law. Within society, the functions of prevalent ritual and symbol which were closest to the individual in his social environment received the greatest attention. Pollution and the associated danger resulting from trans-boundary contact had to be rectified through ritual. The Torah demands physical cleanliness and bodily purification from the soldier, as well as his personal security, would be endangered. Edited in Palestine around 200 CE, the Mishnah is a study of the world of the Temple cult and the Temple state. Even though Torah and Mishnah were two separate works of literature, both had the same goal: implicitly and explicitly they sought through laws and rituals to retain the social system and hierarchy headed by the religious leadership - priestly in the former, Rabbinic in the latter.

Keywords: Israelite soldier; Mishnah; Rabbinic law; temple state; Torah



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