Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo - Chapter 8 Summary & Analysis

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Chapter 8 Summary and Analysis

At the beginning of the twentieth century, ritual pollution has been considered to have little to do with morals, and magic has been considered to be part of such rituals. Pollution reflects wrong behaviour whether it is related to morals or not.

Moral situations can be difficult to define, as they can be contradictory as well as uncertain. Pollution rules are unequivocal, being concerned only with facts and events as opposed to moral rules. For the Nuer, some wrong behaviors can be acceptable if they follow another approved behavior. The Nuer may kill in defense of their rights. They are more considerate of adultery than of adulterers who can be killed if caught, while adulterers themselves can be free from guilt through performing a sacrifice.

The Nuer behavior determines their moral code through punishment laws. Some behavior may be subject to...

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