Wierd question concerning personal hygiene habits

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Posts 314
Steven L. Spencer | Forum Activity | Posted: Sat, Jul 2 2011 11:51 AM

I'm just curious:  During the first century--Did people use an out-house?  And what did they use for toilet paper?  I could not find any commentary to these questions in my L4 library.  As I said, I'm just curious.

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JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 2 2011 12:17 PM

Here is a relevant link. No Uncle John's Bathroom Reader's though...

 

http://www.sewerhistory.org/grfx/wh_region/mideast1.htm

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George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 2 2011 12:22 PM

Steven L. Spencer:

I'm just curious:  During the first century--Did people use an out-house?  And what did they use for toilet paper?  I could not find any commentary to these questions in my L4 library.  As I said, I'm just curious.

I can't speak for everyone, but in Greece there was a group known as cynics who reportedly would urinate in public (which is why they were called "cynics" from κύων indicating dogs (obviously to be considered deviants).  In  1 Sam 25.22, 34; 1 Kg 14.10; 16.11; 21.21 it refers to males as "he who pisseth against the wall."  In Qumran each member of the community had a digging stick and would go over a hill out of sight to relieve himself and cover it.

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 2 2011 12:40 PM

Steven L. Spencer:
And what did they use for toilet paper?

A search for toilet or privy or latrine in a collection the deals with Bible background will probably be fruitful. There's a few bits in Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Manners and Customs if you have that. Most houses did not have an outhouse. At one point the Talmud also gives the definition of a rich man. "It is anyone who has a toilet near his table". Instead ordinary people had simple chamber pots which would then be carried outside and dumped in certain places. There were also shared public latrines whilst in the city, or holes could be dug when not. The Essenes toilet habits are described by Josephus.

Nay, on the other days they dig a small pit, a foot deep, with a paddle (which kind of hatchet is given them when they are first admitted among them); and covering themselves round with their garment, that they may not affront the divine rays of light, they ease themselves into that pit, after which they put the earth that was dug out again into the pit; and even this they do only in the more lonely places, which they choose out for this purpose; and although this easement of the body be natural, yet it is a rule with them to wash themselves after it, as if it were a defilement to them.

As for toilet paper, discussion in the talmud reveals that stones were used. The heading in the English translation I have in Logos is "UTILIZATION OF STONES TO CLEAN UP AFTER DEFECATING", which makes absolutely fascinating reading, but because of the language used in the translation, I probably ought not to share here. I will say that one of the gems of advice is not to use a brittle stone!

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Robert Pavich | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 2 2011 1:07 PM

Interesting thread....I had wondered about this a while back...this time; there were better links provided :)

A search for Cynics in my library turned up a lot of good info....

Robert Pavich

For help go to the Wiki: http://wiki.logos.com/Table_of_Contents__

Posts 314
Steven L. Spencer | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 2 2011 1:09 PM

Dear Mark, I could not find in any of my Bible translations "utilization of stones to clean up after defecating." Also, I do not have Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Manners and Customs."  Any more advice?

P.S. I always appreciate you as a L4 MVP

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Fred Chapman | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 2 2011 2:02 PM

Steven L. Spencer:

Dear Mark, I could not find in any of my Bible translations "utilization of stones to clean up after defecating." Also, I do not have Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Manners and Customs."  Any more advice?

P.S. I always appreciate you as a L4 MVP

The link Mark referred to that discusses the utilization of stones is from the Babylonian Talmud

Posts 13399
Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 2 2011 2:06 PM

Steven L. Spencer:
I could not find in any of my Bible translations "utilization of stones to clean up after defecating."

This was in the Babylonian Talmud, not a Bible.

Steven L. Spencer:
Any more advice?

The search I mentioned earlier should help if you have a collection of books useful on Bible Background. You can build a Bible Background collection using the string (title:(manner,custom,background,archaeolog, archeolog) OR subject:(manner,custom,"New Testament—Background","Jews", "Judaism", antiquities, "christianity--origin", historiography, palestine, qumran, rabinnic*, talmud) OR (subject:(excavation,archaeolog,archeolog, antiquities) AND type:dictionary)) ANDNOT subject:(canon,doctrine,"Jews—Conversion", "Hebrew Language")

Deuteronomy 23:12-13 is worth reading for OT non-city life.

Steven L. Spencer:
Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Manners and Customs

Here's a quote:

"Normally there were no toilets in the houses; human excrement was disposed of in nearby waste ground. Sewage and animal manure commonly littered the streets of towns. Conditions in houses or in town usually were anything but sanitary" (this refers to roughly the time of King David)

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Praiser | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 2 2011 2:11 PM

Steven L. Spencer:
I could not find in any of my Bible translations "utilization of stones to clean up after defecating."

The link Mark posted was for this article from: Neusner, Jacob. The Babylonian Talmud: A Translation and Commentary. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2011.

D. Utilization of Stones to Clean Up after Defecating

1. III:2: Zonin went into the house of study. He said to them, "My lords, what is the requisite size of stones used in the toilet for removing sh**?" They said to him, "The size of an olive, a nut, and an egg." He said to him, "So are we going to have to take into the toilet a balance to know the proper volume of the stones?" They took a vote and decided that the requisite measure was simply a handful.

a. III:3: Tannaite complement to the foregoing.

2. III:4: It has been taught on Tannaite authority: On the Sabbath it is permitted to take along three rounded pebbles into the privy. Such a privy has no walls, and ordinarily one could not carry an object into it.

a. III:5: Gloss.

3. III:6: Said R. Judah, "But not with a brittle stone."

4. III:7: Said Raba, "On the Sabbath it is forbidden to utilize a chip as a suppository in the way in which one does so on weekdays."

5. III:8: Said R. Yannai, "If the privy has a fixed location, one may bring in a handful of stones; if not, only a stone the size of the leg of a small spice mortar may be brought in."

a. III:9: Gloss of a detail of the foregoing: Said Abbayye to R. Joseph, "If rain fell on it and the stain was washed away, what’s the law?"

6. III:10: Rabbah bar R. Shila asked R. Hisda, "What is the law as to bringing up stones after himself to the roof?" He said to him, "The honor owing to human beings is so considerable that it overrides the negatives of the Torah." One may do so.

7. III:11: Said R. Huna, "It is forbidden on the Sabbath to take a sh** in a ploughed field."

a. III:12: Gloss of foregoing.

i. III:13: Extension of foregoing.

8. III:14: Said R. Yohanan, "On the Sabbath it is forbidden to wipe oneself with a sherd."

a. III:15: Amplification of foregoing.

i. III:16: Extension of foregoing.

A. III:17: Why these are religious matters.

9. III:18: If before someone were a pebble and a sherd—R. Huna said, "He wipes himself with the pebble and he doesn’t dry himself with the sherd." And R. Hisda said, "He wipes himself with the sherd and he doesn’t dry himself with a pebble."

10. III:19: If before someone were a pebble and grass—R. Hisda and R. Hamnuna—One said, "One wipes himself with a pebble and doesn’t wipe himself with grass." The other said, "He wipes himself with grass and doesn’t wipe himself with a pebble."

11. III:20: He who has to take a *** but doesn’t do it—R. Hisda and Rabina One said, "He smells like a fart." The other said, "He smells like sh**."

12. III:21: He who has to take a sh** but can’t—Said R. Hisda, "Let him stand up and sit down again, stand up and sit down again." R. Hanan of Nehardea said, "Let him shift from side to side." R. Hamnuna said, "Let him fiddle around with a pebble on the an**us."

13. III:22: Our rabbis have taught on Tannaite authority: He who comes into a house to take a regular meal should first walk ten lengths of four cubits—others say, four of ten—and take a sh** and then go in and sit in his regular place.

 

Hopefully the ** cleaned it up

Posts 314
Steven L. Spencer | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 2 2011 2:59 PM

Thanks to all of you. If you find any more information, lay it on me.

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nicky crane | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 3 2011 1:28 PM

I asked where the toilet was in an Arab village in Israel 40 odd years ago.  The family were embarrassed at my question.  Eventually they direected me to the field behind the house.  I said:  "Big toilet!" and we all laughed.

In Albania they used to clean themselves with water, sometimes with soap.  I always carry a small piece of soap and a flannel for use as a towel when staying in villages where they don't have modern amenities.  This is cheating somewhat, but no one is looking!

Posts 912
David Knoll | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 3 2011 2:28 PM

nicky crane:

I asked where the toilet was in an Arab village in Israel 40 odd years ago.  The family were embarrassed at my question.  Eventually they direected me to the field behind the house.  I said:  "Big toilet!" and we all laughed.

In Albania they used to clean themselves with water, sometimes with soap.  I always carry a small piece of soap and a flannel for use as a towel when staying in villages where they don't have modern amenities.  This is cheating somewhat, but no one is looking!

It is best not to rely on what you hear from Arab villagers in Israel nowadays. Many of them were not even there 200 years ago. It depends on the specific family and its provenance. It is best to rely on Dalman. Arbeit und Sitte in Palaestina.

It is certain that there were toilets in Ancient Israel. They were excavated in the city of David. As for the 1st century from the emphatic prohibition in the temple scroll we can infer that the Qumran sect was reacting against a common practice in society to include toilets inside the city. The Mishna probably reveals that there were toilets inside the second temple. 

PS Thank you for leading the discussion in the forum to tranquil waters.

Posts 4922
David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 3 2011 3:00 PM

I don't care what the Mishna says, I think we can 1000% sure there were no toilets in the temple...not even if there were running water, which is a strong possiblity. Deut. 23:12-14 is rather clear that excrement is not something He allows in His presence.

 

 

Posts 493
Michael Anda | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 3 2011 3:01 PM

I distinctly prefer my own setup to this THIS

 

 

 

Posts 912
David Knoll | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 3 2011 3:40 PM

David Paul:
I don't care what the Mishna says, I think we can 1000% sure there were no toilets in the temple...not even if there were running water, which is a strong possiblity. Deut. 23:12-14 is rather clear that excrement is not something He allows in His presence.

Well if you had lived during that period I am sure you would subscribe to the doctrines of the Qumran sect. Smile

Posts 4922
David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 3 2011 3:52 PM

If my choices were the usual suspect of Sadducees, Pharisees, and Qumran/Essenes (assuming they were one and the same), I would have to agree with you.

Posts 912
David Knoll | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 3 2011 3:59 PM

David Paul:

If my choices were the usual suspect of Sadducees, Pharisees, and Qumran/Essenes (assuming they were one and the same), I would have to agree with you.

 

Would it comfort you to know that the toilets are reported to have been way under the temple itself and not on the side of the mount where the actual cultic ritual is supposed to have taken place and that the priests had to go through underground tunnels to get there?

Posts 452
Is Mebin | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 3 2011 4:14 PM

Guys, let's not make a theology out of this...or we wont be allowed to discuss it...lol!

Sounds like a pretty "crappy" doctine anwyay...ohh...I could continue with word-play here...Zip it!

The only practical thing I know on the subject is that human excrement was not good for using as fuel...but cow patties were (see Ezekiel).  When I travelled through some of rural India, on the outside walls of houses you can see shaped cow patties hanging up drying, ready to be burnt for fuel...cooking, etc.  I would assume, though, that human waste could be used for fuel but it was less effective, and less hygienic.  Maybe that could be a candidate for thas show, "worst jobs in the world" - a human excrement shaper/dryer.

 

Posts 4922
David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 3 2011 6:34 PM

David Knoll:

Would it comfort you to know that the toilets are reported to have been way under the temple itself and not on the side of the mount where the actual cultic ritual is supposed to have taken place and that the priests had to go through underground tunnels to get there?

To some degree, yes. I still have concerns. I am certain YHWH would not inhabit a building with *** in it. Plumbing that immediately takes excrement away underground is fine for "average" situations, but the Temple is anything but average. My understanding is that the floor of the temple was raised off the ground so that the priests, particularly the high priest, didn't unknowingly step on an unmarked grave from ages past, thus making him unclean and unfit for service. YHWH is particular and picky about such things...and rightly so.

Posts 4922
David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 3 2011 6:44 PM

Is Mebin:

Guys, let's not make a theology out of this...or we wont be allowed to discuss it...lol!

Sounds like a pretty "crappy" doctine anwyay...ohh...I could continue with word-play here...Zip it!

The only practical thing I know on the subject is that human excrement was not good for using as fuel...but cow patties were (see Ezekiel).  When I travelled through some of rural India, on the outside walls of houses you can see shaped cow patties hanging up drying, ready to be burnt for fuel...cooking, etc.  I would assume, though, that human waste could be used for fuel but it was less effective, and less hygienic.  Maybe that could be a candidate for thas show, "worst jobs in the world" - a human excrement shaper/dryer.

Though all excrement is unclean, the excrement of cattle is less unclean than the excrement of a human. In general, cattle are clean for food...humans are not. This was a large part of why Ezekiel pleaded with YHWH to allow him to use cattle dung rather than human dung. YHWH saw the wisdom in Ezekiel's comment and allowed the change. The requisite "humiliation" that Ezekiel was undergoing (a type of what Israel was about to endure) was sufficiently illustrated by having to cook cakes over cattle dung. The process did make Ezekiel unclean for the entire duration of the "sign".

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