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Dissertation on ProQuest

March 3, 2011

Apparently my Dissertation is now on ProQuest:


Both Ugaritic and biblical texts contain rites whereby the status of an individual is temporarily enhanced to distinguish that person from other ritual participants or society in general. These rites enable such a person to function in proximity to the deity in cultic activities or to be analogically associated with those who so function. These rites differ from rites of crises (such as purification rites) and from rites of transition (passage) in that they have calculated performances at the beginning and end that mark the initiation and termination of the status change. The status change does not begin inadvertently nor is it intended to last indefinitely.

Ugaritic materials display rites of temporary cultic status change in ritual and narrative texts. The ritual texts describe rites whereby the Ugaritic king is sacralized and desacralized in order to perform certain cultic functions. The sacral status is created by a rite in which the king washes himself pure and terminated by a rite possibly involving cultic functionaries. The narrative texts provide another example in the story of Aqhatu, where a rite in the narrative allows the ritual participant (Dani’ilu) cultic access otherwise unavailable.

Examples from the Bible are in texts that broadly belong to the priestly tradition: the Priestly Torah, Holiness School, and cultic material in Ezekiel. The temporary status change of the Nazirite to one analogous to the high priest in Numbers 6 and the temporary access to the holy of holies given the high priest in Leviticus 16 serve as a basis for examining temporary rites of cultic transition in the Bible.

The significance of this newly identified class of rituals lies in their particular social and religious function. Rites of temporary cultic transition allow access to the cult for those normally outside its confines, allowing those outside the cult to approximate the status of regularly installed functionaries. They can even temporarily enhance the status of permanently installed cultic functionaries to perform ad hoc or irregular ritual activities. As such they reinforce the importance of these categories while allowing the opportunity to transcend them for a limited time.

Yup. That’s what I wrote.

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