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Patterns of Sin in the Hebrew BibleMetaphor, Culture, and the Making of a Religious Concept$
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Joseph Lam

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199394647

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199394647.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 03 December 2021

Sin as Stain or Impurity

Sin as Stain or Impurity

(p.179) 5 Sin as Stain or Impurity
Patterns of Sin in the Hebrew Bible

Joseph Lam

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores metaphors that use images of a stain or the language of impurity as the basis of metaphors of sin. These images, though diverse, nonetheless share the feature of depicting sin as an external object that requires elimination at a visceral level. Within the Hebrew Bible, the metaphors of a blood stain on hands or clothing are the most common. As for images involving impurity, while it is necessary to recognize the presence of (im)purity as a literal category in the biblical texts (primarily through the terms ṬHR and ṬM’), one also finds metaphorical expressions involving the extension of forms of literal impurity, especially contamination associated with metals and menstrual impurity.

Keywords:   sin, metaphors, Hebrew Bible, stain, impurity

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