Posted at 12.14.2018
The issues surrounding the laws and regulations of clean and unclean food have been closely debated within the Judea/Christian circles for a long period of your time. 'Why should God take into account what we consume? The goal of my research is to try and understand why these regulations were establish within the Old Testament and also to compare different scholarly methods to this very interesting topic.
Many have evaluated the dietary laws and regulations within Leviticus and Deuteronomy, questioning if they were highly relevant to a certain countries? For example, Israel, tending to lean to an opinion that the laws and regulations were established within the Old Testament, and were obsolete at the idea of the brand new Testament? Some argue that these regulations are still suitable today whilst others oppose and question there relevance in the current society.
My purpose and strategy is to examine the primary resources available in this particular area within the Old Testament and review the evidence that supports the explanation behind these dietary laws. I'll try to analyse and compare the evidence taken by determined scholars from various backgrounds, such as, anthropologists, ministers and professors, all who have credible background to talk about on this subject. I have grouped their views into the following three categories; Health/Hygiene, Symbolic/Holiness and Ritual Purification.
The word unclean is thought as 'filthy, immoral, unchaste' to be clean would imply the opposite definition. Whenever we look carefully and analyse the word clean and unclean within the Old Testament Bible, scholars have mixed meanings and approaches to this laws.
Health 'is circumstances of complete physical, mental and sociable well-being rather than merely the lack of disease or infirmity' Whenever we apply good health our anatomies are naturally who is fit. Health and Cleanliness are closely connected and go together together. 'Hygiene is the maintenance of health and healthy living'. Covering many areas such as diet, personal, local, open public and mental sanitation.
The pursuing scholars support the view that health and hygiene has a significant role within the dietary regulations, Jacob Milgrom, RK Harrison, and John Brunt.
All have commented specifically to the Pig, with a view that this animal posesses disease known as Trichinosis. Trichinosis is a parasite worm that lives in the flesh of pig beef, and is offered when pig flesh is under cooked properly, and can expand into a considerable size within the intestine. The Hare bears tularaemia which is an acute an infection resembling the plague, but not as severe. Scavenger birds, known as Carrion birds also take disease, and seafood devoid of scales and fins get disease because they search for food in the dirt.
Milgrom argues that a camel is a forbidden animal to eat in line with the dietary laws 'yet there is no evidence to aid that this pet poses a risk to health or is unhygienic'. He also argues why just family pets have been prohibited, as there are poisonous crops that are unhygienic and can be quite harmful to the health of a real human if eaten. This aspect highlights a weakness in the diet laws.
Harrison argues that 'the parting of clean from unclean meat should not be taken to imply that the true ruminants are completely free from parasitic microorganisms'. Harrison also uses further instances with regard to the Ox, which is a clean pet animal, but is also prone to transmit parasites.
Brunt argues that 'we recognize areas of the teachings relating to what to eat, but do not follow through, for example whenever we touch an unclean insect we should wash our clothes'.
Symbolism 'is the organized or creative use of arbitrary symbols as abstracted representations of concepts or things and the different relationships in between, as they identify both context and the narrower classification of terms'.
Holiness is 'the express of being holy, that is, established aside for the worship or service of God or gods. It really is most usually ascribed to the people, but can be and frequently is ascribed to items, times, or places'.
The pursuing scholars support the view that symbolic and holiness has a significant role within the diet regulations, Jacob Milgrom, G J Wenham, Gerald F Hasel and Lester L Grabbe.
The observance of the eating laws could be seen as symbolic. God's people have been reserve from the other countries to be a good example, by observing nutritional laws. This would imply that here will be a clear distinction between the Israelites and the other countries.
Milgrom states that 'the diet regulations have been implied by the idea of holiness'.
Wenham helps it be clear that 'the diet laws and regulations were given in a particular situation to a particular situation to a specific period, they can be part of the blueprint to make the people of Israel holy'Hasel identifies the observance of dietary regulations 'it is a holy people that continues to produce a distinction between the clean canine and unclean'.
Grabbe claims that 'the diet regulations experienced both a sensible and symbolic function, symbolically they stood for the actual fact that Israel was to keep itself clear of intercourse with non- Israelites'.
This is the fact that 'the goal of these rituals is to eliminate uncleanliness, which may be real or symbolic. Most of these rituals were created long before the germ theory of disease. Some religions have special treatment of particular body liquids such as semen and menses which are viewed as specifically unclean'.
Ritual purity during this period was an important part of life to the people of Israel.
This prepared every individual to ensure that these were clean before they joined into the sanctuary to worship God. The next scholars support the view that ritual purification has a significant role within the eating regulations, Mary Douglas, John E Hartley, and John Brunt
Douglass expresses that 'the impurity of the animal kind is part of the technical meaning of ritual purity'. Douglass also brings 'ritual impurity imposes Gods order on his creation' Hartley says that 'the main purpose for the purity instructions was to keep the Israelites distinguish from the neighbouring countries in order to market Gods demand Israel to be a holy land'. Brunt states that 'the New Testament rejects the difference between clean and unclean, it isn't speaking to the issue of health, it is extremely addressing issues that were live issues in the 1st century, problems of ritualism and exclusivism'. Brunt argues that 'for the Christian, everything are clean, true spirituality is a matter of the heart and soul, not of ritualistic externals'.
The dietary laws issue will continue for most more years. However I've found this research very refreshing to review techniques of this matter from scholars who aren't Seventh Day Adventists, from various backgrounds.
We can see from the categories where some scholars hold or show the same view and differ from each others in several areas. The most common theme that came out within the eating laws and results in most of the scholars approaches was the point regarding the eating of pork. Most may actually agree on the fact that this pet animal is susceptible to parasites, and depending on way the meat is prepared it'll be good for use.
This point found very firmly among many of the arguments, arguing that even if the meats is heated well, it still will not clear the parasites among others oppose.
In November 2005, The National Geographic produced a documentary on durability and included an island in Okinawa, with the longest living people in the world, who approved this to a soup dish manufactured from pork skin that was boiled at a high temperature in preparation. Predicated on this finding, we can easily see that if meat is prepared well it can aid our health, although there may be additional factors that help to their extended life.
The dietary laws and regulations in the Old Testament would appear to specifically be relating to Israel - God's chosen people, if they are still highly relevant to modern day is a matter worthy of deeper research. The New Testament seems to have abolished the laws of ritual purity, Jesus reached out to all nations, Jews and Gentiles removing all obstacles, and we find instances of this throughout the whole of the New Testament. That is something that I'd like to analyze more in the foreseeable future.