By Saul M. Olyan
A complete research of the ritual dimensions of biblical mourning rites, this e-book additionally seeks to light up mourning's social dimensions via engagement with anthropological dialogue of mourning, from Hertz and van Gennep to contemporaries akin to Metcalf and Huntington and Bloch and Parry.
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Extra resources for Biblical Mourning: Ritual and Social Dimensions
A clean man shall take hyssop, dip it into the water, and sprinkle it . . upon the unclean person on the third day and on the seventh day. He shall purify him on the seventh day, and he (in turn) shall wash his garments and bathe in water, and in the evening, he shall be clean’ (19: 17–19). 27 Lev. 21: 1–4, a text that limits the mourning possibilities of priests to close relatives alone, makes it clear that physical contact with the corpse, or at least proximity to the corpse leading to pollution, was typical for the mourner and possibly others who join the mourner.
See also the expressions µyrwrmt dpsm (Jer. 6: 26) and rm dpsm (Ezek. 27: 31). 34 Mourning the Dead Do all of these mourning rites share any other characteristic or function in common? Aside from separating the mourner ritually and contributing to the shaping of social relationships, mourning rites also debase the mourner and communicate that debasement, as E. 18 The notion of biblical mourning rites functioning to debase the mourner ﬁnds support in several quarters. g. 2 Sam. 13: 13, 19; 19: 3–4 (Eng.
1: 4, Nehemiah reacts to the sad news he has received on the state of aﬀairs in Jerusalem by sitting, weeping, and fasting; these mourning gestures are accompanied by direct petition to the deity. A third example of non-death-related mourning behaviour is the ritual response of David’s daughter Tamar to her rape by her halfbrother Amnon: ‘Tamar took ashes53 (and put them) on her head, and the ornamented garment which she was wearing she tore. She set her hand upon her head and walked along, crying out as she walked’ (2 Sam.