But one point of Semitic religion never penetrated west of the Halys: the pig was always unclean and abhorred among the Semites, whereas it was the animal regularly used in purification by the Phrygians, Lydians, Lycians and Greeks.
In the 3rd century this love of mystification reached the pitch of hiding even the gospels from the unclean eyes of pagans.
Holiness is dangerous and may even involve degradation, as in the case of the Burmese para-gyoon or servitor of the pagoda who is by heredity for ever a slave and outcast, unclean of the unclean, with whom none may eat or intermarry, yet ever tending and keeping clean the shrine.
In primitive cults the distinction between sacred and unclean is far from complete or well defined (see Taboo); consequently we find two types of cathartic sacrifice - (i.) one to cleanse of impurity and make fit for common use, (ii.) the other to rid of sanctity and in like manner render suitable for human use or intercourse.
The Passover was kept in the first month on the 14th day of the month at even in the wilderness of Sinai; but certain men, unclean by touching a dead body, asked what they should do; they were to keep it on the second month on the 14th day, eating it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs, leaving none of it until the morning, nor breaking a bone.
In the Old and New Testaments the dog is spoken of almost with abhorrence; it ranked amongst the unclean beasts: traffic in it was considered as an abomination, and it was forbidden to he offered in the sanctuary in the discharge of any vow.
He then turned from them to the multitude, and uttered a saying which in effect annulled the Jewish distinction between clean and unclean meats.
A precedent for making such oblations elsewhere than in the temple had been afforded by the Essenes, who had endeavoured in that way to avoid the contact with unclean persons and things which a resort to the temple might have involved (Jos.
This collection of laws comprises four main sections relating to (1) clean and unclean beasts (xi.), (2) childbirth (xii.), (3) leprosy (xiii.
The language is so complete that the dog, pig, crow and other common or unclean animals are all expressed by special words, while the actions of royalty, such as eating, sleeping, walking, speaking, bathing, dying, are spoken of in words quite distinct from those used to describe similar actions of ordinary people.