Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Holy Seed: What Makes It Holy?

"But in this will we consent unto you: If ye will be as we [be,] that every male of you be circumcised; Then will we give our daughters unto you, and we will take your daughters to us, and we will dwell with you, and we will become one people," (Gen 34:15-16)  
"For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands: yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass, (Ezra 9:2)

Here's Barclay discussing some ancient sources on the subject of "alien seed" vs. "holy seed":

"We should note in this context the importance of circumcision, though its connection to this topic is rarely noticed.  One of the most important functions of circumcision was in identifying with whom a Jewess may have sexual intercourse.  A foundational text here was the story of Dinah and the Shechemites (Gen 34):  that makes clear that Dinah could not be married to a man with a foreskin (Gen 34.14), while if the Shechemites were to institute circumcision they could freely intermarry, and could count as members of the same race (34.15-16).  In line with this tradition, Josephus records examples of Gentile men who were required to get circumcised and adopt Jewish ways before marrying members of the Herodian family (Ant 20.139, 145-46).  The social function of circumcision is made explicit in Josephus' remark that it was instituted to prevent Abraham's offspring from mixing with others (Ant 1.192).  It fulfilled this function by making it taboo for Jewish women to receive from an uncircumcised man what Philo called 'alien seed' (Quaest Gen 3.61)....In any case, the issue of exogamy was more critical in the case of Jewish girls since in pre-Mishnaic Judaism (as Cohen 1986 has argued) the offspring followed the ethnic status of the father rather than the mother.  Thus the greatest responsibility for the ethnic continuity of Judaism lay with Jewish girls (or rather, their fathers, who preserved their virginity and arranged their marriages)," pg. 411 of Jews in the Mediterranean Diaspora by Barclay

1 comment:

  1. Shalom Peter,

    May you and yours be richly blessed for your laudable efforts to bring the written instruction of the Most High to all bene Adam.

    On the subject of circumcision and what makes one seed kodesh and another not, I would refer to scripture. And while the subject that I would address is considered controversial by some, it is nonetheless relevant. I submit that it is not that of bene Y'israel that is kodesh, but that of bene Adam. It is the nephilim that are not.

    The entirety of the nations that were condemned to destruction by Y'israel were singularly distinguished as nephilim. While this topic is argued ad nausium, there is no controversy in the p'shat of Berashit 6 or 10.

    Shechem was the son of Hamor the Hivite.

    Bearshit 10:15 Kena‘an fathered Tzidon his firstborn, Het, 16: the Y’vusi, the Emori, the Girgashi,17: the Hivi, the ‘Arki, the Sini, 18 the Arvadi, the Tz’mari and the Hamati.

    The entirety of the scriptural record illustrates the war of His chosen with the demon seed. So I find it conspicuous in its absence here. The only exceptions of the tribes of Kena‘ani to this order of utter obliteration are the children of Mo'av, Amon and Edom because they were protected under the covenants of either Yitz’chak or Ya‘akov.

    That's my take anyway.