Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection - Chapter 4, Semiotics of Biblical Abomination Summary & Analysis

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Chapter 4, Semiotics of Biblical Abomination Summary and Analysis

There are two prevailing interpretations of the laws regarding ritual impurity in the Old Testament. According to one interpretation, the laws are the arbitrary will of God and being impure is nothing more than disobeying this will. A second interpretation proposes that impurity is identified with contact with evil supernatural forces, like demons. While both of these interpretations do a good a job of showing the complexity of the Mosaic and Levitical law, the most plausible interpretation of the laws is one which employs the psychological insights about defilement which were introduced and argued for in the previous chapter. According to this view, the Jewish laws are a result of the combination of the revolutionary, monotheistic nature of the Jewish religion and the same psychological forces which are at work in the purity...

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