I got started on this week's episode... and I didn't finish it. But the Leviticus segment, sparked by a note in the Jewish Study Bible, was too interesting to leave in the archives. So this minicast is a look at the tum'ah - the uncleanness - of Leviticus 12-15, from a different perspective than the one usually taken in both Jewish and Christian commentary. The JPS Torah commentary volume on Leviticus also helps to place the text's concept of contagion within its ancient Near Eastern origin.

None of this is to say that the contagious miasma posited by some modern Jewish scholars is (or was) actually a phenomenon in the real world: only that this may have been the original concept behind these tum'ah texts. Re-framed with the language of ritual impurity rather than physical aura, the texts remain relevant even as Jewish thought moves on to re-read re-interpret them: because it's the theology of the text that gives it enduring significance.

Transcript coming soon!

Join the discussion on Facebook and listen via iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. If you're enjoying the show, you could even leave a review, and share the podcast on social media!


Levine, Baruch A. (1989). Leviticus, The JPS Torah Commentary. Philadaelphia, PA: The Jewish Publication Society.
Amazon    Logos


Tum'ah: Ritual impurity or fear of contagious disease? by Dr.Yitzhaq Feder for thetorah.com


Leviticus 12, Leviticus 13, Leviticus 14, Leviticus 15, JPSTORAHLEV