Slog Bible Study: Leviticus 11:20-22

Comments

1
I realize that the education system during biblical times was probably even more fucked up than it is today, but are you telling me they hadn't yet figured out that insects have six legs?
2
'Insects' is part of the new translation. Original was something like 'creeping crawling' things.
3
God as micro-manager.
4
So we should regard all flying insects as unclean, except those that aren't. Got it.
5
@3,
That should be "micromanager," without the hyphen.
6
@ 1, I think it's one of those tests of faith. You're know that insects have six legs, but God tells you they have four, so you always say they have four, you tell your kids they have four and beat them when they catch a bug and count out six legs, etc. Submit or be cast into the lake of fire, because God loves you so.
7
I once had chapulines (sauteed grasshoppers) at a Oaxacan restaurant in San Jose, CA. They were pretty good.
8
There...are...four...legs!
9
The 'Look here! Some people eat bugs!' is one of those dull slow-news-day stories I come across once a year. There's always the one guy interviewed, trying the bugs for the first time... 'they taste nutty.'

10
How is it that the Old Testament infestation of locusts was not viewed as Manna from Heaven?
11
Do we have to talk about eating bugs before breakfast?
12
Chapulines are OK then. But what about escamoles? They're not really insects -- yet. They're ant larvae, and have no legs at all. Mexican caviar. I'm going to need a ruling.
13
Jesus probably ate bugs.
14
I love the allowance for eating locusts. That's some serious eye-for-an-eye shit there. Too bad it didn't catch on.
15
Grasshoppers are not unclean unless you count catching ascariasis from the roundworms. Thanks for the advice, God.

Fun fact: ascariasis can provoke an allergic reaction to shrimp. Who wants to connect the Biblical dots?
16
I'll stick to pork, thank you.
17
If you see six legs on an insect, you're not believing hard enough!
19
@5 Subtle!
20
The "Locust Exception" was a hasty edit to the kosher laws to stave off starvation or desertion of the faithful after the crops were all eaten one year.

Here's the real problem: Nobody's allowed to edit the book anymore. Oh, you can interpret it, discuss it, concentrate on certain sections, write lengthy tomes of exposition on it, but nobody can actually go in and fix it up.

If this was an actual operations manual for anything, it'd already be on version 2013.1a.

Instead, it's just a collection of mismatched prose and poetry written centuries apart by representatives of many different cultural/spiritual communities, collected by a mix of editors with varying motivations and goals, translated too many times by people of varying skill, and monkeyed with by a patriarchical hierarchy.
21
Brooklyn Reader, good try, but they won't listen.

But I'll try again:

People who won't listen: this book -- the Jewish bible -- is published as a book but it's also handwritten on scrolls. No mistakes are allowed, and the scrolls have incorporated every single word since they were first committed to parchment more than 2,000 years ago. Since Judaism doesn't demand its members be literalists (forget the ultraOrthodox, they're crazy), we aren't expected to follow every single word. We do have minds.

As far as locusts, etc., they were probably considered clean because they don't light on garbage; they eat crops in the fields. And as mentioned, since they did, in lieu of the crops, people ate the locusts.
22
Sure, insects have six legs, but they only walk on four.
23
I remain convinced that 90% of old religious texts could be reduced to the size of a Chinese fortune that says, "Eating shit is bad, mmmkay? "
24
You think this is crazy - just wait until you notice that the OT actually has TWO different creation stories...
25
@24, that's been the case for more than 2,000 years. I think that's enough time to get over it, don't you?

@23, how would you put the Christian story on a fortune cookie? Seriously; I'm curious.
26
@24 Ha! That's nothing. Wait until folks notice that there are two different Gods in the Old Testament.
27
@Brooklyn: Good ol' Y-H-W-H and Elohim. From what little I remember of my Biblical history, the duplicated passages in the Torah (most likely) stem from differing oral traditions in the Northern and Southern Kingdoms of Judah and Israel, which were later redacted into one document.

@Sarah: True, it's been awhile. However, you might be surprised how few self-proclaimed Christians have any serious familiarity with the text they claim to follow...
28
@19,
How did no one else get that? Christ... this blog takes itself way too seriously.
29
Delightful culinary advice by the celebrated gourmand Leviticus!

...wonder if he has any charming recommendations about stoning women & unbelievers to death....
30
As #2 pointed out, the original Hebrew is best translated as "swarming/crawling things" rather than "insects". The "all fours" thing IS explicit; the Hebrew word for "four" (אַרְבַּע, pronounced "arbah") is in there. Not sure if "on all fours" is an ancient Hebrew figure of speech for horizontal posture, but eh.
31
@30 You make a good point about idiom and figures of speech. I grew up among people who claimed to interpret the text "literally" but even as a child I recognized that was impossible. Language itself isn't literal.
32
Which bugs are followers not allowed to eat? I can't think of any that fly and "have four legs" (I'm interpreting that as legs for walking) that aren't on the list.
33
@32 -- read @30