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What is the source of women's ritual uncleanliness?

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2014/12/15 15:26:51 (permalink)

What is the source of women's ritual uncleanliness?

I've been reading your site www.womenpriests.org , and a few other sources about this issue (Women's 'Ritual Uncleanliness') and cannot seem to get to the bottom of it, and thought perhaps you may be able to help. 
 
What is the absolute origin of the 'taboo' on the menstrual blood of women within the Catholic Church? (and the Jewish tradition, and the other where places it has arisen over time and place, although I am particularly interested in the Catholic Church, having been brought up within that tradition) - please bear in mind, I have read and understood the information on your site, so I mean underlying that, predating it and being causal to it.
 
I understand it has been codified in such things as the Corpus Iuris Canonici and Codex Iuris Canonici. I tried to find a way of reading the original Corpus Iuris Canonici, and found a complete 1582 version online, but of course it was in Latin, and my Latin is only school-girl.
 
Surely all this cannot be down to a few verses in Leviticus that I have seen quoted most often as the source of the issue?

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    Re: What is the source of women's ritual uncleanliness? 2014/12/15 15:29:00 (permalink)
    You are quite right.
     
    For Christians, the immediate source for women’s uncleanliness was Leviticus and, perhaps, local pagan traditions. But underlying and predating Leviticus there has been a much older and general fear about ‘a woman’s blood’.
     
    If I am not mistaken, the person who has done some research on this is: Janet Martin Soskice, for instance in:  ‘Blood and Defilement’, ET: Journal of the European Society for Catholic Theology [Tübingen: Heft 2, 1994], abridged in Bulletin of Harvard Divinity School, January 1995). She may have published more on this elsewhere.
     
    You must look for the deeper source in the kind of cultural imagery that we talk about in THE BODY IS SACRED. See here: http://www.thebodyissacred.org/origin/inferior.asp.  See also ancient Greek & Gnostic myths etc. in the “Sex in Tradition” section of the website.
     
    Also related:
    http://www.womenpriests.org/body/ranke.asp
    http://www.womenpriests.org/theology/archer.asp
     
    I hope that this will be of some assistance to you,
     
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    Re: What is the source of women's ritual uncleanliness? 2015/07/30 20:53:17 (permalink)
    Even today, menstrual blood is assigned special powers in some select circles:
    Do you think that this will stop my boyfriend from cheating?okay i heard about this spell. basically i'd have to bake him a cake and put yeast from my underwear inside the cake. then, i'd have to urinate in a cup and take one teaspoon of the urine and put it in some juice for him to drink. then i'd have to cook him spaghetti and take some of my menstrual blood and mix it in the sauce. my friend did it and her boyfriend would only want to sleep with her, he never cheated on her. i want to try it ? i mean, what's the worst that could happen? he would never know.. right?
     
    Meanwhile, on a health site, I found a progressive secular point-of-view:
     
    It is common for people to avoid having sexual intercourse during menstruation.  The menstrual blood, tampons, and sanitary pads can potentially get in the way of the “mood.” There are are also certain religions and beliefs that females during menstruation are “unclean.”  However, there are many benefits to having sex during menstruation and many crafty ways to avoid the mess! When practiced safely, sexual intercourse during menstruation is a safe, natural act and causes no harm to either partner (source=http://www.soc.ucsb.edu/sexinfo/article/sex-your-period),
     
    Early on, my wife and I noticed that Moses (Exodus 24) sprinkled blood (not holy water) on the people as an important part of a ceremony commanded by God.  This blood represented joining in a covenant (partnership) with God.  Thus, when my penis emerged coated in blood during our love-making, my wife and I began more and more to consider this as the blood of our covenant with each other and with God.  In time, the pleasure of discovering this blood completely replaced the earlier annoyances. 
     
    With some trepidation, I brought this issue up with my adult students.  Women admitted to having a negative outlook on their "menstrual blood" that reached back to the shock of their first flow.  But then three or four admitted to deliberately having a family celebration for their daughters at the time of their first menstrual blood.  When it came to intercourse, however, four out of five admitted that they instinctively abstained from sex during the menstrual period.  This did this not because of any religious prohibition but because of the secrecy and shame surrounded menstruation as teenagers.  One out of five, however, had overcome this.  As it turned out, I was the only one who celebrated the appearance of menstrual blood.
     
    So, I did some online research and found this: "The actual act of menstruation is not dirty, or unclean, or demeaning, or shameful. It is a disease-fighting, age-fighting, mood-enhancing marvel" (details here=https://meninmenstruation.wordpress.com/tag/menstrual/page/4/).
     
    Finally, thanks to Alex, we have this very powerful testimony:
     
    I [Alex] therefore offered to give her as much very delicate oral sex during her period. We tried it and it was a great success. After two or three months of applying this she was a new woman. Her monthly pain prison became a special sensual time. Not just for her was it a eye opening. I had overcome my revulsion of ingesting menstrual blood in order to please her, to free her from pain and yes to be fair to maybe influence her attitudes to her giving of oral sex. I actually grew to love it and find it a beautiful thing. I was eating something of her and by doing so I destroyed completely the idea of menstruation being disgusting, that had been lurking in her mind too. It increased my sex drive quite a lot too (source=https://meninmenstruation.wordpress.com/2010/03/03/mens-guide-on-how-to-be-a-better-boyfriendhusband-during-her-period/#comment-202774).
     
    Fraternally,
    Prof. Aaron Milavec
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    Re: What is the source of women's ritual uncleanliness? 2015/08/23 22:59:34 (permalink)
    The prohibitions in the Bible many times served to protect people from disease. In terms of Creation, God created females to have menstrual cycles as part of His plan for pro-creation. If we remember, God declared what He created was "Good." As such, God is not going to be disgusted by what He created. Human beings find blood acceptable . . . or disgusting. People in ancient times accepted that women bled, no doubt came to associate an absence of monthly blood with pregnancy, and perhaps were still mystified by the meaning of it all. In today's world, chronic illness is becoming the norm. Epidemics are becoming commonplace, also. Consider what is referred to as Lyme Disease. To drum up support for a dangerous vaccine, the CDC now admits at least 300,000 people are contracting Lyme Disease every year. If you study Lyme, you will find out it is now a world-wise disease. Although I believe research will uncover that "bird flu" is actually Lyme Disease in birds and poultry--and transmission around the world is made easy because birds migrate--researchers are studying maternal transmission and hopefully, in the future, sexual transmission of Lyme Disease. There are actual cases documented of maternal transmission of Lyme Disease--yet no research studies on sexual transmission. However, since "sex is sexy," we can't blame Dr. Phil and others from trying to increase viewership--especially during ratings week--by implying Lyme Disease might be sexually transmissible. Also, if those holding the purse strings, for research, fear getting Lyme Disease through sexual transmission--we might see a lot of purse strings opened for more research on Lyme Disease. Although I do not believe Lyme Disease is sexually transmissible, under normal conditions, there has been a complete abdication of responsibility on the part of Lyme activists and researchers--and the CDC--to add a cautionary facet to the accumulating knowledge of Lyme Disease. A mother shares blood with her offspring, during pregnancy. So, it becomes easy to understand maternal transmission of Lyme Disease.  Until much more is known about Lyme Disease--why not add a note of caution to Lyme Disease recommendations? This would consist of the recommendation of abstaining from sex--and oral sex--during menstrual cycles. Please watch "Under our Skin" on Hulu.com--for free, to learn about Lyme Disease. Someone you love might have it--or get it. To conclude, the "unclean" status of menstrual blood, in the Bible, might be to protect people from blood-born diseases. The precautions are stated for food and for skin conditions, such as Leprosy, in the Bible--and it wouldn't hurt us to suppose that God worked this out, by calling menstrual blood unclean, for our own health.
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