Gentile Impurities and Jewish Identities : Intermarriage and Conversion from the Bible to the Talmud

Professor of Religious Studies in Classical Judaica Christine E Hayes
Oxford University Press, USA

In ancient Jewish culture the ideas of purity and impurity defined the socio-cultural boundaries between Jews and Gentiles. Hayes argues that different views of the possibility of conversion, based on varying ideas about Gentile impurity, were the key factor in the formation of Jewish sects in the second temple period, and in the separation of the early Christian Church from what later became rabbinic Judaism.