Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Jubilees, Genesis 1-2, and Leviticus 12

In Enoch and the Mosaic Torah: The Evidence of Jubilees, Lutz Doering has an essay on "Purity and Impurity in the Book of Jubilees".

Genesis 1 appears to present the first woman as being created at the same time as the first man, whereas the creation account in Genesis 2 says that the woman was created after the man and was brought to him.  According to Doering, Jubilees 3:8 attempts to harmonize this by saying that Adam and Eve were both created in the first week, but Eve was shown to Adam in the second week.  Why?

Doering maintains that Jubilees' use of Leviticus 12 is relevant to this question.  According to Leviticus 12, a woman who gives birth to a boy is unclean for seven days and is in a process of purification for thirty-three days, during which time she cannot touch a holy thing.  If she gives birth to a female, then her time of impurity is fourteen days, and her process of purification lasts for sixty-six days.  After her purification, the woman brings to the Tabernacle a burnt offering and a sin offering.  Jubilees 3:10-11 mentions this law about the purification of the woman, but Jubilees 3 holds that Eve was impure for seven days after her creation and then was brought to her husband, and that Adam and Eve were created outside of the Garden, as Adam was brought in after a purification time of forty days, and Eve after a purification time of eighty days (see Jubilees 3).  The Garden was a holy place, and so Adam and Eve needed to be pure before entering it.

But Eve was not a mother at the time, so how could Leviticus 12 apply to her?  Doering plays with the idea that there was an ancient Jewish view that Leviticus 12 applied to the child, not just the mother, which may be implying that Adam and Eve were technically children in the sense that God brought them into being.  But Doering finds that argument to be inconclusive.  Doering concludes that "Adam and his wife represent human beings (construed as Israelites) confronted with the sanctuary and become part of the life cycle entailing defilement" (page 263).  Moreover, Doering states that Adam and Eve in Jubilees become pure simply by waiting, for they don't bring sacrifices as part of their purification, as there was not yet a priesthood.  It's interesting what laws Jubilees thinks were applicable prior to Sinai, and which laws were not.  Because Cain, Abel, and Noah offered sacrifices, I do not think that the absence of the priesthood accounts for why Adam and Eve did not bring sacrifices as part of their purification.  Perhaps Adam and Eve didn't do so in Jubilees because animals were not killed before the sin of Adam and Eve.

Doering also talks about how Jubilees aims to keep sex out of the Garden of Eden, the reason being that sex was ritually defiling (Leviticus 15:18).  Consequently, in Jubilees, Adam and Eve have sex before and after their time in the Garden, but not during.  Doering mentions Qumran's prohibition on sex in the Temple city, and the ban in CD 11:4-5 and Jubilees 50:8 on having sex on the Sabbath, a holy day.  (Jubilees even mandates the death penalty for that.)  There is an attempt to protect the holy from the ritually defiling.  This stood out to me because I have heard that Judaism considers it a mitzvah to have sex on the Sabbath (see here).

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