Loading Events

Purity, pollution, purification and defilement

On June 28-30, 2022, the University of Haifa and Tel Aviv University are organising the conference “Purity, pollution, purification and defilement in the premodern Mediterranean”.

Purity and purification were key to social formation and transformation in the premodern world. Religious precepts and cultural tenets of purity and pollution defined identities and contours of communities. They charted the boundaries between the licit and the illicit, between the sacred and the profane and between the saved and the damned. As these ideas and beliefs were embodied in practices they also shaped the daily routines of women and men, determining their calendars and life cycles. In the Mediterranean, in particular, concepts of purity and defilement developed through an ongoing engagement of theology, polemic, ritualization and social realities. The three Abrahamic religions as well as numerous pagan, local and heterodox cults, harbored both internal and external discussions over the meaning of purity and the practices required for obtaining and observing it. Our workshop seeks to bring together scholars who study ideas and practices related to purity in the premodern Mediterranean in order to bring to the fore these internal and external dynamics. We welcome contributions from scholars in the disciplines of history, archeology, theology and religious law, literature and the arts, working on a range of issues including gender, medicine, ritual, and social dynamics.

Deadline call for papers: February 15, 2022.
More information is found here.