Mary Douglas’s Holiness/Wholeness Paradigm: Its Potential for Insight and its Limitations

Saul M. Olyan


The strengths and weaknesses of Mary Douglas’s holiness/wholeness paradigm, in which she links the idea of holiness directly to physical wholeness, are critically assessed in this article. Several examples of fruitful elaboration of the paradigm by biblical scholars are considered in some detail. In addition, the author suggests some ways in which the paradigm might be modified in order to explain better the biblical data concerning physical wholeness.

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