Rites and Rank
Hierarchy in Biblical Representations of Cult
By (author) Saul M. Olyan
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Rites and Rank by Saul M. Olyan
Book DescriptionGood and evil, clean and unclean, rich and poor, self and other. The nature and function of such binary oppositions have long intrigued scholars in such fields as philosophy, linguistics, classics, and anthropology. From the opening chapters of Genesis, in which God separates day from night, and Adam and Eve partake of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, dyadic pairs proliferate throughout the Hebrew Bible. In this groundbreaking work melding critical exegesis and contemporary theory, Saul M. Olyan considers the prevalence of polarities in biblical discourse and expounds their significance for the social and religious institutions of ancient Israel. Extant biblical narrative and legal texts reveal a set of socially constructed and culturally privileged binary oppositions, Olyan argues, which instigate and perpetuate hierarchical social relations in ritual settings such as the sanctuary. Focusing on four binary pairs--holy/common, Israelite/alien, clean/unclean, and whole/blemished--Olyan shows how these privileged oppositions were used to restrict access to cultic spaces, such as the temple or the Passover table. These ritual sites, therefore, became the primary contexts for creating and recreating unequal social relations. Olyan also uncovers a pattern of challenge to the established hierarchies by nonprivileged groups. Converging with contemporary issues of power, marginalization, and privileging, Olyan's painstaking yet lucid study abounds with implications for anthropology, classics, critical theory, and feminist studies.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780691029481
(234mm x 156mm x 12mm)
Imprint: Princeton University Press
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publish Date: 17-Apr-2000
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Saul M. Olyan
Friendship in the Hebrew Bible, Hardback (March 2017)
The first comprehensive study of friendship in the Hebrew Bible
Ritual Violence in the Hebrew Bible, Hardback (January 2016)
This volume is intended to bring into relief the full range of violent rites represented in the Hebrew Bible many rarely, if ever, consider.
Disability in the Hebrew Bible, Paperback (July 2012)
This book seeks to reconstruct the Hebrew Bible's ideas of mental and physical disability and their social ramifications.
Household and Family Religion in Antiquity, Paperback (February 2012)» View all books by Saul M. Olyan
This book aims to advance our understanding of household and family religion in Mediterranean and West Asian antiquity, as opposed to state-sponsored or civic temple cults. The volume explores the new recognition that religious expression associated with household, family, and domicile is significant and must be investigated in a serious way.
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