The Dietary Restrictions on the Biblical Text

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In the history of humanity, humans have consumed plenty of things, from plants to human flesh. It is all about survival. However as societies became more complex and states began to form, several changes in the diet were created, mostly by religious principles. However there are underlying causes for these dietary restrictions besides the religious aspect. Both Marvin Harris and Mary Douglas propose some of the underlying causes for the dietary restrictions in the old texts. Harris proposes several reasons for the dietary restrictions in the Leviticus, including moral, ethical and functional, while Douglas presents the cost benefit and a historical reasons for dietary restrictions in several religious text. Harris approach is the cost benefit analysis of raising some types of animals. He claims that it is more efficient for humans to eat plants since the energy lost in the food chain is less. It was better to eat plants rather than feeding plants to animal in order to get meat. By consuming animal flesh, humans only get 0.02% of the original sunlight captured by photosynthesis. Also the raising of cattle or domestic animals creates pressure in ecosystems and reproductive pressure, causing people to make a choice between crops or livestock. These factors are a key in developing states, especially in the ancient times. Despite the pressure created by the raising of domestic animals, they had plenty of benefits besides the value of meat. Domestic animals were used as tractions machines, fiber producers, fertilizers, producers of wool, hides, milk. In fact they were more valuable alive for their products than dead for their meat. The value of animal byproducts explains why meat had disappeared from the table of some ancient civili... ... middle of paper ... ...efore unholy and received no blessing from God, granted only by the care if man. Only the wild animals with the cloven hoof and cud chewers were considered clean, this is the first defining factors of clean animals, the second is the uses of animals and their value, such as the pigs which have no value since they produce only meat and do not chew the cud, the third defining factor is the real in which the animals live in. In the air only two legged flying birds are clean. In the land only four legged that hop or walk. In the Water only those who swim with fins and have scales are clean. The predatory habits or scavenging was not considered. The dietary rules explored by Douglas were restrictions with the purpose of inspiring meditation, on the purity and completeness of God Works Cited Harris, Marvin. Cannibals and Kings . New York : Vintage Books , 1977. Print.

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