Biblical Old Testament Dietary Laws and Rules

Essay by BaapOfAllCheaters February 2010

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The Old Testament is one of the great books of the world. Although it was written in ancient times, it has survived the test of the centuries and it is still one of the most influential of all contemporary books. The greatness of the Old Testament is indicated, in part, by the fact that it belongs to the sacred literature of at least three of the major religions of the world. Among the Jews, the Mohammedans, and the Christians, it is regarded as holy and inspired. For the adherents of these religious groups it is a book which contains, in some degree, the revelation of the Supreme Being and for this reason it is an authoritative source for the determination of specific beliefs and the regulation of human conduct. The Old Testament, consequently, is one of the most influential books of the modern world. It was a major part of the first printed book; and its circulation still exceeds, or very nearly exceeds, that of any other volume ever published.

It is not, however, in the size of its circulation that we find the true measure of its worth. That is to be found in the way in which its teachings have influenced the course of human civilization and in the difference which it has made in the lives of human beings. There is, of course, no method for measuring accurately the influence of this book in either of these areas, but we can mention some of the results which have been derived from it.

Dietary LawsDietary laws are the rules and regulations governing which items of food are forbidden and which permitted. The word kosher (kasher in the Sephardi and modern Hebrew pronunciation) means simply 'right' or 'fit', as in the verse: 'The thing seems right [kasher] in...