[b-hebrew] Re: [b-hebrew YHWH's attitude towards zonah

Harold R. Holmyard III hholmyard at ont.com
Sat Jul 17 10:27:56 EDT 2004


Dear Karl and Patrina,

>I had always had the impression that virgins in temple service had a 
>responsibility to remain virgins. If a virgin violated her trust 
>(pregnancy being good proof of violation) she was automatically 
>fired.

HH: It could be worse than that. Philip Schaff in his History of the 
Christian Church (vol. 2, 398) writes that

The noblest form of heathen virginity appears in the six Vestal 
virgins of Rome, who, while girls of from six to ten years, were 
selected for the service of the pure goddess, and set to keep the 
holy fire burning on its altar; but, after serving thirty years, were 
allowed to return to secular life and marry. The penalty for breaking 
their vow of chastity was to be buried alive in the campus sceleratus.

HH: The Campus Sceleratus was near the Porta Collina, an ancient gate 
in Rome. Here's a paragraph or two about the Vestal virgins and the 
campus:
http://sights.seindal.dk/sight/318_Campus_Sceleratus.html

Their persons (the virgins) were inviolable and sacred and their 
blood could not be spilt. If a person sentenced to death met a vestal 
virgin on his way to the execution, he was automatically pardoned.

The punishment for breaking the vow of chastity was death by burial 
alive-the only way to kill a vestal without shedding her blood-in a 
place known as the "Evil Fields", or Campus Sceleratus, just outside 
the Servian Wall. Their lover would be flogged to death on the 
Comitium. The execution of one or more vestal virgins were carried 
out several times, but very infrequently.

					Yours,
					Harold Holmyard



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