Ritual purity

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In many religions, ritual or cultic purity is the state of a person that allows them to enter the holy places and take part in the cult . The ancient world also knew ritual acts of purity at social events such as a symposium .

Religion and morals

In the history of religion , a progressive shift in the concept of purity from the cultic-ritual to the moral-interpersonal level can be observed:

In the Middle Ages, cleaning silk became a procedural element of the judiciary in order to get rid of one's guilt or to testify to one's innocence .

Ritual impurity caused by natural processes (such as menstruation , childbirth , leprosy ), by contact with unclean things ( faeces , carcasses , corpses , etc.) or people ( unbelievers , pagans , without caste or untouchables ), by a moral wrongdoing ( sin ) or also by killing an enemy in war. For atonement or to regain purity, there are often precisely prescribed traditions and rituals , for example in the form of an offering , a pilgrimage or a mortification . The lost purity can also be achieved through body cleansing such as B. foot washing or fasting can be restored.

In the moral sense, purity means adherence to virtue , especially chastity ; in the religious sense, it can also be unaffected. In Hinduism, for example , ritual purity means that there is no contact with people of a lower caste . Its opposite is impurity . In a broader sense, one speaks of purity in Zen Buddhism when someone acts unaffected and free from external influences. In the state of Wu Wei one acts from the moment without judgment or thought analysis. This is one of the most essential practices of many spiritual movements. This condition is not given in all traditions from birth, but must often be acquired through an act of initiation , for example in the Catholic Church through baptism , which is a prerequisite for communion . Islam knows two types of ritual cleansing of the body: the 'little ablution' before prayer ( wuḍūʾ ) and the 'great ablution' ( ghusl ).

See also


Web links

Wikiquote: Purity  - Quotes


  1. See also Gerhard Eis : Cultic Chastity in Medieval Wound Medicine. In: Medical monthly. 10, 1956, pp. 617-619; also in: Gerhard Eis: Before and after Paracelsus. Investigations into Hohenheim's ties to tradition and news about his followers. Stuttgart 1965 (= Medicine in History and Culture. Volume 8), pp. 29–36.