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Menstruation and Childbirth in the Bible

Fertility and Impurity

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Tarja S. Philip

This book offers a careful study of biblical texts on menstruation and childbirth in the light of their ancient Near Eastern background. Close reading of the biblical texts, based on classical and feminist biblical interpretation, and supported by comparative study of ancient Near Eastern sources and anthropology, reveals a rich and varied picture of these female events. Fertility and impurity are closely connected to menstruation and childbirth, but their place and importance are different in priestly and nonpriestly writings of the Bible, which are therefore separately dealt with. This book contributes to a better understanding of physiological, social, cultural, and religious aspects of menstruation and childbirth in the larger context of body and society and women and men.