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I am following William Countryman, in Dirt, Greed and Sex, here. Countryman discusses the difficulty for a modern audience attempting to enter a first century Jewish mindset, and concludes that 'dirt' best conveys to a modern audience the sort of notion that would have been current in Jesus' time about the state of unfitness for worship - the state usually identified in English translations of the Bible as 'uncleanness'.

See Countryman, p. xyz.

Countryman's discussion of sexuality is extremely valuable. He sets biblical sexual morality in the context of two major ethical considerations; firstly, the law concerning ritual uncleanness, or 'dirt' secondly, property rights, particularly the rights conferred on one another by the partners in a relationship.

A more pastorally-oriented text, intended primarily for believers but surprisingly readable, is Tom Hovestol's Extreme Righteousness. Hovestol, like Countryman, provides a useful reading of first-century Pharisaism, and applies what he finds to contemporary religious morality in a refreshing way.