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Purity, Body, and Self in Early Rabbinic Literature$
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Mira Balberg

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780520280632

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520280632.001.0001

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Objects That Matter

Objects That Matter

(p.74) 3 Objects That Matter
Purity, Body, and Self in Early Rabbinic Literature

Mira Balberg

University of California Press

The third chapter discusses inanimate objects, which were conceived by the rabbis as extensions of the human body and as entities that, like the body, one must invest subjectivity in order to introduce them into the realm of impurity. The susceptibility to impurity of inanimate objects, whether artifacts or foodstuffs, is largely determined by the consciousness of their owners, since one must identify an object as one's own to allow it to be rendered impure. The Mishnaic subject thus not only responds to the world of impurity but also—through the force of will, thought, and intention—constructs the world of impurity.

Keywords:   artifacts, objects, food, thought, intention, susceptibility to impurity

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