By David M. Freidenreich
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Extra resources for Foreigners and Their Food: Constructing Otherness in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Law
Part III, specifically chapter 8, examines the impact on such discourse of conceptions regarding impurity, using Christian portrayals of Jews as the primary exemplar of this phenomenon. In part IV, chapter 11 considers the use of scripture in discourse about foreigners and food restrictions; this analysis draws both on instances of Qur’anic exegesis and also examples of Biblical exegesis encountered in prior chapters. The case studies that comprise the final part of this study (chapters 12–14) reflect the impact of these three factors—scholasticism, conceptions of impurity, and the use of scripture—on medieval discourse about foreign food restrictions.
Leviticus requires Israelites to bring their domestic livestock to the Israelite sanctuary for slaughter in a sacrificial context; the ger must offer his sacrifices at the Israelite sanctuary as well, but Leviticus tacitly grants non-Israelites the right to perform nonsacral slaughter of livestock animals (Lev. 28 Implicit in this distinction is the notion that Israelites partake of a closer relationship with God than non-Israelites and are therefore held to a higher standard. 29 These laws— and, indeed, all of the Hebrew Bible’s dietary laws—highlight Israel’s unique relationship with God, not the dissimilarity between Israelites and foreigners.
In the interest of clarity, references to impurity in the remainder of this study specify its type. I use the term defiled solely in association with offensive impurity while the term polluted consistently refers to circumstantial impurity. Individuals and substances that fall into the remaining category are simply impure. I generally avoid terms such as clean and unclean because purity and hygiene are independent, albeit overlapping, concepts; such terms, where they appear, should be understood metaphorically.