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. 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

      Gilbert,

      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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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)

  4. 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.

  5. 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 🙂

  6. 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 (http://christianstudies.eteacherbiblical.com/index.php/2012/08/avalanche-of-reconciliation-in-2-kings-5-the-gospel-in-israels-war-story-dr-eli-lizorkin-eyzenberg/).

      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%.

  7. 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 :-):

        http://iibsblogs.wpengine.com/2013/10/the-woman-caught-in-adultery-oral-tradition-or-fabricated-story-7-53-854/

  8. 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?

  9. 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.

  10. 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