Talk:Tumah and taharah

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Title[edit]

This is a much needed article. However, I propose moving it to Tum'ah. If there's no objection, I'll do the move in a few days. --Eliyak T·C 20:25, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

I got redirected here from "ritual impurity" but religions other than Judaism also have concepts of ritual impurity, e.g. menstrual taboos. I think you were a bit over zealous in this redirect.Jsonitsac 00:07, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

I agree with Jsonitsac. I was looking for something on ritual impurity as a basis for clerical celibacy in the Roman Catholic Church when I wound up here. Jhobson1 (talk) 13:47, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

IT'S NAT A TUMAH!!! —Preceding unsigned comment added by 93.73.230.207 (talk) 11:45, 15 January 2011 (UTC)

What's the benefit of foreign language here??[edit]

Another article where it isn't immediately obvious why it doesn't follow en.Wikipedia naming convention. The Hebrew terms tumah/tame and taharah/tahor refer to ritual "cleanliness and uncleanliness", and are perfectly as understandable in English (or French, Spanish etc) so why not just have an article ritual purity (Judaism)? Please see Wikipedia:Naming conventions (use English):

The title of an article should generally use the version of the name of the subject which is most common in the English language, as you would find it in reliable sources

In ictu oculi (talk) 09:58, 3 September 2011 (UTC)

Google Book hits:

  • tumah alone gets 13,300
  • unclean + Israel gets 121,000
  • tumah + Leviticus 2,790
  • unclean + Leviticus 39,100
  • tumah + Judaism 3,300
  • unclean + Judaism 31,100

could go on but illustrates the point, this article fails WP:EN+WP:IRS and needs to be moved to something in English. But what? In ictu oculi (talk) 10:07, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

Per Ritual washing in Judaism, suggest Ritual purity in Judaism. In ictu oculi (talk) 02:45, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
That would be the best name in English. Debresser (talk) 06:09, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Thanks Debresser. And already on the public-facing side of the relevant template. There's a problem with Google Book hits, the long tail. But a tighter result from Google Scholar.
Google Scholar "ritual purity" + Judaism OR Israel 4,090 compared to picking up "tumah" at 703. "Taharah" misleads as it mainly means "Sunni Islamic purity code (taharah)" In ictu oculi (talk) 07:41, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: page not moved per discussion. - GTBacchus(talk) 15:13, 29 September 2011 (UTC)


tumah and taharahRitual purity in Judaism - for three reasons: (i)Wikipedia:naming conventions (use English), (ii) WP:IRS per Google Scholar] hits etc., (iii) disambiguation from same term taharah in Arabic. NB: Requested move for taharah to Ritual purity in Islam proposed separately, on similar 3 reasons, but to be weighed on own merits. Also (iv) consistency with Ritual washing in Judaism article. In ictu oculi (talk) 08:22, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

  • Agree, as I stated above. Debresser (talk) 14:32, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose I do not see a favorable connection between the term ritual and the contents of this article. That term connotes limited, cult-like types of action, whereas the laws of Tumah and Taharah in Judaism are intended for nation-wide use by all children of Israel -old and young, male and female.--Marecheth Ho'eElohuth (talk) 20:09, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
NB taharah now redirects to ritual purity in Islam. In ictu oculi (talk) 03:48, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose The article is appropriately named now–including as it does the correct applicable terms for uncleanliness and cleanliness. These are related though opposite concepts. I feel that the term "ritual" detracts from the the concepts in the terms "tumah" and "taharah". Bus stop (talk) 04:05, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

So what *is* the preferred English?[edit]

Following the lack of consensus, partly due to objections to the word "ritual" - despite the fact that "ritual" is used for other Wikipedia articles on "ritual" cleanness/uncleanness or purity in Ancient Near East religions / Judaism / Christianity / Islam / etc. - we are still left with an article which thinks it is wiktionary, giving a lot of Hebrew terms for texts which use "make clean" "be clean" "cleanness" etc. without doing much more than restate the English with random sowing of foreign language terminology counter WP:EN and WP:RS/WP:PSTS. This in largely badly written (with all respect to non-native speaker participation in en.wikipedia) and obscure sentences. And despite the Hebrew dictionary approach of the article some of the texts cited are actually in Aramaic, which is a related but different set of foreign language terms anyway. In ictu oculi (talk) 14:16, 1 October 2011 (UTC)

Under purification[edit]

Hey everyone! I'm a student at Miami University and I thought that this would fit well under purification:

In an academic article by Christine Hayes, she argues that ritual impurity is the reason for the Gentile expulsion and alienation that occurs in Ezra-Nehemiah. <ref>Hayes, C. (1999). Intermarriage and impurity in ancient Jewish sources. Harvard Theological Review, 92(01), 11.</ref> However, in another academic article, Olyan presents the argument that Ezra/Nehemiah's attempt of the restoration of Israel to it's original state was expressed through the expulsion and alienation of foreign peoples that was caused by both ritual and moral impurities.. The Judean people believed that Israel contained the holy seed, and through contamination of the holy seed (with unholy seed) the bloodline would be polluted. Olyan argues that there were different actions that were categorized by the Judean people as ritual impurity and moral impurity. Moral impurity can simply be removed, as in physical removal or separation between groups. This is originally what caused the expulsion of the Gentile people. They simply needed to be removed from the Judean environment and then the environment would be considered pure once again. However, ritual impurity is much more serious. Olyan argues that ritual impurity infects and pollutes covenants, thus a religious ritual must be performed to rid the infection from the people group. In Ezra and Nehemiah, an argument is shaped through both moral and ritual impurity that leads to the expulsion and alienation of the Gentiles. <ref>Olyan, S. M. (2004). Purity ideology in Ezra-Nehemiah as a tool to reconstitute the community. Journal for the Study of Judaism, 35(1), 1-16.</ref> Grahamcrackered (talk) 18:21, 29 April 2015 (UTC)

Grahamcrackered, this could be a good place to discuss their work. But aren't you mistaken about Hayes? And why is this placed under the heading, Causes of impurity, which seems quite unrelated? If you shift to moral impurity, would make sense to mention Klawans, too. Your paraphrase is currently framed to emphasis Ezra-Nehemiah (e.g., look at the stress position of sentences and the paragraph). For this article, you could reframe the same content but emphasize their points about purity/impurity, probably best to use E-N as an example or as evidence for their view of purity. Be sure to add the course banner at the top of this Talk page. ProfGray (talk) 20:43, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
I removed this section. First of all, because we should not go too deeply into the arguments of academics bickering about their theories. Secondly, because WTF, "contamination of the holy seed", "rid the infection from the people"?! Where do these ideas come from? Debresser (talk) 22:30, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
Hi, Debresser. As you can see above, I was also concerned about that section. However, I'd ask you to please explain your objections. On your first point: What Wikipedia principle or policy states that articles should not delve too deeply into academic theories? This strikes me as incorrect, especially when the theories are found in reliable sources (and, in this case, quite notable in the academic literature). Second, what Wikipedia guidance suggests that as an editor you should reject scholarship because you Don't Like It? I think it's fine to bring in reliable sources that differ with Olyan, but isn't your personal WTF rather irrelevant for deciding what goes into the encyclopedia? Thanks for your response, I think this will help students learn more about collaborative editing on Wikipedia. ProfGray (talk) 13:11, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
Hello, ProfGray. Regarding my first point, please see WP:NOTTEXTBOOK.
My second point is more based on the inherent assumption that theories that sound far-fetched should not receive prominence. This would be related to and inspired by WP:UNDUE. Olyan's theory, in the way it is brought here, including ascribing what I would perceive as expressions of extreme xenophobia to the ancient Israelites, triggers such a suspicion.
I don't think you can disagree with my first point, which make the discussion of my second point redundant. Nevertheless, to help you achieve one of your stated goals, learn about collaborative editing, I would like to make one suggestion, that could help solve two problems. If you'd use another academic source, describing Olyan's theory, then possibly 1. that fact alone could prove the notability of his theory, and 2. the language would likely be less extreme. Debresser (talk) 22:51, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
Hi. While I appreciate your citing WP:NOTTEXTBOOK, Debresser, that policy is about genre -- i.e., Wikipedia should read like an encyclopedia, not a textbook, so no problem sets or Q&A style, etc. But that policy says nothing about content and nothing against going in-depth with scholarly argumentation. Indeed, there are many Wikipedia articles about scholarly theories and many that contain both general info and scholarship.
I greatly appreciate your suggesting a compromise or way for you to feel more comfortable with Olyan. Let me respond hopefully in the same spirit. 1. Klawans and Hayes are two other scholars who have addressed the impurity discourse of Ezra-Nehemiah; their work is highly regarded. We've read several others as well... Olyan is not the most radical in his findings or language. 2. Olyan himself is a leading Biblical scholar in the U.S., holding a distinguished chair at an Ivy League school, with peer-reviewed books by the very top academic publishers. The article cited by Grahamcrackered is published in a top tier academic journal JSJ (Brill in Leiden, fyi). 3. Olyan did not use the word "infect," but Olyan does say intermarriages "defile" and "pollute" so I think Grahamcrackered's paraphrase is understandable. 4. I'd be glad to email you copies of Olyan article or other scholars on E-N impurity. Meanwhile, it's be helpful if you would restore Grahamcrackered's paragraph and propose specific revisions within it. It's fine to add balance or context with other scholars, but that's not a reason to delete Olyan's notable position, based as it is on topnotch scholarship. Thanks! ProfGray (talk) 02:39, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
I am afraid I have to disagree with you on almost everything you say.
  1. From the general context of WP:NOT it is clear that WP:NOTTEXTBOOK most certainly concerns the question of what kind of content is fit for inclusion in Wikipedia, and not the question of what style to write articles on Wikipedia in.
  2. According to WP:CONSENSUS and more specifically WP:BRD, it would be incorrect to restore this paragraph while its content is under discussion. Rather, as soon as there is consensus regarding how the paragraph should read, that rewritten paragraph can be added.
  3. On a general note, please consider that the scholarly contributions in the field of, let's say, the shoe-size of Napoleon may be very notable for those who study shoe-size in French history, but the notability guidelines of Wikipedia concern notability for the general public.
  4. You misunderstood my request for other scholars. I did not mean to ask for the opinions of other scholars who discuss the same subject as Olyan. I meant to ask for other scholars who discuss Olyan's findings and conclusions. They, likely, would use more moderate and balanced expressions.
  5. In general, we should be careful not to represent the most extreme of theories as standard. This is part of WP:UNDUE. If two other scholars have more moderate theories, and they are just as notable, then it would be a misrepresentation of the subject to bring here only Olyan's more extreme opinion. Unfortunately, I am not an expert in this field, and therefore can not assess in how far Olyan's opinions are mainstream , but this is something that should be considered when asking ourselves, which opinions to include in a Wikipedia article. Debresser (talk) 21:39, 2 May 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Olyan's view is mainstream, not extreme, Debresser. He is a distinguished scholar, published by the top academic presses, and he is commenting on Klawans, whose book won awards by the American Academy for Jewish Research and the American Academy of Religion, and on Hayes, a distinguished scholar at Yale, who book was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. If you want to cite Biblical scholars with comparable records and different views, that'd be terrific.

  • Furthermore, Olyan's 2004 article already has 23 academic citations, which is excellent. See this G-Scholar search
  • Your #2 is misdirected, I'm afraid. "The notability guideline does not determine the content of articles, but only whether the topic should have its own article." See WP:N
  • Maybe we should discuss WP:NOTTEXTBOOK on its Talk page. It says, "Wikipedia articles should not read like:" a textbook. That doesn't limit the discussion of Biblical analysis by academics. It then says, "It is not appropriate to create or edit articles that read as textbooks, with leading questions and systematic problem solutions as examples." Again, nothing limiting scholarly claims or analysis.

Olyan, Hayes, and Klawans are reliable sources. If you object, please bring this up at WP:RSN and ping me. We can put their words in quotes, if you don't like their terminology. But their research merits inclusion in WP. Please do us the courtesy of actually reading Olyan's article and proposing a revised paraphrase. Thanks! ProfGray (talk) 17:31, 3 May 2015 (UTC) Ping to our course ambassador User:SuperHamster and WEF advisor User: Ryan (Wiki Ed), to ensure that my responses here are civil and consistent with WP policies. ProfGray (talk) 17:35, 3 May 2015 (UTC)

ProfGray, please stop waiving Olyan's credentials in my face, because nobody is contesting them.
Olyan uses rather strong expressions, and I think we should not quote them verbatim. I am not claiming his theories are not mainstream, but his points of view surely can be conveyed in less offending form.
My #2 is not misguided, since it is not based on the notability guidelines, but on WP:BRD, as I stated clearly.
I had another careful look at WP:NOTTEXTBOOK, and even though I agree writing an article in textbook style is also a bad idea, I clearly understand from the whole of that paragraph and its context, that it is first of all a content guideline. Please note that the section is called "Encyclopedic content".
I will not do you the courtesy to read any article, per this. You want to add a text, you write it in a way that is acceptable.
Please also review WP:REHASH.
Debresser (talk) 22:26, 3 May 2015 (UTC)
Hi again. From what I can tell, you are objecting to a reliable source because you personally find it "extreme," "strong", and "offending" (your terms). Debresser, you don't want the scholar's words quoted verbatim and you don't want the editor's (Grahamcrackered) paraphrase. Is there a Wikipedia policy that requires articles to tone down academic language so as to not offend editors?
(Pardon my mistake: my point about notability was directed to your #3, not #2.)
You are familiar with Wikipedia many guidelines, which is admirable. But kindly be more precise. Ours isn't "tendentious" editing because, contrary to the essay you linked, I'm not asking you to find a source -- we already cited a reliable source for the statement. You don't have to read the reliable source. But if you don't read it, on what reasonable basis can you assert that a paraphrase ("infect") is unacceptable? Especially if you won't accept a direct quote ("defile") from that source? Thanks for discussing your concerns, ProfGray (talk) 23:10, 3 May 2015 (UTC)