Jesus Kept Kosher (prof. Daniel Boyarin)

In his talk “Jesus Kept Kosher” Prof. Daniel Boyarin argues that Mark 7:19 passage “Thus He (Jesus) declared all foods clean” has been misunderstood.

Daniel Boyarin is a professor of Talmudic Culture at University of California at Berkeley.  There is a saying that goes something like this: “Religion exists to comfort the disturbed, and to disturb the comforted.” When I think of this saying I think of Daniel Boyarin.

To watch this fascinating 15 minutes movie, please, click HERE.  You will not be disappointing. I guarantee it.


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Dr. Eli Lizorkin-EyzenbergTo secure your spot in our new course “The Jewish Background of New Testament” - CLICK HERE NOW

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  1. Johannes

    I have just realized that my argument in yesterday’s post is self-defeating, because from Acts 10:14 it is clear that Peter was fully keeping kashrut law in 38 AD [1], i.e. 9 or 10 years after hearing Jesus’ teaching in Mk 7:14-23 (assuming that Jesus started his ministry in 28 AD and was crucified in 30 AD).

    Therefore, I must add that the NT shows consistently that the Apostles did not immediately realize the full scope of Jesus’ teachings when they heard them. Sometimes they could not understand even a plain, concrete statement:

    For He was teaching His disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him; and when He has been killed, He will rise three days later.” But they did not understand this statement, and they were afraid to ask Him. (Mk 9:31-32)

    In the Farewell Discourse in John’s Gospel, Jesus is fully aware of the Apostle’s present epistemic limitations:

    “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth;” (Jn 16:12-13a)

    Therefore, it is fully plausible that both Boyarin’s thesis and my argument are right, each in its own time span. This is because Jesus’ teaching in Mk 7:14-23 had two levels of meaning:

    – The immediate level was to declare invalid the pharisaic oral traditions about purity, and that was what the Apostles understood at that time. That’s why Peter was still fully keeping kashrut laws in 38 AD.

    – The deep level was to abrogate the Deuteronomical kashrut laws, and the Apostles grasped it only in the council of 49 AD, with Peter drawing that conclusion on the basis of the descent of the Holy Spirit on Cornelius in 38 AD (Acts 15:6-11) [2].

    To note, it is the deep level of meaning which is reflected in Mark’s understanding of Jesus’ teaching in Mk 7:19, because the most plausible date for the composition of Mark’s Gospel is shortly after the council of 49 AD.

    [1] Most NT timelines date the announcement of the Gospel to Cornelius in 38 AD. E.g.:

    [2] Similarly to the case of Jesus’ teaching in Mk 7:14-23, the vision at the rooftop had two levels of meaning. The immediate and, in this case, most important meaning was the alegorical, which Peter grasped at that time: “But God has shown me not to call any man common or unclean.” (Acts 10:28). The mediate meaning was the literal, which was understood only in 49 AD.

  2. Johannes

    I argue below, on the basis of linguistic and contextual considerations, that the traditional interpretation of Mk 7:19 is far more probable.

    To that purpose, I will bring into consideration a passage of the Acts of the Apostles in which Peter, while staying in Joppa (Jaffa) with a certain Simon, a tanner, “went up on the housetop about the sixth hourb to pray. And he became hungry and desired to eat, but while they were preparing, he fell into a trance and saw the heavens opened and a certain vessel like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth, in which were all kinds of four-footed animals and crawling creatures of the earth and birds of heaven. And a voice came to him: “Get up, Peter, kill and eat!” But Peter said, “In no way, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” And a voice came again to him for the second time: “What God has cleansed, do not call common.” Now this took place for three times, and immediately the vessel was taken up into heaven.” (Acts 10:9-16).

    First, let us note that, in the original Greek text, the heavenly statement in Acts 10:15,

    “Ha ho Theos ekatharisen, sy mē koinou.” = “What God has cleansed, do not call common.”

    has the same transitive verb as Mark’s understanding of Jesus’ teaching in Mk 7:19:

    “katharizōn panta ta brōmata” = “purifying all foods”

    Thus, if we wanted to achieve full linguistic consistency, we would have to translate both instances as either “cleanse” or “purify”.

    Now, since Acts was written by Luke, I need to find a strong contextual link between this passage and Mark that makes it highly probable that Mark had this passage in mind when writing his Gospel. And Acts itself provides that contextual link, as we will see next.

    Let us recall that, immediately after having this vision, Peter went to Caesarea to the house of a centurion Cornelius to announce the Gospel to them, after which the Holy Spirit had to descend visibly on Cornelius and his family to overcome the mental resistance of Peter and his companions to baptizing Gentiles (Acts 10:44-47), and that, on Peter’s return to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers took issue with him saying, “You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them.” (Acts 11:2-3), upon which Peter had to justify himself by narrating the events in detail (Acts 11:4-18). While this passage does not say where exactly that conversation took place, we know that shortly afterwards Peter, on being released by an angel from the prison where king Herod Agrippa had put him, “came to the house of Mary the mother of John, who is called Mark, where there were many having gathered together and praying.” (Acts 12:12). Therefore, it is highly probable that Mark heard directly from Peter his detailed narration of the events in Joppa and Caesarea, and it is 100 % probable that he heard it from either Peter or one of the direct listeners, so that either way he had Peter’s vision of Acts 10:9-16 in mind when, a few years after, he wrote in Mk 7:19 his interpretation of Jesus’ teaching in Mk 7:14-23.

    Thus, given that in Peter’s vision the heavenly voice had stated that God had cleansed the contents of the vessel, “in which were all kinds of four-footed animals and crawling creatures of the earth and birds of heaven”, which implies that God had abrogated the Deuteronomical kashrut laws, the most probable interpretation of Mk 7:19 is as meaning that Jesus was abrogating those Deuteronomical laws, not just declaring invalid the pharisaic oral traditions about purity.

  3. Woka

    I’m quite late in adding a comment to this blog…but, maybe because of my own ignorance, I find it almost impossible to deny. First I will say-Thank you! so much for these studies – I’m so grateful to you, Dr. Eli, for sharing them with us. I was raised by a Christian mother whose life was a consistent, loving follower of Christ. There was never a bias against the Jews EVER in word or deed…so my attitude was – this is family..even if they don’t realize it yet :>) I don’t remember any direct teaching but in my heart – my “center” has always been…Jesus WAS the Torah come in flesh, as John wrote, “The Word made flesh and dwelt among us…” We humans had proven over the centuries we would never be able to keep a promise of salvation if it was dependent on our behavior. God…am I correct in saying that one of the definitions here would be “wholly giving Love with understanding”? …..HAD to provide a simpler, more complete way to provide redemption to the children He had created. The written Torah/Word was too difficult and heavy – but now – in His own Son – the Word became flesh and those who believed in Him – the Torah made flesh – would become His children. (John 1) This would be His vehicle for “one new man” – not just-some the old, not just -some the new – but in total….one new man – as all came to understand and believe. For this reason I have not seen the need for practicing Kosher although I have high respect for those who do…but if I am missing something important in the question of whether to or not…I’d appreciate having a better understanding.

  4. Deborah

    I am new to this blog and have been reading it with great interest. I am a great advocate of knowledge and knowing scripture. I am rather amazed at some of the comments and how wrapped up in intellectual mazes people become. Jesus came ,not to abolish the law, but to fulfill the law. It seems that all the discussion misses an essential truth. The Old Testament laws were designed to make people acceptable to God, to belong in His family. He desired the Jewish people’s hearts just as they had His heart. Over and over again God shows us that when the Jews turned from Him, He disciplined them and then would seek to win their hearts again by saying “then they will be my people and I will be their God.” The rules and laws were just about impossible to keep fully showing the people that they could not gain salvation by their own efforts. All the sacrifices in the world could not give them eternal salvation. Then comes Jesus whose sacrifice was the final sacrifice. He gave himself that we could have forgiveness of sins and eternal life just by believing Him and being His disciple ( doing His Will). He fulfilled the law by giving us the means to true and lasting salvation: it was by His actions that we gained salvation. He emphasized that the kingdom of God was about what was in our hearts and that our actions should be a result of our hearts. Keeping the law without love had no meaning in God’s economy. God knew we could not keep all the laws out of simple obedience and thus He gave us Jesus. We are saved by grace, not because of anything we do but because of what Jesus did for us. He says ‘if you love me, you will keep my commandments.” That love starts with Jesus, is initiated by Him and it is what propels us forward to know Him more and more.

  5. Kat

    What laws are included in this covenant?
    “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.

    1. Brad Thompson

      Who is more righteous, a person who prays and studies Torah in isolation, or a person doing G_d’s Will when they are going about their daily business? Answer may provide insight into Jeremiah 31:33. Prayer and studying G_d’s Word are good and necessary, but also need to be follow-up with acts of kindness toward our neighbor. It’s not all about prayer and knowledge of G_d’s Written Word. We need to exercise our new found understanding and knowledge of G_d via Good Deeds. All three are required as taught throughout G_d’s Written and Living Word. Love of G_d in our heart is one of the greatest gifts. This leads to a knowledge of G_D.

      1. Kat

        The one who is more righteous is the one who has sought “his kingdom and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). The law becomes internal rather than external ((fruit of the Spirit Gal 5:22). What I learned from second law (prior to hearing the gospel) is that we can’t love God without loving our brother ( this completing my faith in God). What does this have to do with food? I have been taught that a food choice is an individual choice blinding me to the many social and economic impacts, but they were a community.

  6. Katy

    sorry I didn’t edit that before it got submitted but Yeshua was actually a very strict Rabbi,his parents kept all the traditional Jewish feasts and traditions. He actually was a strict Pharisee who stated if you look at a wam with lust you have committed adultery with Her already. The only time that he actually broke a sabbatical law was when it came to saving a life. he spoke against the temple as it was under Roman occupation and was a pressing the people with the over taxation andother human rights and social justice issues

  7. Katy

    I think a possibility could be after theRoman captivity with the majority of the new testament was written in Greek had influences of the Greek culture including Sunday worship etc. established by the Roman catholic church. A lot of the Scriptures are in the Vatican along with other artifacts that were in King Solomon’s Temple. but the encouraging thing I find is as the messianic age is John close people are going back to Hebrew and the feast days

  8. Kostya

    I humbly disagree with the professor. My main points:
    1. Jesus upholding the law is not the point in his criticism of the scribes and Pharisees in the first part. Jesus is pointing out their hypocrisy.
    2. It is sufficiently clear from the text that a parable is not just a story with a moral. The use of it here is in the sense of a proverb or dark saying that needed to be explained. Jesus refers to it and explains it in vv18-19
    3. The hermeneutical key that Boyarin does not use that makes it all clear is that Jesus is the Messiah, and all that implies.
    4. I do not see why Peter as a Jew believing in Messiah, would have a problem in adding ‘ thus he declared all foods clean.’v19

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Kostya, hi. Its been a while, good to see you back on the blog :-). Do read Boyarin’s Jewish Gospels where he makes a better argument than he does here. I also suggest that you listen to it 2-3 times on video (it took me a wihle to get it too). The problem is not in “thus he declared all foods clean”, but in where we place the accent. We usually place on “thus he declared all foods clean”, while I think it should be “thus he declared all foods clean”. It makes a huge difference. In the first version he says to the Jews of his time – YOU CAN NOT EAT A HAM SANDWICH, in the second he says – DON”T INTRODUCE NEW LAWS THAT GO AGAINST THE TORAH (Washing of hands).

      1. Kostya

        Hag Sameach Eli! I kept my last post to a minimum because it was restricted to 500 characters – a real challenge!
        I have listened to the video six times, since you first posted it originally. It does not get much clearer each time unfortunately. I will read Boyarin’s Jewish Gospels as you suggest.

  9. Hayden Borrell

    Dr Eli

    I read your emails as it relates to the translation of Hebrew and Greek words and it has created a profound hunger to know more. however, I have some questions. Is your course of study accredited? Is it a degree; a BA or a Masters program? what is the authenticity of the program’s you offer? I am not saying that the information shared is erroneous, but how am I to know that it isn’t? Hiw much would it cost me to do both the Hebrew and Greek courses? Could these courses be done online? I am really eager to learn more. I hope you can be off assistance. The reason for my quest for this knowledge is because I want to understand what God said and is saying in his word. I await your feedback.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Shalom, Hayden.

      You wrote: “Dr Eli, I read your emails as it relates to the translation of Hebrew and Greek words and it has created a profound hunger to know more. however, I have some questions. Is your course of study accredited? Is it a degree; a BA or a Masters program? what is the authenticity of the program’s you offer? I am not saying that the information shared is erroneous, but how am I to know that it isn’t? Hiw much would it cost me to do both the Hebrew and Greek courses? Could these courses be done online? I am really eager to learn more. I hope you can be off assistance. The reason for my quest for this knowledge is because I want to understand what God said and is saying in his word. I await your feedback.”

      Good to hear from you. All of our Ancient Langauges programs (Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek) are already accredited by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel’s Harvard). Jewish Background of New Testament and the Jewish Gospel Courses are not yet, but will be (I am the author of these courses).
      I am not sure what you mean by something being erroneous? Do you mean accurate?

      You can read some endorsements here –

      If you are interested send me your phone number and country I will forward it to the admissions center that will contact you with the rest of the details at

  10. Tom

    This is my first time on this blog though I have been interested in your course for some time.

    I watched the video a couple of times. Dr. Boyarin’s descriptions of Jewish practices of the time, e.g.. the significance of “honor,” were very helpful. However, I found his overall thesis unconvincing. I own almost all of the best-regarded Christian commentaries on Mark. None of them argues that Jesus set aside the whole of Torah in this passage nor that vv. 9-13 are an interpolation. The story of the practice of Corban is perfectly illustrative and supportive of the Isaiah passage Jesus quotes. Verse 19b applies to dietary laws only. Whether the rest of Torah still applies is not settled by Mk.

    1. Tom

      My statement re: owning most Christian commentaries on Mark is in reply to his statement “most Christian scholars.” I wish he had offered a citation.

      1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

        Tom, I think you can look up everything you own on Mark 7 and you will see the same old same old there. Sadly he is right.

    2. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Well… they don’t and they do. Jesus teaching that an Israelite can now eat pork (that is how most do interpret Mark 7) amounts to setting aside Torah. Now that is not to say that this means that Christians think that Torah is devoid of value of course not. But this is not what Boyarin is saying I don’t think.
      By the way he makes a far clear argument about this in his only book for popular audience “The Jewish Gospels”.

  11. Robert Fruehling

    Whether Y’shua kept kosher or not is a mote point. He fulfilled all of the Law though Himself.
    I am more than a little bothered by the seeming unfamiliarity with the Writings of the New Testament.
    1 Corinthians 8: 8 “But food does not bring us near to God; we are not worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.” Romans 14: 17; “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
    I really doubt that at the Gate of Heaven Y’shua is going to ask if one went to Red Lobster.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Dear Pastor Robert, hi. Thanks for your reply. I of course passionately disagree that whether or not Jesus kept kosher (in biblical sense of course) is a mute point (unless is you meant moot point) :-). I don’t think at all that you should be bothered by Jesus’ teaching that upholds the Torah including kashrut, etc. when it comes to Israelites (after all Jesus was not writing as Paul did all of his letters to non-Jews/Gentiles). You are quoting Paul who is talking to Gentiles who were already fully in Jesus and did not understand that that is all they needed.

      Let me challenge you though a little here. I agree with you about the “red lobster” comment (for the non-American’s among us this Red Lobster is a food chance that serves deletions sea food among other things much of it is not kosher). But Jerusalem council did rule that there are some types of foods Gentiles can not eat. Look it up it is in Acts 15 plain and clear. So, while non-Jews (just as in what today has become a normative Judaism) were set free from the obligations of Christ-following Jews (Apostles and Elders of the Jerusalem Council), they were CERTAINLY not given permission to everything.

      Check it out the council (as it seemed good to the Holy Spirit) has degrees otherwise.

      Once again the main confusion here (and I say this respectfully) is between Jesus’ teaching to the Israelites/Jews and between Paul’s statements to the non-Jews who wanted to follow Jesus. They should not be mixed as they normally are.

      1. Robert Fruehling

        Eli, Thanks for the reply. I have trained with Jews for Jesus and Chosen People Ministries so I have studied these passages.
        1. If the Vail of the Temple was torn revealing the Holy of Holies, direct access to Father God. What could food add to that?
        2. Ephesians compares Jews and Gentiles as “one new man”, and “…by abolishing in His flesh the law with is commandments and regulations. Eph. 2: 14-18”
        3. Does not even the Talmud say that in the time of war the Law of Kosher can be suspended?
        The State of Israel has never been at peace with all its neighbors.
        4. Hebrews states that God, HImself found fault with the Old Covenant, therefore He made a new one. Jeremiah 31/Hebrews 8.

  12. Cornelia

    I am a Christian. My Bible contains the verse under discussion here. We are taught exactly the explanation the gentleman gives. It is only in the Book of Acts that a change occurs.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      The old translations (KJV) has the verse. I am glad to hear about your report.

  13. Prafulkumar (AKA VIctor)

    First and foremost i wish all my Brothers and Sister Happy Christmas and a happy new year. God Bless you all. this is one nation i Respect and love with all my Heart
    In The Name Of Adonai Elohim Shalom Brothers

  14. Prof. Henrietta van Winsen

    Hi Eli

    Is it at all possible to have a copy of Prof Boyarin’s argument. I always say that My greates enemy is the tradition of translation – but perhaps i should rather say the tradition of wilfully wrong translations.



  15. Kat

    I have had to study many articles on this site and undo a lot of former misunderstandings, poor vocabulary and misapplied texts, but finally I can agree. The problem I had is “If any man hath ears to hear, let him hear”
    Common translations change the meaning of the text by calling attention to the need for repentance thus the healing is forgiveness ( the sacrifice Jesus). (Isaiah 6:10, Mark 4:12 )
    Couldn’t Jesus be speaking of the gift (Holy Spirit), rather than the sacrifice and the need to turn to God? Since we cannot love God and hate our brothers the word “clean” surely does not imply lawlessness or forgiveness, but rather the finger of God?

    1. Brad Thompson

      Read Psalm 109:30,31. I believe in the absolute truth that all the life-energy of created beings, their existence, and any salvation that comes to them, derives only from G d. God created human beings with a brain. The brain has the ability of intellectual thought. When the first human became aware of evil, they became aware of their evil inclinations (Gen 2:8,9; 3:1-7). These evil inclinations are …”those that condemn his soul.” However, we are also judged by “the good” within us.

      1. Kat

        Brad, first let me say that the word repentance is often interchanged with the word confession of sin, yet Hebrews 6:6 says we need only to repent once. This is why I have to separate the sacrifice from the gift (Hebrews 8:3) Taking the statement “Jesus declared all meats clean”. Since eating any meat isn’t wrong it points to a higher motivation for making choices, not legalism. I have thought a lot about the Parable of the seed and what made my heart “good”. The only good thing in me was what God revealed about Himself 🙂

    2. Brad Thompson

      Read Matthew 17:20,21. Evil inclinations will not have any power within us because God, more specifically God’s Holy Spirit, comes to aid our good inclinations. If we have faith in the Truth of God’s Word, then the good inside us will prevail over the evil inclinations. The help God grants us is the glow of divine light that illuminates our soul. Jesus Christ (God’s Son and Living Word), God’s Written Word, and God’s Holy Spirit is the divine light that illuminates our soul.

  16. Katy

    That got posted before I could edit it!

  17. Katy

    Comes I believe we will all be humbled before the great King. Either way, Israel will be restored, Jerusalem will be a praise in all the earth and corruption will be abolished! It’s so sad that all these people are suffering, living in terror and oppression just because they believe different or have come to a different revelation. Christ was a human rights advocate in defense of the Jewish people against the persecution of Rome. He was a very strict Pharisee quoting if you even look at a woman lustfully you’ve committed adultery. He kept all the Jewish traditions and holy days, was crucified on Passover in the Tim on unleavened bread and rolls on first fruits. With the L-rd life is beaut

  18. Katy

    Being raised Catholic I was very confused. How could an infinite God come as a man? Being discouraged with Church, I rebelled, Which didn’t work and brought me to the end of myself. As my life was a mess I prayed and prayed and asked for truth, then found over 400 Scriptures (most in the Old Testament) that fit the description of Christ. Then I studied with some Jewish people and got their perspective on the whole thing and was very confused as they had very legitimate points. Then I prayed and after, opened right up to Psalm 30:4. As I study the Word, Hebrew I get hungrier and fall more in love with The L-rd. No man knows the infinite Mind of The Almighty, but as the Messianic age com

  19. cliff buchanan

    Eli what text do you ues the king James version or something else .I use the Aramaic. Version I be learn that the king James version has been corrupted by the Jesuit’s. King James was not as sweaky clean
    As some believe history can be the best teacher of. All because man. Can become courrpt and be decieved by hasatan and by other means some taking mans word over the Torah I want to learn more about Yahwehs Sabbath days and all his other feast days can you provide me with the right days of worship and extra..

  20. Brad Thompson

    Since we are not God, only ourselves and God know the root of our intentions. And at times it’s hard for us to find the truth about our intentions due to the noise of culture, up-bringing, and our own preconceptions. This is why spending time praying and in reflection is important.

  21. Brad Thompson

    If people have evil intentions behind an objective, and then carry out their intentions by finding loopholes within the Law, then those actions are sin; that is the action is not in keeping of the Spirit of the Law. I believe this is what Yeshua the Messiah was trying to teach. His people are to search their hearts to find what is motivating them.

    1. Prof. Peter Shirokov

      Can’t disagree with that… 🙂

  22. Brad Thompson

    I think the root of the issue is the auth. given by God to His spiritual leaders to “bind or loosen” (lets sidebar the debate about whom has this auth. for now). When leaders are binding and loosening, they are doing so with good intentions. However, people will take these rules to fulfill their own evil intentions; I.E. not caring for parents.

  23. ginette kelley

    thank you for explaining the letters PBUH, i have heard moslems use this term , but doesn’t surprise me as they continually make fun of Christianity (see u-tube) and our beliefs in not only Jesus (Yeshua) as the Son of God but that He was resurrected and therefore is very much alive, but also His promised advocate The Holy Spirit, making God the Father , the Son and the Holy Spirit all in one The Triune God.

  24. ginette kelley

    good day,
    can someone explain to me the meaning often cited in snowball’s comments PBUH?
    thank you
    for people requiring a scholarly writing on Paul i can recommend Dr N.T WRIGHTS recent publication Paul and the faithfulness of God (a 2 book tome by fortress press) it’s around $90 plus shipping but well worth it this is the fourth in the series, I have all four and find them invaluable

    1. Eric Rodríguez


      PBUH are the initial of Peace Be Upon Him as is used in hebrew: ‘Alav Hashalom (ע”ה). This is said about people that already died. There is indeed an error, for on Yehoshúa’ (Jesus), is not correct, because he is not dead, he is living forever.

  25. Eric Rodríguez


    Shalom ‘al kulam!
    Here there are many things:
    1) The Laws of Kashrut are not always the same Law of the Torah (the proper commandment). Pharisees applied rules of the temple to the daily life which is not correct (I mean the concept of Profane Chol/Chulin).
    2) In the case of the vision of Peter the historic context says us that Jews named Gentils as “Shéqetz” (abomination/abominable) that’s the reason of the vision!
    3) All the things are pure only according to the principles of the Torah (The form of the science and truth).
    4) In the case of the Meat & Milk it’s a mistake of reading of the word חלב which they read as Halav (Milk)instead Hélev/Halev(fat).
    So you can see that Avraham prepared a dinner for the Angels with meat and milk …
    It’s necessary indeed to turn back to the “Sola Scriptura” one of the greatest principles of the Reformists… for Yehoshúa’ our Lord asserted that! Shalom/Salam/Shlam!

  26. John

    That many Talmudist rabbi’s teach you cannot eat meat and dairy together.

    Because there is so much pig fat in foods. rabbis in western countries can deem some tainted foods OK to consume.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      I suppose you are asking what do I think of the Rabbinic Judaism teachings about Kashrut when it comes to not mixing milk and meat? Well… I have mixed feelings. On the one hand there are symbolic reasons for not mixing them. For example, the meat is associated with death and milk is associated with life. Today’s observant Jews do not mix the two for obvious symbolic reasons of not mixing death and life (this general idea is linked back to ceremonial statuses of becoming clean or unclean for a period of time in Torah). Also, it is better for your stomach not to consume these products together and since Judaism does not separate spiritual and physical as much as other thought systems do, that is another reason.

      I do not think that not mixing is essential or is scriptural principle, in other words I do not see its foundations in the famous “not boiling the baby-goat in the milk of its mother”. In my mind this has nothing to do with not adding milk into my coffee if I am also eating a kosher meat during the same breakfast. What does it mean? I don’t know and no one seem to have a foggiest idea.

      About the allowing pig fat and approving it as kosher, once again I have never heard of it, but then I am not an expert in modern Judaism. If you find a real example or something written about it, then perhaps, if I see that this not a myth (which it sounds like), I can comment further.

      Blessings and peace,

      Dr. Eli

  27. John

    1. What is your view on Talmudic Kashrut interpretations about milk and meat.

    2. Why do some rabbinical Kosher certifiers in Western countries allow pig fat in products?


    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Dear Pastor John, hi.

      Can you clarify what would you like to know about the Talmud and milk and meat exactly?

      As to your second question I am not aware of such a practice. Perhaps, I am simply a wrong person to ask. I google this up and could not find anything like that at all. So please give me more details. Thanks.


      Dr. Eli

  28. Harriett

    I will just quote Jesus on the matter of the Law (Torah). “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law of the Prophets; I did not come to abolish the Law but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” Matt.5:17-18

    Jesus kept the kosher dietary laws and every other written Law God set forth. He disputed some of the Oral Traditions, and upheld others. If he had broken the Law he would have sinned and therefore His sacrifice would have been invalid. I believe that the Law is still in effect since heaven and earth still exist and Paul said God’s Law is perfect. It is now written on our hearts so we can keep it perfectly. No where is the Law (Torah) condemned. Then we would be saying that God created something unworthy.
    By the death of Messiah on the cross the Law became a real and vibrant reality for those who choose to follow Him. He also admonished that your righteousness would have to surpass that of the Scribes and Pharisees in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. That can only happen through His righteousness. You can choose whatever you desire, but you can not deny the Lord’s words. The Gentiles were not required to take on the Yoke of Torah, but James, at the Jerusalem council said that Moses was taught daily. They could go further if they chose. Please stop trying to make Jesus a Gentile. And no, He would not sit down to a pork dinner. He showed what He thought of pigs when he cast the demons into them and also said “Do not cast your pearls before swine.”


    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg


    2. Snowball

      You correctly wrote that Jesus(pbuh) said ‘I did not come to abolish the Law but to fulfill.’ I should point out that the Law included the Prophets(pbut) and he also said that the Prophets until John the Baptist(pbuh) (who arrived at the same time) prophesied about him. Clearly the Law said what the Messiah would do, and as we know, he fulfilled those prophecies, those parts of the Law. He did not take away the Law and would not have been called Rabbi if he tried to. That much is obvious. However, Job 33:14 says that God says more than one thing at the same time, King David(pbuh) heard two things and Psalm Chapter 119 shows him asking to see the Law. Daniel noticed more words and was told by God that they were for later. When Jesus was asked what the Law said about a woman caught in the act of adultery he wrote in the dust and said something else. No one argued. Challenged to use their laws to kill him later, they said it was unlawful. I think you will find that Jesus read something else in the Law. It would explain why he said that the truth would set people free. This is very important because some people are trying to force harsh Old Testament Law upon other people (in Shariah Law) that were abrogated by Jesus. Having checked Jeremiah 31:31-33, it would appear that this was prophesied. Thus Jesus prevailed to open the book and break the seals in the Biblical book of Revelation, matching the description of a book people could not read in the biblical book of the Prophet Isaiah(pbuh). Which, of course, openly says that the book will be opened and everyone’s eyes will see out of obscurity. Again, Job 33:14 is key to understanding why Jesus said For those with ears to hear.

  29. William C. Hensel

    I listened with interest to Dr. Boyarin’s talk, but rapidly and without time to reflect deeply on it.

    Here are a couple of intial responses: The ‘missing’ sixteenth verse is readily available in the margins of most English translations I’ve seen, so has not been stolen and hidden away; and with respect to Dr. Boyarin’s argument, I don’t see v.16’s meaning as pivotal in re-interpreting the whole thrust of Mark 7, as Dr. Boyarin seems to, in any case.

    One element that I didn’t find addressed either in the Boyarin talk or in the discussion thread on Dr. Eli’s site was the last phrase in v. 19, which (unlike v.16) has not been removed (or added, or put in the margin) so far as I can tell, but which certainly has implications for the discussion and Dr. Boyarin’s thesis. Included in the text is the parenthetical comment: “Thus he declared all foods clean.” The simplest interpretation would be that Mark is suggesting (perhaps with Peter’s approval or counsel?) that in the dialog reported in 7:1-23, Jesus was setting aside the dietary restrictions of kashrut. The words of Mk 7:19b appear to me to be an author(-itative) interpretation of the text from within the gospel itself, and quite contrary to Boyarin’s thesis that Jesus kept and advocated keeping kashrut. Have I overlooked something?

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Dear William, shalom. Thanks so much for writing. Few things. On our study group’s blog we do not endorse or subscribe to any theological positions (of course we tendencies and interests), but we are open. That is to say that I post interesting talks not always because I think they are 100% right. Actually, Boyarin’s may be. I am still not sure. But it makes us think, which is my goal for the group. To get us to think. About your other comments I think it may be a good idea to listen to his walk VERY carefully 2-3 times, I had to do that myself. Some of the things you said he is not saying. 🙂 Welcome to our study group, it would be terrific to have you with us! Blessings and peace, Dr. Eli

      1. Marco Sommani

        I tend to agree that Jesus was non talking about the abolition of kosher rules, but why does Boyarin insist on verse 16, which is present in most protestant translations (even in King’s James’)? The real problematic point in Mark 7 is the last phrase in verse 19: not Jesus’ words, just an interpretation, written well after Jesus’ death.

        1. Marco Sommani

          Just an addition: even latin Vulgata (the source of all Roman Catholic translations) has Mark 7:16: “Si quis habet aures audiendi, audiat.”.

        2. Marco Sommani

          For those who understand italian, here is what a catholic theologian (I am a protestant) writes on the subject:
          He does’nt quote Mc 7:16, but he says that Jesus ate Kosher.

        3. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

          Yes, he may be making too much of it (vs.16) especially because right after it says that the disciples asked Jesus about the PARABLE. No the problematic statement you refer to “in so doing he declared all foods clean” I think is authentic. I just think that the emphesis should be not on “in so doing he declared ALL foods clean”, but on “in so doing he declared all FOODS clean”. In other words what Jesus upheld is the Torah principle that only what comes out of the human body can render an Israelite unclean. The food or drink had no power to do so.

    2. John Johnson

      I find it very interesting that everyone seems to assume that Yeshua made all food clean when all FOOD is clean! To find what food is we need to study the Torah and find what we can eat, which by the way is FOOD, anything else is Trief, or unclean and not considered food.
      The point is is Ha’Shem describes food as that which we may eat, anything else is not considered food. Pork is not considered food, shellfish is not considered food, etc/etc. why is this so hard to understand? Possibly because the early gentile church was under the impression that they, the gentiles, had replaced Yisra’El as the chosen people and they understood that the gentiles would not join them if they kept the Kashruse diet! And I am not referring to the Temple rules but the Torah as Yeshua taught it
      When we see the scroll come to Kefa as a vision we need to understand it referred to establishing a relationship with people who ate anything, bud he was commanded to eat only what is considered FOOD or Kosher not everything as some like to teach. Ha’Shem very clearly states: do not call clean what I have called unclean and do not call unclean what I have called clean. The word used for unclean is also translated as “common,” Koinae in the Greek.

  30. gilbert singh

    praise G-d adonai / yeshua Amen.

  31. Peter LoGiudice

    I know you dislike oversimplication, as do I, however when Paul says not a single thing is unclean in Rom 14 14 it appears to be a categorical statement. Anyway assuming we should keep kosher, what would the it accomplish, aside from some claimed health benefits?

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      I know you do like me :-). Yes, of course Paul is categorical. But there are several issues here. 1) Was Paul writing to Gentile Christians or Jesus-believing Jews, 2) Did Paul distinguish as Boyarin suggest between clean and kosher? But then finally the most important point for me is that you should distinguish between something that Jesus did and what we must do. It is NOT always the same thing. I think this is where you are making an honest mistake. Jesus kept Kosher (that is ALL!) he is arguing for.

      “Now Jesus not keeping kosher” is a big problem for any Christian believer? Why? Simply that without obedience to the law of God/Moses he could not be righteous. If he is not righteous, he could not die for anyone at all! Paul incidentally is also clear about that. Jesus was faithful in everything. That included biblical (not rabbinic) kashrut.

      KashrutLite version is also demanded of gentile Christians, you may be surprised to realize. Please, read carefully Acts.21. Apostles write a pastoral letter to the Churches among Gentiles: Gentiles still could not eat certain foods that are part of Jewish kashrut diet. Though they free from most requirements still (looks like) binding for Jesus-believing Jews.

      1. Snowball

        You wrote that ‘without obedience to the law of God/Moses he could not be righteous.’ It may also be worth a reminder that Jesus(pbuh) said that he should do all things in righteousness in a discussion with John the Baptist(pbuh) about whether John should baptise him, and that the baptism of John was a bit of a change in how things were done. It is worth remembering Jeremiah 31:31-33 as well, which told people to accept a new arrangement. Both new and righteous.

        1. John Johnson

          I just love the way people think that a covenant can be partially entered into I/e Jeremiah 31:31-33. Lets look at this covenant and ask ourselves if we still teach our brothers and neighbors about Ha’Shem and Yeshua, we do don’t we, then how can this covenant be in effect?
          Saying that we are under this covenant is like saying that the Torah was only partially given at Har-Sinai and the people Yisra’El were only required to keep parts of it, or that the marriage covenant can be partially kept by both parties, or that the covenant of the rainbow only includes 2 colors, the rest are to come later,

  32. Peter LoGiudice

    Doesnt Paul say (Rom 14 20) All food is kosher?

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Its more complicated than first would seem. Listen to Boyarin’s points (now I am not sure I agree with him, I am like you, still thinking about it). Kosher and Clean is NOT the same categories. Boyarin in his talk makes a difference between them and explains that it is understood in Judaism. PLUS the issue here is NOT whether or not you can’t eat it, but whether or not Jesus eat it :-).

  33. John Johnson

    Dear Dr. Eli,

    I like you am not formally connected to any religious organization, in the past I have been associated with charismatic Christianity, and Messianic Judaism, although neither seemed understand scripture, they simply seemed to weave it into their needs. I notice in the opening answer you seem to feel that the B”Rit Chaddasha was not changed by the early church, have you considered the lineages found in Mattityahoo and Lucas? Mattityahoo’s lineage goes through Coniah, the problem here is that Coniah was cursed of G_d and No-One of his line would ever sit upon the throne of Da”Vid
    Jeremiah 22:24 thru 22:30
    The lineage of Lucas does not go through Schlomo,
    Psalms 89:34 thru 89:37 and 1 Chronicles 22:9 thru 22:10
Here I will say that I have asked this question many times and the only answer I have received is that the Diety of Ha’Shem is not to be questioned,.
    This I will answer with Ha’Shems own words:
    Psalms 89:34.


    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      John, hi.

      Read this an old friend of mine wrote this about 10 years ago. I think my answer to you would not be much different. Try to read it as much as possible as an objective reader and not a man who has to prove his position.

      G-d will honor your openness and honesty.


      Dr. Eli

    2. Snowball

      If I understand you correctly, you are referring to Gospel writers, and you feel that there is an issue with any leadership from them in the church. I should maybe mention that Jesus(pbuh) said when they disagreed over who was the greatest that they were not to laud it over others like leaders, and that he also said that to be the greatest in heaven, you need to be the humblest here. (Jesus himself didn’t take up any throne.)

  34. John Johnson

    Shalom, I find your arguments to be mostly sided with the church and their teachings, Rav Shaul was upset at Kefa for requiring immediate circumcision or the gentiles would not be allowed to worship on Sabbath in the synagogues or Temple, he proved this point by using Noachide laws which pre-date the Avrahamic covenant of circumcision, showing that it is possible to be Kadosh without circumcision. by showing this he kept many gentiles following yeshua’s teachings and worshiping in the Temple and synagogues who would have been driven away by the “requirement” of circumcision before understanding.
    The “Holy Roman church” was responsible for moving the Sabbath to the first day of the week, it is my understanding they did this to keep their “pagan” population in line and in acceptance of the new religion they were creating, worshiping on the first day of the week was normal for the Roman people as the worship of the “sun” was a first day event, hence “Sunday.”
    there are many more points I would like to comment on but we will take them a few at a time.


    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Dear John,

      I think you are right or almost right (to my mind) on all your points.

      Just as point of background, I do not have any formal or significantly informal connection to any religious body of any kind today. I was however in the past connected with a strongly protestant Christian denominations this is probably why I see things the way I see them. But I don’t think it’s bad. One only must be aware of his natural prejudice. I think I am more or less aware of mine.

      Dr. Eli

  35. Baruch Maoz

    There is absolutely no biblical evidence that Jesus maintained Pharisaic dietary rules. There is ample evidence to the contrary. Paul insisted that, not only are we Jews in Christ not bound by the dietary laws, the requirement to circumcise our male children, etc., but that we are bound not to consider ourselves as bound, or behave as thought we are. Messiah has fulfilled all that is required of us in that respect. Our duties now consist in “the righteous requirements of the Law” = they are moral duties, incumbent on all who own the name of the Savior.

    Baruch Maoz, Gedera, Israel

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      I repeat my previous feedback: “No one (Daniel Boyarin including) is saying that Jesus maintained Pharisaic dietary rules.” Thank you for your comment.

  36. gilbert

    wisdom is given frm G-d 2 who he wishes and he check’s one’s heart to debate, if we are worthy of the blessing’s he will show us his salvation .

  37. Rozalyn Landisburg

    Jesus was quoted as saying ” I have come to fulfill the law not change the law”. Why then did his disciples change the law to:
    a) do away with necessity of following Kosher (food) laws)?
    b) changing the Sabbath to Sunday:
    c) doing away with Jewish Holidays which honor God.
    c) If Peter and/or Paul had visions or heard
    God speak, why should we give more credence to what they interpreted or did and changed than what God told Moses on Mount Sinai the 612 laws and precepts in the Old Testament.
    Why should we give more credence to What Peter or Paul said or interpreted than what Jesus said, believed, and practiced his whole life?
    Did the Christian church elevate Peter and Paul into authorities higher than God , higher than Jesus?
    Breaking bread with Gentiles, feeding the poor does not require abolution of Kosher laws. Feeding the hungry , you can give them Kosher food. Beef, Chicken, Lamb, fish with fins and scales are all permissible.
    The arguments about eating with Gentiles is specious.
    Whatever Peter and Paul’s motivation: ie.,
    obtaining converts more easilyl etc by not
    requiring circumcision or not eating pork and
    seafood , does not give them the right or alleged God’s instructions or visions to stop
    following the Kasreth laws or doing away with

    You may all be scholars and know history and
    biblical interpretations of the new testament but your reasoning is faulty.

    How can you say the New Testament is Jewish?
    Jewish people do not generally accept the New
    Testament in any form ( Seventh day Adventists being the exception).

    The New Testament abandons the 612 precepts/ laws in the Old Testament. Jesus did not abandon these precepts. He lived by them.


    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      You wrote: Jesus was quoted as saying ” I have come to fulfill the law not change the law”.

      A.: Inaccurate quotation.

      Why then did his disciples change the law to:

      A.: Unsubstantiated claim.

      a) do away with necessity of following Kosher (food) laws)?

      A.: For Gentiles yes. (Acts 15) a very similar ruling to a Rabbinic Jewish idea.

      b) changing the Sabbath to Sunday:

      A.: Disciples did not do that.

      c) doing away with Jewish Holidays which honor God.

      A.: Disciples did not do that. Even Christians celebrated most of the holidays as a new version of the Old Testament Holidays (Christian feasts in Orthodox or Catholic traditions especially) can be clearly seen to be a continuation of the OT “Jewish” holidays.

      c) If Peter and/or Paul had visions or heard
      God speak, why should we give more credence to what they interpreted or did and changed than what God told Moses on Mount Sinai the 612 laws and precepts in the Old

      A.: You are assuming things that are just not true 🙂

      Why should we give more credence to What Peter or Paul said or interpreted than what Jesus said, believed, and practiced his whole life?
      Did the Christian church elevate Peter and Paul into authorities higher than God , higher than Jesus?

      A.: I c.

      Breaking bread with Gentiles, feeding the poor does not require abolution of Kosher laws. Feeding the hungry , you can give them Kosher food. Beef, Chicken, Lamb, fish with fins and scales are all permissible.
      The arguments about eating with Gentiles is specious.

      A.: Believe it or not I agree with you. As I responded to one of the people commenting. NT forbids jesus-following Jews NOT to eat with gentiles, but it does not mean that one must eat treif with gentiles. There are plenty of kosher choices.

      Whatever Peter and Paul’s motivation: ie.,
      obtaining converts more easilyl etc by not
      requiring circumcision or not eating pork and
      seafood , does not give them the right or alleged God’s instructions or visions to stop
      following the Kasreth laws or doing away with

      A.: OK. I think we more or less covered most issues here.

      You may all be scholars and know history and
      biblical interpretations of the new testament but your reasoning is faulty.

      A.: 🙂

      How can you say the New Testament is Jewish?
      Jewish people do not generally accept the New
      Testament in any form ( Seventh day Adventists being the exception).

      A.: 🙂

      The New Testament abandons the 612 precepts/ laws in the Old Testament. Jesus did not abandon these precepts. He lived by them.

      A.: I have no problem with you thinking that. I think we all should be free to express our convictions, as long as we argue them and argue them well. Since you are in law practice I think you should know the value of clear, convincing argumentation.

      Be well.

      Dr. Eli

  38. gilbert

    thank’s 4 this people & as a Infidel/ gentile ILL stick with Yeshua’s teaching’s after all he’s ABBA father EeL CHAD is yeshua’s ‘-ab some day my we see him on the road of mercy & salvation toward G-d’s houses his will be done, not our’s, shalom ha moRE Eli

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Gilbert, God loves everyone equally. Jews just as dear to him as non-Jews. May you know his commitment, love and passion for you and your family. Dr. Eli

      1. Madeli

        Dr. Eli..God’s love reflects in your responses to all the comments…it is beautiful to witness!!
        Thank you for being such an understanding and committed teaher!

        1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

          Thank you so much for your kind words, Madeli!

  39. Baruch Maoz

    There is absolutely no evidence — biblical or extra-biblical — that Jesus kept the Pharisaic dietary laws. Paul clearly taught we are not only not bound even by the biblical dietary laws, but that we are bound not to consider ourselves bound to them. See my book COME LET US REASON TOGETHER (THE UNITY OF JEWS AND GENTILES IN CHRIST) .

    Baruch Maoz, Gedera Israel

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      I do not think that Daniel Boyarin argues that Jesus kept the Pharisaic dietary laws. Be well.

      1. Cheryl Durham

        Sha’ul taught that while Gentiles coming into the community were not “bound”, they should respect Kosher Law in order to have fellowship. Is is not a matter of chesed, if one is grafted into the community via Yeshua, to be respectful of the Law G_d gave to His people?

    2. Eric Rodríguez


      I must point here, something is being ignored. Sha’ul’s (Paul) teaching -following Rom 14:14 -, is referred to the concept of (חולין) Hulin “the considered profane according to the jewish tradition and custome” (Cf. Mishnáh, maséjet ‘Avodáh Zaráh, 2:1, 2, 3; Maséjet Julín 1:1; Maséjet kelim. 1:8), and not to the commandment of the Torah over pure or impure animals.

      Gentils are not oblied to observe the mistic and hyperbolical considerations of the Sages of the Judaism built on the commandments of the Torah. So, one thing is which was writen, and another is the built and developed over them.

      To guide gentils and jews to loss care about the “hulin fear”, is not the same thing that affirm Sha’ul taught to abolish the commandment of the Torah; the real teaching is: Gentils are purified by the work of Yehoshua’ (Jesus) and they are also capable now to observe the commandments of the Torah and to be so clean and pure as a jew in average, without fear. The problem is over who teaches which Sha’ul (Paul) didn’t said.

  40. Peter LoGiudice

    First question – Didnt Peter eat with gentiles- I know He was conflicted but doesnt that say there was some loosening going on? or maybe suggest that Paul was eating with them as well?

    Second question I’m sorry but I have to say this- Daniel Boyarin supports – no never mind.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Not eating with gentiles is indeed forbidden by NT. Eating with gentiles does not, however, mean eating treif with them. :-).

      About your second point: Daniel Boyarin is a liberal thinking Jew. He surely does not fit into many boxes at all. What I can say about him however is this (I met him personally and corresponded with him extensively). he is one of the humblest and kind people you will ever meet.

  41. richard oster

    These are good comments to remind us that Jesus was not a Christian, anymore than Abraham was a keeper of the later Mosaic Law. On the other hand, many fail to appreciate how blasphemous some of Jesus’ words and deeds were in regard to “holiness” precepts in the Torah as understood by some of Jesus’ contemporaries. Caught up in later Christian debates about Christology, many incorrectly think the Jewish leaders only opposed Jesus because he thought he was “God.”
    This is not the whole story at all. Much of the opposition came about also over Jesus apparent disregard, at times, for Pharisaic and “Temple-keepers” ideas about holiness.
    There would NOT have been the Cornelius story of Acts 10-11 had Jesus taught his followers to abandon Torah!

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg


  42. gilbert

    I need to no !why do the jewish people when they read the torah why is there so many meaning’s in there word’s deciphering the word’s my point of view but I do not accuse no one but that can make a person crazy & maybe thinking & taking the torah the wrong way the word’s should just mean what they mean once ?

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg


      Your point is not entirely clear to me, but perhaps you find it frustrating that one word can have various meanings and not just one in Hebrew. If that is the case, I am afraid that nothing can be done about that. Such is the nature of linguistics in general and Hebrew linguistics in particular. In most languages words can mean variety of things and context often is the ONLY way one may know which meaning is being refereed to here.

    2. Rozallyn Landisburg

      The old testament ( Bible) was originally handed down from father to son orally. When it was written I believe originally in Aramaic,
      hebrew, Then later in Greek and later in English.

      The King James version of the Old Testament has
      lost meaning in its interpretation and translation.

      Translated from Aramaic, Greek, to ENgllish and other languages you can lose meaning.

      I believe only Jewish Torah Scholars have the ability to properly interpret the Old Testament. Only they have the ability to give
      the Hebrew letters special meaning and proper
      translation into English, not the King James Bible and others that followed.

      Go back to the Hebrew Old Testament with interpretations from Hebrew Torah Scholars
      written on the side for the propr interpretation.

      1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

        Dear Rozallyn, thank you for your comments. I think that they are largely mistaken, however. I say this with honor in my heart for you. I invite you to read the blog. I believe that it would be a great growing resource. With every blessing, Dr. Eli

        1. Rozalyn Landisburg

          If my comments are largely mistaken, please
          respond in specificity with examples and cites to history.
          Old Testament authority.

          My other article was not published. Is this what mediation means?

          What happened to my other response written
          the same time on 3/30/13?

          I wish everyone a blessing and peace. Even
          Christian scholars and preachers on TV admit
          that the Christian world cut off the root of the tree ( Judiasm) and that Christians need to know the root of their religion.

          Doing away with laws, customs, holidays,
          kosher laws and circumsicion as well as
          612 laws and precepts in the Old Testament is part of denying the root of the religion.

          When we decide what part of God’s laws we
          can ignore, discredit, and take out of our
          religion, we are putting our Heads Higher than God’s and making our own decision about what is holy and what is unwholy.

          It is God decision what path we should follow,
          and it is not up to religious leaders to change the rules as it suits them as one would change one’s clothes.
          Jesus did not change the rules, his followers did.

          1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

            Dear Rozalyn, once again I think your comments have many questionable presuppositions that led you to conclusions that are also questionable. Please, do not to see as a personal attack. You are probably a very good person and I count you a better human being than myself. I think I have to start from that.

            But one example among many: “Doing away with laws, customs, holidays, kosher laws and circumcision as well as 612 laws and precepts in the Old Testament is part of denying the root of the religion.” There all kinds of problems with what you wrote here. Some are factual, some philosophical and some methodological. All show a real desire to do what is right in the sight of God, but also misinformation and confusion about many facts. Unfortunately, I cannot spend the time on fixing those things. I think this is your job to read, research and get the facts straight. My basic criticism of your approach is what it does not take into account. In other words its too simplistic to be convincing. Lots of passionate, preachy words, but very little substance that shows awareness of history (Jewish history and Church History).

            Your comment that I did not approve to be post was an example of such. I do not require agreement with my positions, but I do require substance.

            Yours, Dr. Eli

    3. Snowball

      You wrote that the words should have just one meaning, but Job 33:14 says that God says more than one thing at the same time and King David(pbuh) said that God spoke once but he heard two things at Psalm 62:11-12, so that he clearly understood some more words. The Prophet Daniel(pbuh) noticed more words in the book and was told by God that they were for later. Clearly the Hebrew says more than one thing at the same time.

  43. Mauricio

    to the nation of isearl this law is being given to you, who were there at mount sinai’ not this is being given to those whose parents were there or whose ancestors were there, but who were there themselves. then rabbi singer asks a question who would have accepted this document if he hadn’t really been there himself? i must have heard this tape many times before the day when this question just JUMPED out at me. and i said to myself yea, who would have accepted such a document if he hadn’t been there in person?’. that really changed my (inner) life!

  44. Peter

    I am concerned that so much of Prof. Daniel Boyarin’s argument relies on a verse of scripture that is so doubtful. I enjoyed his style of argument and he has made me think a lot . . . I do believe that Jesus did say the shma’ Israel, Kaddish, attended synagogue. and wore a prayer shawl. He was a Rabbi BUT I do not see that he commanded us to follow those laws. Yes we are supposed to be emulating Him and so if I am amongst Jews I am prepared to be as a Jew. Among the tribes in Africa I will greet as an African . . . BUT I bow to Jesus and He is my Lord. (That is another whole discussion on its own)

  45. Jean Maurice Prosper

    I am thinking that What Paul said was very practical for the gentiles who did not know the Jewish laws at that time. Most of these laws were practiced by the Jews for many years and when Jesus came, they still had to believe in what he was saying and understand things like he was teaching. When it comes to gentiles, they do not have to go back to start with the laws, but with Believing who Jesus was and follow his commands. I tend to think that the apostles knew,that the various laws (not only kosher) would somehow be meaningless for gentiles coming to belief in God and Jesus ?

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      I am not sure that Jerusalem counsel (Acts 15) carried much about lack of Jewish education among Gentiles (the laws being meaningless) 🙂 :-). They and Paul were not as Gentile-consumer oriented as we sometimes think. It was not at all part of their thinking. (Remember they were Jews and all words of God were just that – words of God.)

      So what got them to change their mind?

      Its the testimony of Peter when he said that the Gentiles when he preached to them received the same Holy Spirit in Acts 10 as Jews did in Act.2. Jews and Gentles are the branches of the Olive tree so to speak (Paul in Romans 11 will unpack this). Jesus Christ is the root. Holy Spirit is the sap that flows from the root to the branches (olive trees don’t have trunks; trunks made up of braided branches). The reasoning in Jerusalem counsel was simple if the Gentile branches get the same sap/juice that the Jewish branches do, than they do not need to be Jews. They may just as well be simply Jewish Christ believing Gentiles and still be first class citizens in the Kingdom of Israel’s God. Paul would later call it – the MYSTERY in his letter to the church in Rome. The mystery, according to St. Paul, is that Gentiles together with Jews become recipients of all promises of Israel’s God.

      1. Jean Maurice Prosper

        thanks for the explanations, in meaningless i meant the gentiles would hardly understand the purposes of the laws.
        I can see from your notes above how their thinking was simple.

      2. Peter

        In South Africa there is a word that is suitable for my feeling after reading all the. “Eish!” (pronounced aish)

        My mind is blown. There are too many concepts in my mind that are being challenged. Not that do not need the challenge.

        I have always understood that it is not the Holy Spirit that is the sap. Rather that the sap that flows through the Wild Olive (Jew) is what feeds the Grafted in Olive (christian)

        God, I believe is NOT schizophrenic the God in the OT is the same God as in the new testament. I read a lot about God’s love, mercy, kindness, forgiveness in the the OT and in the NT.

        I see a number of categories of law in the bible:
        Ceremonial laws (How to worship)
        Community laws (wrong word here) (Which side of the road to drive on)
        The there are the moral laws which apply to all.

        Where I believe that we miss the whole idea is that we forget that God gave us the laws as a gift. We need to celebrate the laws not groan as they are there for our benefit not for God’s.

        Rather a scattered post but I seldom get a chance to sit on the blog at all and so I try to put all my thoughts into a few words.

  46. Margaret Comstock

    Addendum: Perhaps this whole discussion should be considered in the light of development of doctrine. We see an example of that in the gradual acceptance of the idea that sin is the responsibility of the person who commits it rather than what is visited on the heirs. Not to say that actions do not have consequences on future generations, but sin itself is the responsibility of the person who commits it.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      I agree about the development of doctrine. I am not sure what you meant after you you made that point 🙂

  47. Margaret Comstock

    I think that the interpretation given by Dr. Boyarin is correct. However, the Bible that was given to me by my father when I was married over 60 years ago does have verse 16 in it and it is the “if any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” that was mentioned. It is the early King James version which was translated from the original Greek.. The Second Catholic Edition Revised Standard Version also has that verse as a foot note. I cannot believe that there was a ‘conspiracy’ to leave it out from early on in order to change the meaning.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      WOW!!!! Married 60 years ago!!!!!

      He was kidding about it being conspiracy! 🙂 Remember this talk takes place in Russian capital – one of the world centers of Conspiracy theories :-).

      While vs.16 re-discoveres for all of us the kosher-keeping Jesus, it DOES NOT destroy the no-need-for-gentiles-to-keep-kosher idea advocated and promoted so heavily by the Jerusalem-gathered apostles (Acts 15).

      In the Hebrew Bible we witness two trajectories for conversion to Israel’s God, NOT ONE. 1) Ruth the Moabite (Your God will be my God, your people will be my people) and 2) Naaman the Syrian (Your God will be my God, but my people will still be my people). 2 Kings 5. Read my brilliant 🙂 midrash on the story here (

      1. Ilya Gromov

        “Two trajectories for conversion to Israel’s God…”
        That is a good observation, Eli.

        I think in the Hebrew Bible there is also two ways of relating to God – Creator of the Universe (later specifically revealed to Israelites) .
        The organized and controlled by Law religion of post Sinai Israel and disorganized and not controlled by anything other than special occasional communication from God religion of Abraham (he might have had some rules and doctrines that were passed through generations from Noah though)

        I think that Paul was applying the later to the gentile believers, saying in essence “this is the way you can be in God’s family, part of the original covenant, without having to keep all the laws”

        1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

          i can buy that. 🙂

    2. Phillip De Lange

      I attended a conference and one of the speakers said that the locusts eaten by John the Baptist was a plant and not an insect.

      what is your take on this.

      1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

        According to the Levitical dietary laws locusts were classified as fit for food consumption. “Yet among the winged insects that go on all fours you may eat those which have legs above their feet, with which to leap on the earth. Of them you may eat: the locust according to its kind, the bald locust according to its kind, the cricket according to its kind, and the grasshopper according to its kind. But all other winged insects which have four feet are an abomination to you.” (Leviticus 11:21-23 RSV)

        The idea of eating locusts or grasshoppers is repulsive to many, but keep in mind that most think nothing of eating a cow or a chicken’s flesh. It’s really a matter of mind-set. In ancient Greece and Rome, fried locusts, cicadas, and grasshoppers were considered a delicacy superior to the best meat or fish. These insects have enormous nutritional value. Grasshoppers, for example, are 60% protein versus chicken or beef with about 20%.

  48. Brian Heitman

    As a Seventh-day Adventist Christian (we keep the dietary laws of Leviticus 11), this is no shock to me, nor is Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg’s explanation of Acts 10. We have to remember the context of the text; clearly, if Peter was praying for revelation on what to do about gentile believers, then has a dream, then meets gentile believers, the dream was the revelation he requested. Biblically we cannot expect God to change His (perfect, Holy) mind about what He expects from His people.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Important distinction here. Seventh-day Adventist doctrine says that Gentiles must keep kosher like Jesus did. In my humble opinion I think Paul (if his opinion matters at all here) thinks that Gentiles do not have to keep Kosher as Jesus did. Although they can. Its not a sin for Gentiles to keep kosher :-).

      You wrote: “Biblically we cannot expect God to change His (perfect, Holy) mind about what He expects from His people.”

      A.: If New Testament is to be taken seriously that I do not think your statement is justifiable. God can change what ever he feels like changing. There is only one God per universe, don’t take his sovereignty from him :-). Question is not can He? But did He?

      (What he can not change is Holy to unholy, just to unjust, but to say that he can not change anything???? I have to take exception to this line of thinking).

      let’s keep on thinking. Thank you for your comments.

      1. Sergio

        Interesting question about what He can change or not. As far as I know, William of Ockham had a little controversy about it. He, as theologian, thought that if God is the Almighty, he can change even the Holy to unholy. Let’s take an example. He created all the creatures. He, then, chose to create even the unholy things. If He could do that, why couldn’t He turn the holy to unholy and also at the opposite? Another discernment, Ockham also had the opinion that Justice is all the things that follow God’s rules, but the rules were also made by Him, so He could also turn just to unjust.

        I know that this reasoning leads, like for example another currents also centered in the point of view of God’s reach of power, like some points of view of the Islam or some Protestantism, to the complete erasing of the freewill.

    2. Snowball

      You wrote that we cannot expect God to change His Holy Mind. I should really point out the prophecy through the Prophet at Jeremiah 31:31-33, which states that God would give everyone a new Covenant not the same as the one He gave Moses(pbuh). This means that God already told you to expect a new arrangement.

    3. Alex Fisher

      As an erstwhile Seventh-day Adventist myself (and having studied their Theology degree at Avondale College, Australia), I have to say that the statement that SDA “keeps the dietary laws of Leviticus” is incorrect. Few, if any, SDAs observe kashrut.

      We are advised that it is better if we avoid red meat, and that we should not consume pig meat or “seafood”. But nowhere in Adventist theology or in the writings of Ellen White is it made compulsory. For that reason (among others), most Adventists follow a vegetarian diet. In that respect only might they be said to “keep kosher”.

      On another note, I have some issues with certain passages in the Christian scriptures, most notable being the story of the woman taken in the act of adultery. But I shall keep that for another post. At this time, just let me say that the whole story reeks of something written by a Gentile with no knowledge or understanding of halakha.

      1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

        Alex, that post was already written, click here to be relieved of the pain :-):

  49. Max Debono-De-laurentis

    I have to agree with Dr. Boyarin in his accurate description explaining the parable in relation to the laws of Kashrut. Keeping scripture in its literal and sociologically understood context brings a realistic interpretation of what was happening and how, we today, should be learning scripture and applying it to our lives. It must be remembered the Yeshua (Jesus) was the Law (Torah) made flesh, that being the case He would not have advocated changing even a yod or title of the written Torah: You Know, I think it says that somewhere 🙂

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      I am not sure if I would call what Boyarin is doing – taking the Scriptures literally. I think he is taking the scriptures truthfully and very seriously :-). If anything he is taking a literary approach asking questions like does the text flow? If not, why not? In which way, if properly reconstructed, would it flow and therefore make sense?

  50. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

    Your wrote: “Also Paul’s attitude (who was a Pharisee) in Titus 1:15 – “Unto the pure all things are pure…” and many other places that seem to do away with keeping kosher.”

    My response. Yes, there is not doubt in my mind that Paul was a Pharisee and continued to be such after his vision of Jesus.

    However, here we must consider Acts 21 very carefully since it involved Paul. Paul is accused of telling the Jews that they do not need any more to keep kosher (among other things). James talks with Paul and tells him that these rumors cannot possibly be true. Paul agrees. James asks Paul as a sign of this to pay from his packet for the purification at the Temple of some Jews who followed Jesus who were apparently in Jerusalem at the time. Paul agrees, seeking to destroy the myth that he told Jews to stop being observant. (Paul said what he said and wrote what he wrote to Gentiles). This was all in accord with the Jerusalem’s council’s decision that we read about in Acts 15 that Gentiles needed not to observe most of the stipulations of kashrut to be counted first class-citizen in God’s Kingdom. Paul makes it clear in his other writings.

    So, whether Titus himself had a Jewish background is irrelevant. Titus was engaged in Gentile mission. That’s the key.

  51. Ilya Gromov

    Dr. Eli
    In light of this how would you explain the vision of Peter and the command to kill and eat what God has cleansed in Acts 10.

    Also Paul’s attitude (who was a pharisee) in Titus 1:15 – “Unto the pure all things are pure…” and many other places that seem to do away with keeping kosher.

    Dr. Boyarin’s view is very interesting and makes sense. If we only had the gospels.

    Do you think that the rest of NT is somehow “tainted” by later gentile understanding of this principle?

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      In Hebrew we read from the right to left. So in the spirit of being comfortable with that let me start answering you with your last question. 🙂 🙂

      You asked: “Do you think that the rest of NT is somehow “tainted” by later gentile understanding of this principle?”

      My answer: I do not think that any New Testament book by itself is in anyway tainted “by Gentile Understanding” other than it is a document affected, just as the rest of Jewish literature, by the general Hellenization processes. That means that I do not think that the original manuscripts were some how Gentilezed, or de-Judeized.

      However, it is clear to me that the interpretation of the New Testament that does includes translations and manuscript selections (as per Boyarin’s point about Mark 7:16) was de-judaized most of the time unintentionally. I do not believe that Gentiles conspired to do evil thing – deJudaize the New Testament. I think that it was natural for them to read as Gentiles and not as Jews. No fault in that. There a great comedy out there from the 80ies called: “You don’t have to be Jewish!”

      Now if we define “Christianity” as a non-Jewish system, then it could even be said that the NT was Christianized :-). But that may be too confusing and in the words of Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean Movie – much less better and even more than unhelpful 🙂 :-). So, basically – no. The New Testament is a fully Jewish document even when it comes to dealing with Gentiles. More to come.

      1. osvaldo

        Lo que se dice nuevo testamento,mientras Jesus no habia muerto por la humanidad, todavia se estaba en la ley, cuando resucita con poder y gloria, todas las cosas impuras son limpias , por eso Jesus se preocupa en enseñar mas sobre lo que sale que lo que entra, porque lo sale , sale del corazon y contamina, pero lo que entra va a parar a la letrina. CLARITO.

      2. Debbie Bond

        Dr. Eli,
        Non Biblical comment…Pirates of the Caribbean Movie was shot on Grand Bahama, my island of ministry lol, Johnny Depp was a hoot, and that darn Parrot was demon possessed, lol, nearly bit my fingers off, should have been named Legion for IT was many

        1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

          hahahahahahahahahaha That’s it. If that’s the case, I am boarding the to Bahamas :-).

    2. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      There are several issues here:
      One, is that we might decide, if we will be biblical theologians on that matter or systematic. What this means is very important. If our goal is to explain what the text said in its own context then we would follow that direction. If our goal is to systematize many texts into one doctrine, we would therefore choose a wholly different trajectory. I go with biblical theology in my approach. So I am dealing with Mark in the context of Mark and my concern is Mark.
      Now… having said that, Acts is a very important book because it is really a part of the Gospels corpus (Luke II). Acts 10 that you bring up is rather simple to explain. The issue in Acts is not kashrut at all. The issue in the Acts is Jewish mission to Gentiles. The vision of Acts 10 (that incidentally takes place in the only Halahicly acceptable place for prayer in the house of Simon the Tanner – on the roof – which is very significant!) has to do with the acceptability of Gentiles for the membership in the Early Jewish Galilean Jesus movement. Israel’s God made a point clear to Peter. The point was that not that he can now eat – treif, but that he ought to accept Gentiles into his fellowship (food consumption is symbol of fellowship here). As soon as the vision was over he heard a load knock in the door. It was Gentiles asking him for a lecture about Jewish Christ!
      Now Paul is something different but not as different as one might think. More to come.

    3. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Your wrote: “Also Paul’s attitude (who was a Pharisee) in Titus 1:15 – “Unto the pure all things are pure…” and many other places that seem to do away with keeping kosher.”

      My response. Yes, there is not doubt in my mind that Paul was a Pharisee and continued to be such after his vision of Jesus.

      However, here we must consider Acts 21 very carefully since it involved Paul. Paul is accused of telling the Jews that they do not need any more to keep kosher (among other things). James talks with Paul and tells him that these rumors cannot possibly be true. Paul agrees. James asks Paul as a sign of this to pay from his packet for the purification at the Temple of some Jews who followed Jesus who were apparently in Jerusalem at the time. Paul agrees, seeking to destroy the myth that he told Jews to stop being observant. (Paul said what he said and wrote what he wrote to Gentiles). This was all in accord with the Jerusalem’s council’s decision that we read about in Acts 15 that Gentiles needed not to observe most of the stipulations of kashrut to be counted first class-citizen in God’s Kingdom. Paul makes it clear in his other writings.

      So, whether Titus himself had a Jewish background is irrelevant. Titus was engaged in Gentile mission. That’s the key.

      1. Ilya Gromov

        Thank you, Eli.

        Here’s what I’m trying to understand.
        It appears then that Christianity that we have today is the gentile (“light”) version of Judaism – popularized for gentiles by Paul and is different from the “hard core” version of what Jesus practiced and preached (He did say that he was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel)

        It follows then that “Christianity” is really a lighter version of true (in the eyes of Jesus) Judaism.

        If Jesus is the final authority (for christians) and he preached the “hard core” version of faith (keeping kosher and the rest of the law) – then when we (christians) say we follow Jesus – we really follow “interpreted and abridged by Paul and the Jerusalem council” version of Jesus?

        How appropriate a question “What would Jesus do?” then would be for a gentile believer looking at a juicy pork chop?

        By the way – I really don’t have a problem with Christianity being a popularized version of faith in One True God (pure form of Judiasm Jesus preached). If it’s true (and it might be) – I’m OK with it. I just need to rearrange things in my head, to understand and sort through the implications.

        1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

          Well… its all the matter of perspective…. one way to look at it is the way you suggest (the light/standard version), probably, this is what the Apostles had in mind in Acts 15. On the other hand Paul (who is no less an Apostle in NT collection) says repeatedly that this light version in a way known only to Israel’s God is actually an integral part of strategic package (full version).

          If we continue to use these analogies (which may or may not prove fruitful in the end 🙂 ), I think we will need to go two interpretive trajectories once again. Staying with Biblical (and in this case also prospectival approach) we can divide it up into light (Gentile) and standard (Jewish) versions.

          If we approach it systematically than we would take into consideration other things that Scriptures say. In that case we will have to say that the combination plan of Light (Gentile) and Standard (Jewish) versions constitute one FULL version that in-campuses both (Gentile and Jewish versions).

      2. Harriett

        The vision Peter had of the unclean foods is one of the most misunderstood passages , by Gentiles, in the NT. The vision was given as a sign that Gentiles were invited into the Jewish faith. The invitation to Gentiles finds its roots in the promise to Abraham that all the nations on the earth would be blessed by his offspring. It was the fulfillment of this prophecy. Paul, on the other hand, never gave up his faith and became a Gentile. He was born a Jew, he lived as a Jew and he died a Jew. The Torah was Paul’s breath and Yeshua allowed him to keep the Torah in a perfect way. As a Christian who follows the Jewish Messiah, I feel sorry for those who don’t investigate the roots of our faith and blindly follow interpretations that are wrested to suit an often anti-Jewish bias.

        Thank you Dr. Eli for answering the questions about these issues without bias and thank you so much for your studies in the NT. They are wonderful.

        1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

          You are most welcome, Harriett. I am comfortable with several readings of this story. I think as long as we are really thinking and respecting one another we are doing well. Dr. Eli

          1. Snowball

            You are absolutely right when you say that as long as we are all respecting one another we are doing well. Differences about which we could behave badly are plainly a test to see who would behave in a way that would spoil heaven, which must remain a peaceful place. That explains why there is more than one faith involving the one true God, and why Jesus(pbuh) said he came to set people at variance with each other. Otherwise it makes no sense that the prince of peace would say that. The aim is peace in heaven. He has a winnowing shovel because, as the parable of the drag net shows, it is not everyone who will be allowed into heaven. The sooner people understand that test, the sooner there will be peace between people of different faiths. Sorry if that is a bit long, but it needs pointing out.

            Mark 7:16 is one of those verses that say of parables that they are for those with ears to hear because Job 33:14 says that when God speaks, He says more than one thing at the same time, resulting in a rhyming, poetic riddle.

      3. James Edmond

        It should be remembered that the jerusalem council headed by james knew that the gentiles under the teaching of Paul still had to meet in the synagogue and hear the teachings from the torah. The torah was the only recognized Word Of God.If the gentiles were being taught from the torah, it would seem logical that they would be encouraged to follow it.

        1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

          Thank you James for your comment. I think you are right in principle, although the issue is more complex I think. Let us keep on thinking together. Dr. Eli