In ancient societies and religion, the concept of purity was of central importance; in many modern societies it is either irrelevant or, when it is used, attached to extremely conservative agendas. This suggests an interesting story to be told within the history of ideas and, at the same time, raises questions about the place, meaning, and use of purity in religious traditions. What does purity mean in different scriptural contexts? Is it synonymous with holiness or different? How has it been used within various strands of theology? What should we make of it today? Have we moderns, by discarding purity as an organising social form, lost something essential or have we made a significant moral advance? Or both? This volume begins to address these questions in essays on biblical genres, books and different theological traditions. Accessibly written and incisive in its scholarship, Purity will be of interest to both specialists and non-specialists alike.
List of Contributors
List of Abbreviations
Introduction / Andrew Brower Latz and Arseny Ermakov
Part I – Purity in Scripture
1. Purity and Impurity in the Hebrew Bible / Mila Ginsburskaya
2. Leviticus and Purity / Dwight D. Swanson
3. Purity in the Prophets / C.E. Shepherd
4. Purity in the Wisdom Books and Psalms / R. Michael Fox
5. Purity in the Synoptic Gospels / Arseny Ermakov
6. Purity in the Gospel of John / Kent Brower
7. Purity in Paul / Sarah Whittle
8. Purity in the Epistle to the Hebrews / Kevin Anderson
Part II – Purity in Theology
9. Purity in Orthodox Theology / Leonard Aldea
10. Purity in Catholic Theology / Ben Kautzer
11. Purity in Anglican Theology / Susan Dowell
12. Purity in the Wesleyan Tradition / Joseph W. Cunningham
13. Purity in Future Theology / Andrew Brower Latz
Endorsements and Reviews
Purity has long been a neglected category and a significant New Testament concern, so a wide-ranging volume of essays on purity is to be welcomed. The final essay firmly recommends against a comeback for purity language, but for all the need to hear its cautions, the essays overall suggest an important future for interest in purity.
John Nolland, Trinity College, Bristol
Today’s widespread interest in spirituality always runs the risk of becoming a kind of folk theology, more interested in relevance than depth. At the same time, the concept of purity does not appear to have the major importance in contemporary ethical and theological discussion that it once had. This landmark collection of essays on purity and the related concept of holiness by experts in biblical and theological studies will help deepen the understanding of all those engaged in spiritual and pastoral guidance.
T.A. Noble, Nazarene Theological Seminary, Kansas City, Missouri