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4Q274 Fragment 1 Revisited—or Who Touched Whom? Further Evidence for Ideas of Graded Impurity and Graded Purifications

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This fragment concerns impurity bearers in intermediate stages of lessened impurity and their contact with the clean and unclean. It is evidence for an early origin for ideas of graded impurity and graded purification. The referent in the first section is the purifying “leper” rather than the zav. The initial impurity of the menstruant is supposed to be mitigated by a first-day purificatory water rite, analogous to that of purifying “lepers” and the developing practice of a first day ablution for the corpse-impure. The semen emitter is a different case from the zav, and the point is that purifying people may not contact any “active” discharger. The text should not be read within the framework of a narrow sectarian environment only, but reflects a more general development of expanding purity practises during the Second Temple period.

Affiliations: 1: Stockholm School of Theology Åkeshovsvägen 29, SE-16839 Bromma Sweden, Email:


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