Tortilla Soup/Aztec Soup

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Dec 4 14:38:26 UTC 2007

At 11:33 PM -0500 12/3/07, James Harbeck wrote:
>>people are forever trying to explain the levitical prohibitions
>>against certain foods on an entrely rational basis.  while i'm not
>>willing to go all the way on explanations that turn on rather high-
>>level cultural assumptions, i think there's a lot in them.  but of
>>course the Tora(h) isn't going to explain; unclean is unclean.
>The most persuasive explanation I've read to date was one that
>asserted that neighbouring peoples favoured certain foods, modes of
>cooking, styles of dress, etc., and the proscriptions are meant to
>set the people of Israel apart -- "we're not them, we're not like
>them, we don't dress or eat like them."

I've heard something similar, and always wondered why an omniscient
and benevolent God didn't instruct the Israelites to set themselves
off from their neighbors by forswearing, say, kidneys, lima beans,
sea cucumber, and licorice-based aperitifs.  The ways of the Lord are
indeed mysterious.


>This is of course an
>oversimplification of what I recall to be a more nuanced approach to
>a very complex issue. But I rather think that, prima facie, it makes
>more sense than, for instance, the frequently trotted out assertion
>about pork being banned due to the risk of trichinosis, an affliction
>that takes long enough to develop that a clear causal relationship is
>not going to leap out as it would with, say, salmonella.
>James Harbeck.
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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