purity


purity
The avoidance of ritual contamination. Important to the Hebrews, for impurity effectively prevented much religious and social activity. Impurity could be ‘caught’ by contact with the dead, from prohibited foods, from contact with bodily fluids (e.g. Lam. 1:9) and various diseases. Lev. and Num. describe the laws regarding purity, and the Dead Sea scrolls contain regulations which were designed to maintain within the community a rigorous standard of ritual purity. The purpose of purity regulations is to guard the group against what seems alien and to reinforce the sense of being the chosen people of God, as well as to establish moral purity.
In Christian theology the Jewish laws on purity have been abrogated and their requirements of moral purity strengthened. Jesus embraced what was taught should be avoided on the ground that moral insights and strengths overrode traditional codes (Mark 7:12), but it is unlikely that he swept aside the whole Jewish system. The words ascribed to him in Mark 7:19 surely come from Mark rather than from Jesus; if this principle had been known when Paul was battling on behalf of ‘his gospel’ (Gal. 1:8), he had only to appeal to it to settle the controversy.

Dictionary of the Bible.

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  • Purity — Pu ri*ty, n. [OE. purete, purte, OF. purt[ e], F. puret[ e], from L. puritas, fr. purus pure. See {Pure}.] The condition of being pure. Specifically: (a) freedom from foreign admixture or deleterious matter; as, the purity of water, of wine, of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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  • purity — early 13c., from O.Fr. purete, earlier purte (12c.), from L.L. puritatem (nom. puritas) cleanness, pureness, from L. purus (see PURE (Cf. pure)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • purity — ► NOUN ▪ the state of being pure …   English terms dictionary

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  • purity — noun ADJECTIVE ▪ absolute ▪ the absolute purity of her love ▪ great, high ▪ high purity silver ▪ ideological …   Collocations dictionary

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