Purity and Pollution in Jewish, Muslim, and Christian Societies and Thought from Late Antiquity to the High Middle Ages

Location: Jerusalem Global Gateway

A joint workshop of the University of Notre Dame and the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies

Cartres Image

Purity and its antithesis, pollution, were dominant cultural themes in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim societies from Late Antiquity to the Central Middle Ages (circa 4th–13th centuries). They were essential elements in issues of moral conduct, law, theology, liturgy, statecraft, and environment; moreover, they were ways of articulating reality, expressing religious and social aspirations, and of drawing increasingly more subtle conceptual borders between social categories and groups.

The Israel Institute for Advanced Studies research group dedicated to studying “Purity and Pollution” during the 2021–2022 academic year is therefore holding a collaborative workshop with the University of Notre Dame’s Department of Theology and Nanovic Institute for European Studies, in order to bring together the scholars from a variety of disciplines, at both institutions, who are working on this theme.


This workshop is funded by the Crown-Minow Endowment for Jewish Studies and the Kurt and Tessye Simon Endowment for Excellence for Jewish Studies of the Department of Theology at the University of Notre Dame, and a grant from Notre Dame's Nanovic Institute for European Studies; and co-hosted by the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies and the University of Notre Dame Jerusalem Global Gateway.

View speakers and more details

Photo by Rolf Kranz, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0