When it comes to explaining the dietary laws in Leviticus, outside of the fallacious health and hygiene reasons discussed in my last post, scholars have two other main doctrinal conclusions they pull out of their hats.
One conclusion is that the laws are pure fantasy and are simply a reflection of the superstitions of that era.
The other conclusion is that the food laws are mere allegories representing hygiene or morals & ethics.
In other words, the food laws are treated as nothing more than symbolism.
These are the general scholarly beliefs reflected in pretty much ALL the commentaries.
Here is a direct quote from Philo, one of the great Jewish sages who lived during the time of Yeshua.
“…….fish with their fins and scales (clean animals) symbolize endurance and self-control………while the forbidden (sea creatures) are swept away by the current, unable to resist the force of the stream. Reptiles who slither along on their bellies signify people who give in to their every greedy desire and passions…….”
This is a perfect example of interpreting the kosher eating rules in an allegorical or symbolic fashion.
However, when it comes to wild and imaginative allegory, nobody outdoes the Christian church.
For instance, check out this direct quote from the Westminster Bible.
“….Hoof divided and cheweth the cud. The dividing of hoof and chewing on the cud signify discretion between good and evil………..”
Regardless of what form the allegorizing takes, it is still rooted in Greek rational/logical thinking and attempts to show that these laws have to be about good and evil.
In other words, these scholars are operating under the false assumption that clean versus unclean equals good versus bad, sin versus righteousness, or healthy versus unhealthy etcetera.
We’re going to learn later that unclean does NOT equate to sin and is NOT necessarily evil.
Another interesting scholarly approach is the idea that the kosher laws were given to the Hebrews as a sort of protection to ward off evil.
In other words, in some mysterious way, these food laws protected Israel from pagan influences by outlawing those specific foods that were eaten by the heathen nations they were surrounded by.
Unfortunately, as wonderful sounding and pious appearing as these imaginative theories are, they are all still just allegories rooted in Greek rational/logical thinking that lead to nowhere.
The truth is every single one of these academic approaches is so flawed that I think it’s an insult to apply them to the Holy Teachings of the Bible.
First of all, as I just mentioned, the notion that unclean foods are inherently evil does not hold water.
If a person ate an unclean food, he wasn’t subjected to any stringent penalty.
That person was unclean until sundown and in some cases afterwards had to undergo a ritual washing to be purified of his defilement.
This is far different than the wide variety of penalties a person received for other sinful behaviors which in some cases included death.
Understand how fallacious it is to think that God would just randomly declare some foods clean and others unclean.
This goes against everything we know about God’s character.
Our God is depicted as a god who NEVER changes and one who ordains order and not chaos.
He did not just flip some heavenly coin and then decide to make one type of food clean and another type unclean.
You know what I think all of this scholarly allegorizing comes down to?
They are all just pompous attempts to create fanciful relationships that don’t exist in reality and come across as scholarly, educated and pious.
Again, I insist we have to look for the proper HOLINESS PATTERN to find the real reason behind the Kosher food laws.