The Eight Kinds of Linen in the Old Testament

Almalech, Mony (2011) The Eight Kinds of Linen in the Old Testament. Lexia, Journal of Semiotics – new series. (7–8). pp. 325-364. ISSN 978-88-548-4137-6; 1720-5298

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Eight different words are used to denote linen in the Old Testament: [šeš], [butz], [badim], [pištim], . [ketonet], [sadin], [etun], and [hur karpas]. In Jewish ancient rituals, linen clothes were known as ‘the robe of light’. The detailed analysis of the different words for linen in the Old Testament leads to the following conclusions: each different word for linen builds its own web of meanings in the Hebrew Biblical world view, serving the monotheistic mentality in the frame of the Old Testament. Such mentality involves a requirement for harmony between spiritual and ritual purity obtained by wearing linen clothes. The monotheistic mentality as coded in the different words for linen in the Old Testament is drastically different from the polytheistic mentality and language of neighbouring peoples, albeit certain borrowed lexemes in Hebrew originate from these peoples’ languages and cultures. The different words for the fabric, which ‘the robe of light’ is made of, are subject to a special ideology and give rise to several symbolic chains, based on worldly, moral, and abstract ‘ritual purity’, as conveyed by the notion of ‘whiteness’. The different words for linen testify to the immense variety of transformations of the notion of light in the Old Testament. The text of the Old Testament is a declaration and an injunction for the initiated Israelite to see, cover, and handle the world through the ‘robe of light’ and not through the ‘robe of darkness’.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:sacred; color; semiotics; hermeneutics; translation; Hebrew Biblical worldview; linen; whiteness; purity; ephod; priest.
Subjects:Language. Linguistics. Literature > Ancient languages
Language. Linguistics. Literature > Comparative linguistics
Language. Linguistics. Literature > Language
Philosophy > Culture. Cultural studies. Philosophy of culture
Religion > Bible
Religion > Judaism
Religion > Religion. Philosophy and theory of religion. Theosophy
Sociology.Anthropology > Cultural anthropology
Translation studies
ID Code:2998
Deposited By: Prof. M.A. Almalech
Deposited On:20 Apr 2016 08:00
Last Modified:20 Apr 2016 08:00

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