Religion Past and Present

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(720 words)

[German Version]

A nazirite (Heb. נַזִיר/nāzîr) was an individual “set apart” by a vow (II), usually made personally but exceptionally by another party. In ancient Israel as in early Judaism the nazirate was open to both men and women; it could be lifelong or limited to a specific period of time. Nazirites were characterized less by asceticism (III) than by their unconventional, “primitive” way of life. Without any specific ties to the cult, the nazirate embodied openness to YHWH. Normally it concluded with reentry into civilized everyday life, signa…

Cite this page
Willi, Thomas, “Nazirites”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 24 June 2021 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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