Mixed Linens / Old Testament law question
#1
Not sure where to post this, so here goes. In another thread about tattoos, someone had mentioned the ban on mixed linens in the Old Testament, and it got me thinking, why? I've read how many of the OT laws had an alternative purpose as well, beyond something as simple as "the Lord said to." For example, the ban on eating pork has often been described as having the benefit of preventing trichinosis and other porcine related diseases, which would have been of greater concern in that era due to a lack of refrigeration and sanitation. The ban on harvesting fruit and grains more than once in Leviticus specifically mentions that this will ensure there is something for the poor in the community. Likewise, I've read that the ban on tattoos is to avoid getting marked as the Israelites' pagan neighbors (no, I'm not criticizing modern tattoos). But not mixing fabrics? Anyone more versed in Biblical history have some insight?
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#2
I'm not sure exactly myself, but I do want to add that the reason why circumcision was done on a specific day had to do with how well the blood would clot on that particular day, so a lot of them make sense in hindsight and from a cultural context. Because of the addition of "for the dead" in the tattoo-related one, I would imagine it had to do with a specific pagan ritual.

-drops off my two cents-
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#3
Again, I give my disclaimer: I am not a very educated theologian but this was covered with us in religion class a long time ago.

Back when the OT was written, when two fabrics were mixed (in this case, wool and linen), washing them would be unfeasible.  One would shrink, the garment would lose its shape and then it would be unwearable.  It’s the same today when say a jacket has an inner lining and must be dry cleaned: to avoid the lining from shrinking and having to toss the whole jacket.

Mixing fabrics would be a way to extend the ability to use one material.  Wool is more expensive than linen.  If we mix linen with the wool, we can extend the use of wool.  But then, we’re back to shrinking and waste.  So, what the OT is saying here is in order to retain the quality of a good, keep it pure.  The better the purity, the more quality it has.

God wants us to keep our purity as people.  We shouldn’t engage in wasteful things or anything that lessens our quality. 

If look at it from a historical perspective, it was a way to denote class and respect.  The high priests at the time would have worn garments with intricate sewing, embroidery and decoration.  In order to craft such decorations, fancy threads would have to be woven and dyed to specifics.  High quality threads would come from animals that provided wool (sheep, goats, maybe camels) while the other components of the garments would be made from linen.  People in poorer classes or the average situation could not afford such woolen decorations and they could only live in linen.  So, mixing materials would be an act of disrespect towards religious leaders and the upper echelons of society. 

I’m not an OT scholar so I can’t pick out the exact references about this but I think there is something in Exodus.

So, yeah, I’m ready to be told I’m wrong.


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#4
Good answer, Z. I for one much prefer allegorical interpretations than the boring historical-critical method.

Now, I believe it would be of much good for the Church and the world for the Pope to issue a motu proprio prohibiting mixing polyester with cotton or wool.
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#5
I believe that it is more in line with God not wanting the Israelites to mix pagan worship with worship of the true God. It is the same reason why we do not receive Holy Communion in Protestant churches. 
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#6
See, and here I though this was going to be a thread about why God banned polyester.  :LOL:
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#7
If God banned polyester, less people would catch on fire around me.  Just sayin'.
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#8
(06-06-2016, 12:08 AM)Zubr Wrote: If God banned polyester, less people would catch on fire around me.  Just sayin'.

Well, now you must tell us this story....
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#9
Would I have to start another thread?  :LOL: I have a feeling more answers have to come to this thread and I don't want to turn it into burning people!  :LOL:
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#10
"Polyester vestments make this closet a darker place, Father."
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