Monday, May 15, 2017

Were the kosher laws originally only for priests?

HISTORY OF RELIGION: Can We Eat Bacon Now? Leviticus Was Written for Priests, Not You, Say Scholars. The Book of Leviticus is thought to lay down rules for all Jews, but some biblical scholars think the laws were originally meant for a more select group. There seems to be some room for debate about the history of these rules. But by the time of the rabbinic literature there was no doubt that they applied to all Jews.

Relevant, but not mentioned, is Jacob Neusner's proposal about the Pharisees. He argued that they made it a condition of their group that lay people follow the Priestly laws as though they were priests serving in the Temple. Their perspective formed the foundation of rabbinic Judaism.