Within this religious culture, conflicting and to some extent incompatible representations crystallized around the human body. On the one hand, the priests celebrated procreation. They not only believed that God commanded humans to be fruitful and multiply (Gen. 1:27), but regarded reproduction as a central dimension of the covenant between God and Abraham (Gen. 17). But this impulse, which sprung from the social organization and self-understanding of the priestly community, came into conflict with an important religious conception, namely, that humans are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-7). There is a fundamental tension between being made in God's image and being obliged to reproduce. The dilemma arises because Israelite religion places certain limitations on the representation of God. To oversimplify for a moment, God has "nobody," neither others with whom to interact nor a body, or at least a fully conceptualized body, with which to do it. Thus the dual expectations of being like God and being obliged to reproduce pulled in opposite directions. There was no escape for the body. Pressed between these conflicting impulses, the body became an object ofcultural elaboration. Let me unravel this conflict in more detail.