The Role of Disgust in Priestly Purity Law

The Role of Disgust in Priestly Purity Law Common anthropological and structuralist approaches to Israelite purity law are often problematic. Disgust is a more promising explanation for the diverse impurities reflected in priestly texts. But not all impurities fit into a pattern of disgust equally well. Disgust language also characterizes impurities that ought not to evoke revulsion easily. I have previously suggested a transfer of emotional disgust from obvious triggers to objects that are clearly culture-specific by means of a secondary use of disgust language as value judgment. In the present article I explore this further with the help of cognitive linguistics. Conceptual metaphor theories as well as more elaborate blending models help clarify how disgust intrinsic to certain conceptions of impurity can be extended and transferred to others, which at times bear only slight resemblances. As a result, I suggest that disgust is the most comprehensive explanation for the wide variety of conceptions of impurity found in priestly legislation. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Law, Religion and State Brill

The Role of Disgust in Priestly Purity Law

Journal of Law, Religion and State, Volume 3 (1): 62 – Nov 24, 2014

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 2014 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
Subject
Articles
ISSN
2212-6465
eISSN
2212-4810
D.O.I.
10.1163/22124810-00301004
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Common anthropological and structuralist approaches to Israelite purity law are often problematic. Disgust is a more promising explanation for the diverse impurities reflected in priestly texts. But not all impurities fit into a pattern of disgust equally well. Disgust language also characterizes impurities that ought not to evoke revulsion easily. I have previously suggested a transfer of emotional disgust from obvious triggers to objects that are clearly culture-specific by means of a secondary use of disgust language as value judgment. In the present article I explore this further with the help of cognitive linguistics. Conceptual metaphor theories as well as more elaborate blending models help clarify how disgust intrinsic to certain conceptions of impurity can be extended and transferred to others, which at times bear only slight resemblances. As a result, I suggest that disgust is the most comprehensive explanation for the wide variety of conceptions of impurity found in priestly legislation.

Journal

Journal of Law, Religion and StateBrill

Published: Nov 24, 2014

Keywords: disgust; impurity; priestly law; cognitive linguistics; conceptual metaphor; blending

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