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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol I:
JUSTIN MARTYR: Chapter XX.—Why choice of meats was...

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XX.—Why choice of meats was prescribed.

“Moreover, you were commanded to abstain from certain kinds of food, in order that you might keep God before your eyes while you ate and drank, seeing that you were prone and very ready to depart from His knowledge, as Moses also affirms: ‘The people ate and drank, and rose up to play.’ 1994 And again: ‘Jacob ate, and was satisfied, and waxed fat; and he who was beloved kicked: he waxed fat, he grew thick, he was enlarged, and he forsook God who had made him.’ 1995 For it was told you by Moses in the book of Genesis, that God granted to Noah, being a just man, to eat of every animal, but not of flesh with the blood, which is dead.” 1996 And as he was ready to say, “as the green herbs,” I anticipated him: “Why do you not receive this statement, ‘as the green herbs,’ in the sense in which it was given by God, to wit, that just as God has granted the herbs for sustenance to man, even so has He given the animals for the diet of flesh? But, you say, a distinction was laid down thereafter to Noah, because we do not eat certain herbs. As you interpret it, the thing is incredible. And first I shall not occupy myself with this, though able to say and to hold that every vegetable is food, and fit to be eaten. But although we discriminate between green herbs, not eating all, we refrain from eating some, not because they are common or unclean, but because they are bitter, or deadly, or thorny. But we lay hands on and take of all herbs which are sweet, very nourishing and good, whether they are marine or land plants. Thus also God by the mouth of Moses commanded you to abstain from unclean and improper 1997 and violent animals: when, moreover, though you were eating manna in the desert, and were seeing all those wondrous acts wrought for you by God, you made and worshipped the golden calf. 1998 Hence he cries continually, and justly, ‘They are foolish children, in whom is no faith.’ 1999


Footnotes

204:1994

Ex. xxxii. 6.

204:1995

Deut. xxxii. 15.

204:1996

νεκριμαῖον, or “dieth of itself;” com. reading was ἐκριμαῖον, which was supposed to be derived from ἐκρίπτω, and to mean “which ought to be cast out:” the above was suggested by H. Stephanus.

204:1997

ἄὸικος καὶ παράνομος.

204:1998

“The reasoning of St. Justin is not quite clear to interpreters. As we abstain from some herbs, not because they are forbidden by law, but because they are deadly; so the law of abstinence from improper and violent animals was imposed not on Noah, but on you as a yoke on account of your sins.”—Maranus.

204:1999

Deut. 32:6, 20.


Next: Chapter XXI.—Sabbaths were...

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