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.

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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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. gilbert singh

    praise G-d adonai / yeshua Amen.

  10. 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,