Aqua Pura: On the Purification of Religious Subjects and Aqueous Objects
Richardson, Kurt Anders
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This paper is concerned with the significant symbolic and ritual applications of water in the Christian religion. The presence of water both actual and figural in the Christian tradition stretches back to pre-Christian Judaism and the history of water as it appears in the scriptural accounts. The history of the relation between water and Christian faith and ideas begins in the religions of Israel and extends continuously up to the present. This history is marked by the geography, ancient politics, and anthropology of water and water usage, such that the scriptures cannot be properly understood without taking these into account. In recent eco-theological reflection, water has become an object of renewed religious concern. The author reflects on how the Christian symbolism of water sets up a reciprocal relation between water as a religious, as well as a natural, resource.