Ancient Greeks sacrificed and ate pigs and dogs. Israelites were forbidden to do so.

Ancient Greeks made blood pudding from sacrifices. Israelites were not supposed to eat blood.

Ancient Greeks sometimes sacrificed pregnant sows. Israelites were commanded not to take both the eggs and the hen. 

Greek sacrificial goats were often wethers, but Israelites couldn’t offer animals that were physically damaged.

Greeks roasted and ate sphlanchna, the entrails of sacrifices. Israelites put the entrails into Yahweh’s fire.

Maimonides was not, in my view, correct to say that Israel was forbidden to do these things because pagans (Canaanites, Egyptians, Babylonians, later Greeks) did them. Even if differentiation doesn’t explain the regulations, it is essential to their meaning. Any understanding of the Levitical system must include a comparative element.

Articles by Peter J. Leithart

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