Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception (Berlin/Boston: Walter de Gruyter, 2015)
3 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2016
Date Written: December 8, 2015
This article is confined to incest in the narrow sense of sexual unions between kin members. Contrary to other types of incest, the licentiousness of this conduct is portrayed as a combination of the identical, i.e., sexual union between two persons who share a component that is essential to their being, whether tangible (sperm, breath, blood, bone, flesh, milk, etc.) or intangible (soul, name, etc.). Does this phenomenon epitomize the predicament of incest or is it only a definitional constituent of incest? This question hovers over the Jewish musings on close-kin marriages during the Middle Ages.
Keywords: Incest, medieval, law, kinship, Karaites, Maimonides, Nachmanides, exogamy, Philo, Gershonides, Jewish mysticism, close kin marriages
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