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>Were tanners, tentmakers and other persons who worked with animal skins
>ritually unclean?  Did such persons neeed to undergo some type of
>immersion ceremony to participate in the community worship services,
>enter the temple or enter a synagogue?
>Richard H. Anderson

I seem to recall that Jeremias, Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus, included
several lists of unclean trades and on one or more of those lists,
tanners were included, hence my question. I agree that those who touched
the final product did not thereby become unclean. My questions relates
to the unclean trades and what must such a person do prior to entering
the temple. And finally what aspects of these rules were in obsevance at
Richard H. Anderson

Paul Flesher responds:

There is a certain amount of "looseness" with the category unclean, both in
ancient and modern times.  Technically, it derives from the HB as a term
that means impure.  From this perspective there is nothing about tanning
that would render a person impure. Leviticus, etc., never says that urine,
feces, etc., make a person impure.  These are natural, non-blood, emissions
and hence do not bring on impurity.  Similarly, the act of butchering a cow
(a pure animal) does not cause impurity; so the act of acquiring a hide
would not render a person impure.

In later times, eg, C1, some Jewish groups begin to hold that bowel
movements cause some form of impurity.  THese include the Essenes, etc.,
but not, to my knowledge, the Pharisees. This is where Jeremias' list comes
from.  Once urine becomes impure, then occupations can become impure.  Or,
is it even looser than that?  Maybe it's just that people in such
occupations smell awful.


Paul V. M. Flesher, Director
Religious Studies Program
University of Wyoming
Laramie, WY  82071-3353


Confucius said: "To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study
is dangerous."
Analects 2:15