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How Many Pigs Were on Noah's Ark? An Exegetical Encounter on the Nature of Impurity*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 July 2015

Moshe Blidstein*
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem


Commentators have long noted that God's commandment to Noah to bring all animals onto the ark exists in two intertwined versions in the biblical text. In the first version, Noah is told to bring two of every species: “And of every living thing, of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female” (Gen 6:19 nrsv). In the second version, however, the animal kingdom is divided into pure and impure species: “Take with you seven pairs of all pure animals, the male and its mate; and a pair of the animals that are not pure, the male and its mate; and seven pairs of the birds of the air also, male and female, to keep their kind alive on the face of all the earth” (Gen 7:2–3). Noah then sacrifices some of the pure animals and birds after the flood (Gen 8:20).

Copyright © President and Fellows of Harvard College 2015 

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I am grateful to Yaakov Blidstein, Batya Blidstein, Guy Stroumsa, Edna Ruppin, Markus Bockmuehl, Misgav Har-Peled, Noel Lenski, Reuven Kiperwasser, Emmanouela Grypeou, Konstantin Klein, Naphtali Meshel, and several anonymous reviewers for their many helpful comments on earlier versions of this article. I thank the Deichmann Program for Jewish and Christian Literature of the Hellenistic-Roman Era at Ben-Gurion University for its financial support.


1 Translation adapted from the nrsv. Modern biblical criticism assigns the first version to P and the second to J; see Habel, Norman C., “The Two Flood Stories in Genesis,” in The Flood Myth (ed. Dundes, Alan; Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988) 1328Google Scholar. A similar division of the flood narrative into two separate versions was already proposed in the third century by Bardaisan of Edessa, as reported and vehemently rejected by Eusebius of Emesa, in Commentaire de la Genèse. Texte arménien de l’édition de Venise (1980), fragments grecs et syriaques (ed. Françoise Petit, Lucas van Rompay, and J. J. S. Weitenberg; Traditio exegetica graeca 15; Louvain: Peeters, 2006) 95, 213, 293 (46b in the Armenian translation, frg. cat. 682 from the catena, frg. 29 from Procopius of Gaza, respectively).

2 For the figure of Noah in late ancient sources, see Lewis, Jack P., A Study of the Interpretation of Noah and the Flood in Jewish and Christian Literature (Leiden: Brill, 1968)Google Scholar; Amirav, Hagit, Rhetoric and Tradition: John Chrysostom on Noah and the Flood (Traditio exegetica graeca 12; Louvain: Peeters, 2003)Google Scholar; Koltun-Fromm, Naomi, “Aphrahat and the Rabbis on Noah's Righteousness in Light of the Jewish-Christian Polemic,” in The Book of Genesis in Jewish and Oriental Christian Interpretation: A Collection of Essays (ed. Frishman, Judith and van Rompay, Lucas; Traditio exegetica graeca 5; Louvain: Peeters, 1997) 5772Google Scholar; Lieber, Laura S., “Portraits of Righteousness: Noah in Early Christian and Jewish Hymnography,” ZRGG 61 (2009) 332–55Google Scholar; and Noah and His Book(s) (ed. Michael E. Stone, Aryeh Amihay, and Vered Hillel; Early Judaism and Its Literature 28; Leiden: Brill, 2010).

3 Nature (φύσις) is a famously equivocal term with many senses. However, two of the common meanings of the “natural” in both classical literature and Christian writing are “essential” and “non-artificial,” and I believe one of these two meanings is behind the uses of “nature” in the texts cited here. For non-Christological patristic usage, see Lampe, G. W. H., A Patristic Greek Lexicon (Oxford: Clarendon, 1961) 1496–98Google Scholar; Cox, Patricia, “Origen and the Bestial Soul: A Poetics of Nature,” VC 36 (1982) 115–40Google Scholar.

4 b. Sanh. 59b; Irenaeus, Epid. 22; Nemesius of Emesa, Nat. hom. 1.12; and the many references in Lewis, Interpretation of Noah, 37 n. 4. For protological aspects of dietary asceticism in late ancient Christianity, see Shaw, Teresa M., The Burden of the Flesh: Fasting and Sexuality in Early Christianity (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1998) 171–81Google Scholar.

5 Justin, Dial. 20.2; Clement, Paed. 2.16.3; Irenaeus, Epid. 22; Const. ap. 7.20; Basil of Caesarea, Jejun. 1.5, Ep. 236.4; Julian, Galil. 314C; Gen. Rab. 34.9; Lev. Rab. 13.2; and y. Meg. 72b (cited below n. 53). Aphrahat, though agreeing with this common opinion, admits that Abraham and his descendants were commanded “not to use an impure thing” (Dem. 15.3 [PS 1:736]; translation mine).

6 For these discussions, see Sorabji, Richard, Animal Minds and Human Morals: The Origins of the Western Debate (Cornell Studies in Classical Philology 54; Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1993)Google Scholar; Gilhus, Ingvild Sælid, Animals, Gods and Humans: Changing Attitudes to Animals in Greek, Roman and Early Christian Ideas (London: Routledge, 2006)Google Scholar. For the implications of these discussions on disputes concerning dietary rules, see Misgav Har-Peled, “The Pig as a Problem: Greeks, Romans and Jewish Pork Avoidance” (Ph.D. diss, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, 2011).

7 For the first four centuries, see Tomson, Peter J., “Jewish Food Laws in Early Christian Community Discourse,” Semeia 86 (1999) 193211Google Scholar; Freidenreich, David M., Foreigners and Their Food: Constructing Otherness in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Law (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011) 85128CrossRefGoogle Scholar; for medieval evidence, see Resnick, Irven, “Dietary Laws in Medieval Christian-Jewish Polemics: A Survey,” Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations 6 (2011) 115CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Although the impurity of animals and their dietary prohibition are by no means identical, Christians from the 2nd cent. onwards saw no distinction between them.

8 Paralleled in Mark 7:15. The original meaning of this saying is contested; see Furstenberg, Yair, “Defilement Penetrating the Body: A New Understanding of Contamination in Mark 7.15,” NTS 54 (2008) 176200CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

9 This position was commonly countered by prooftexts such as Gen 1:31 or 1 Tim 4:4. See Diogn. 4.2; Clement, Paed. 2.1.8; Origen, Comm. Matt. 11.12; idem, Comm. Rom. 9.42.3; Novatian, Cib. Jud. 2; Aphrahat, Dem. 15; Chrysostom, Hom. 1 Tim. 12; Augustine, Faust. 31.4; Ephrem, in The Discourses Addressed to Hypatius (ed. C. W. Mitchell; vol. 1 of S. Ephraim's Prose Refutations of Mani, Marcion, and Bardaisan; Text and Translation Society; London: Williams and Norgate, 1912) 109–10; Eznik of Kolb, Eghts aghandots’ (On God) 63 (in A Treatise on God Written in Armenian by Eznik of Kolb [trans. Monica J. Blanchard and Robin Darling Young; Eastern Christian Texts in Translation 2; Louvain: Peeters, 1998] 199–202). For Ephrem, see Kremer, Thomas, “Gute und böse Tiere im Genesiskommentar Ephräms des Syrers,” in Papers Presented at the Fifteenth International Conference on Patristic Studies Held in Oxford 2007 (ed. Baun, Jane Ralls et al.; StPatr 45; Louvain: Peeters, 2010) 221–27Google Scholar. The conception of the natural impurity of “evil animals” in these authors may be ultimately rooted in Zoroastrianism, for which see Moazami, Mahnaz, “Evil Animals in the Zoroastrian Religion,” HR 44 (2005) 300317Google Scholar; for application to dietary law, see Gignoux, Philippe, “Dietary Laws in Pre-Islamic and Post-Sasanian Iran: A Comparative Survey,” Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam 17 (1994) 1642Google Scholar. On the discourse of alimentary asceticism and heresy in late antiquity, see Shaw, Teresa M., “Vegetarianism, Heresy, and Asceticism in Late Ancient Christianity,” in Eating and Believing: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Vegetarianism and Theology (ed. Grumett, David and Muers, Rachel; London: T&T Clark, 2008) 7595Google Scholar.

10 Origen, Comm. Matt. 11.12. See further idem, Comm. Rom. 10.3.2; Novatian, Cib. Jud. 3. For the Stoic antecedents to this line of thought, see Sorabji, Animal Minds, esp. 7–16, 107–33; Gilhus, Animals, Gods and Humans, 37–63. Christian writers typically held to the (Stoic) view that animals and humans inhabit totally different planes as regards moral and intellectual abilities; this is seen, for example, in Christian polemics on the impossibility of the reincarnation of a human soul in an animal body. See Gilhus, Animals, Gods and Humans, 86–90; 175–76; Sorabji, Animal Minds, 195–207. Nature was at the heart of debates over the dietary laws already in Greek writings of Second Temple Judaism; see Let. Aris. 129, 143–50; 4 Macc 5:8–9; and Philo, Spec. 4.100–118. For the relationship between nature and law in Second Temple writings, see Horsley, R. A., “The Law of Nature in Philo and Cicero,” HTR 71 (1978) 3559CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Bockmuehl, Markus, “Natural Law in Second Temple Judaism,” VT 45 (1995) 1744Google Scholar; and Najman, Hindy, “The Law of Nature and the Authority of Mosaic Law,” SPhilo 11 (1999) 5573Google Scholar.

11 See Acts 15:29, which prohibits eating food polluted by idols, meat of strangled animals, and blood; Simon, Marcel, “The Apostolic Decree and Its Setting in the Ancient Church,” BJRL 52 (1970) 437–60Google Scholar; and Wehnert, Jürgen, Die Reinheit des “christlichen Gottesvolkes” aus Juden und Heiden. Studien zum historischen und theologischen Hintergrund des sogenannten Aposteldekrets (FRLANT 173; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar. The perception of food offered to idols as polluted was maintained by Christians in the following centuries; see Cheung, Alex T., Idol Food in Corinth: Jewish Background and Pauline Legacy (JSNTSup 176; Sheffield, U.K.: Sheffield Academic Press, 1999) 210–77Google Scholar. There is much evidence that the prohibition on blood was also maintained in many communities into the early Middle Ages. Certain animals were commonly not eaten by Christians in the East; thus, the Canons of Jacob of Edessa 14 prohibit the camel, wolf, and ass (for which see The Synodicon in the West Syrian Tradition [ed. and trans. Arthur Vööbus; 4 vols.; CSCO 367–68, 375–76; Louvain: Secrétariat du CorpusSCO, 1975–1976] 3:246), while Basil the Great had to affirm that pork is permitted (Ep. 199.28). Many Eastern sources are collected by Karl Böckenhoff, Speisesatzungen mosaischer Art in mittelalterlichen Kirchenrechtsquellen des Morgen- und Abendlandes (Münster: Aschendorff, 1907).

12 See Stein, S., “The Dietary Laws in Rabbinic and Patristic Literature,” in Papers Presented to the Second International Conference on Patristic Studies Held at Christ Church, Oxford, 1955 (ed. Aland, Kurt and Cross, F. L.; StPatr 2; TUGAL 64; Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1957) 141–54Google Scholar. Major early discussions are Let. Aris. 150; Philo, Spec. 4.106–7; Barn. 10; Clement, Paed. 3.11; Irenaeus, Haer. 5.8.3; Origen, Hom. Lev. 7.6–7; and Augustine, Faust. 16.30.

13 Novatian, Cib. Jud. 3.2 (in Novatiani opera quae supersunt [ed. G. F. Diercks; CCSL 4; Turnhout, Belgium: Brépols, 1972] 94; translation in The Trinity; The Spectacles; Jewish Foods; In Praise of Purity; Letters [trans. Russel J. DeSimone; FC 67; Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1981] 148).

14 Clement, Strom. 2.20.105 (in Les stromates [ed. and trans. Claude Mondésert et al.; 7 vols.; SC 30, 38, 278–79, 428, 446, 463; Paris: Cerf, 1951–2001] 2:115; translation mine); and see further Clement, Paed. 1.17; Tertullian, Marc. 2.20.1; idem, Jejun. 5; and Novatian, Cib. Jud. 4. The idea is found already in Philo, Spec. 4.100–101.

15 Origen, Cels. 4.92–93 (in Die Schrift vom Martyrium. Buch IIV Gegen Celsus [ed. Paul Koetschau; vol. 1 of Origenes Werke; Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1899] 365–66; translation in Contra Celsum [trans. Henry Chadwick; Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1980] 257–58). See also Origen, Hom. Num. 16.7.13. The link between defiled food and demons is rooted in Paul's explanation for the prohibition of food sacrificed to idols (1 Cor 8:4–13; 10:19–21). See Gooch, Peter D., Dangerous Food: I Corinthians 8–10 in Its Context (Studies in Christianity and Judaism 5; Waterloo, Ont.: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1993)Google Scholar; Cheung, Idol Food in Corinth. A connection (and contrast) between the dietary laws and food sacrificed to idols is made by Clement, Paed. 2.8.3–9.1; Origen, Comm. Matt. 11.12; and Jerome, Comm. Matt. 15.11.

16 See Justin, Dial. 20; Did. apost. 26; Methodius of Olympus, Cib. 7; and in the Syriac tradition, Aphrahat, Dem. 15; Ephrem [attr.], Comm. Lev. 11 (in Sancti patris nostri Ephraem Syri opera omnia [ed. Giuseppe Assemani; 6 vols.; Rome: Ex Typographia Vaticana, 1732–1746] 1:241); Theodore Bar Koni, Lib. schol. 3.41 (in Livre des scolies (recension d’Urmiah) [ed. and trans. Robert Hespel; CSCO 447; Louvain: Peeters, 1983] 175); Ishodad of Merv, Comm. Lev. 11 (in Exode-Deutéronome [ed. Ceslas van den Eynde; vol. 2 of Commentaire d’Išo’dad de Merv sur l’Ancien Testament; CSCO 176; Louvain: Secrétariat du CorpusSCO, 1958] 69).

17 Eusebius of Emesa on Lev 11:2 (cat. frg. in Les anciens commentateurs grecs de l’Octateuque et des Rois (Fragments tirés des chaînes) [ed. Robert Devreesse; Studi e testi 201; Vatican City: Biblioteca apostolica vaticana, 1959] 95); Theodoret, Quaest. Lev. 11, in The Questions on the Octateuch (ed. and trans. John Petruccione and Robert C. Hill; 2 vols.; Library of Early Christianity 1–2; Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2007) 2:28–32; Aphrahat, Dem. 15.

18 Justin, Dial. 20.4 (in Dialogus cum Tryphone [ed. Miroslav Marcovich; PTS 47; Berlin: De Gruyter, 1997] 102; translation mine).

19 See late 2nd-cent. bishop Theophilus of Antioch, Autol. 2.16–17, who explains that although animals were all created equally good and “of one nature [ἐκ μιᾶς φύσεως],” the wild animals later became evil and carnivorous against the “law of God,” “for when man transgressed, they also transgressed with him” (as translated in ANF 3:83–84). The animals will return to their original purity and tameness in the eschaton. See further Isa 65:25; Origen, Hom. Ezech. 11.3.3; Acts Phil. 8.96–100; and in Jewish sources Midr. Ps. 146; Gen. Rab. 20.5.

20 Above n. 17; translation mine.

21 Hom. Tit. 3; translation adapted from John Chrysostom, Homilies on Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians, Timothy, Titus, and Philemon (ed. Philip Schaff; NPNF1 13; Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1956) 530. The impurity of fish and pigs due to their eating habits (man- and mud-eating for fish, scatophagy for pigs) is already found in classical authors; see Parker, Robert, Miasma: Pollution and Purification in Early Greek Religion (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983) 360Google Scholar. See further Origen, Fr. Matt. 137 I (in Origenes Matthäuserklärung III. Fragmente und Indices [ed. Erich Klostermann and Ludwig Früchtel; vol. 12 of Origenes Werke; Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1941] 68). Chrysostom's argument is reproduced in 7th-cent. Jewish-Christian disputations written in Greek: Gustave Bardy, ed., “Les Trophées des Damas. Controverse judéo-chrétienne du VIIe siècle,” PO 15 (1927) 172–292, at 248; Pseudo-Anastasius of Sinai, Dial. parv. (PG 89:1271D–1273A). The dietary prohibition of animals that consume blood or carrion was common in early medieval Western penitentials and canons. Many of these traditions are ascribed to two writers originating from Syria, Theodore of Tarsus and Gregory III; see Meens, Rob, “Pollution in the Early Middle Ages: The Case of the Food Regulations in Penitentials,” Early Medieval Europe 4 (1995) 319CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

22 Origen, Sel. Gen. (PG 12:105), in Origenes. Die Kommentierung des Buches Genesis (ed. and trans. Karin Metzler; Origenes: Werke mit deutscher Übersetzung 1.1; Berlin: De Gruyter, 2010) frg. E10, p. 209; translation mine. A very similar question and answer is found in Procopius of Gaza, Comm. Gen. (PG 87A:280D); John Cassian, Coll. 8.23. For the question only, see Jerome, Epist. 35. For Origen's use and development of the concept of natural law, see Banner, W. A., “Origen and the Tradition of Natural Law Concepts,” DOP 8 (1954) 4982Google Scholar; Roukema, Riemer, “Law of Nature,” in The Westminster Handbook to Origen (ed. McGuckin, John A.; Westminster Handbooks to Christian Theology; Louisville: John Knox Press, 2004) 140–41Google Scholar.

23 Kommentierung des Buches Genesis (ed. Metzler), frg. E17, p. 214; translation mine.

24 Cels. 4.93 (above n. 15); see also Cels. 5.49.

25 Philo, Spec. 4.100–118.

26 Justin, Dial. 44–46; Irenaeus, Haer. 4.16.3; and Did. apost. 26. See Stylianopoulos, Theodore, Justin Martyr and the Mosaic Law (SBLDS 20; Missoula, Mont.: Scholars Press, 1975)Google Scholar; de Jonge, Marinus, “The Pre-Mosaic Servants of God in the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs and in the Writings of Justin and Irenaeus,” VC 39 (1985) 157–70Google Scholar. See also Tertullian, Adv. Jud. 2.2–10, with Inowlocki, Sabrina, “Tertullian's Law of Paradise (Adversus Judaeos 2): Reflections on a Shared Motif in Jewish and Christian Literature,” in Paradise in Antiquity: Jewish and Christian Views (ed. Bockmuehl, Markus N. A. and Stroumsa, Guy G.; Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2010) 103–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Eusebius, Dem. ev. 1.2, Praep. ev. 7.3–8, with Kofsky, Aryeh, Eusebius of Caesarea against Paganism (Jewish and Christian Perspectives 3; Boston: Brill, 2000) 100122Google Scholar.

27 Hom. Gen. 24.16; translation adapted from John Chrysostom: Homilies on Genesis 18–45 (trans. Robert C. Hill; FC 82; Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1990) 116–17.

28 Compare Theodoret [attr.], Quaestiones et responsiones ad orthodoxos, quaest. 47 (ed. Athanasios Papadopoulos-Kerameus [St. Petersburg: Kirshbauma, 1895; repr., Leipzig: Zentralantiquariat, 1975] 52–53), for whom Noah's abstinence from impure animals was voluntary and ascetic in motivation, and not due to Mosaic law. This text is generally dated to the 5th cent.; see also Jerome, Jov. 2.15, who cites the impure animals of Noah's ark as evidence for the importance of fasting, and comments: “of course eating the impure [immundorum] was forbidden, otherwise there would be no reason to call it impure” (PL 23:306A–B; translation mine).

29 Ephrem, Comm. Gen. 6.9.1 (in Sancti Ephraem Syri in Genesim et in Exodum comentarii [ed. and trans. Raymond Tonneau; 2 vols.; CSCO 152–53; Scriptores Syri 71–72; Louvain: Durbecq, 1955] 1:59; translation in Selected Prose Works [trans. Edward G. Mathews, Joseph P. Amar, and Kathleen E. McVey; FC 91; Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press: 1994] 139). Ephrem, as well as Basil of Seleucia (Orat. 6: On Noah, Sermones XLI [PG 85:96]), Augustine (Civ. 15.27), and Romanos (Kontakia 2.7 [in Hymnes I. Ancien Testament (IVIII) [ed. and trans. José Grosdidier de Matons; SC 99; Paris: Cerf, 1964] 112]), describe the animals as coming of their accord or by God's will, thus reducing the need for Noah to differentiate between them independently.

30 Allison P. Hayman argues conclusively for a date between 730 and 770 (The Disputation of Sergius the Stylite against a Jew [2 vols.; CSCO 338–39; Louvain: Sécretariat du CorpusSCO, 1973] 2:3*). Recent scholarship has disputed the degree to which the numerous Jewish-Christian dialogues of the 6th to 9th cents. reflect real disputations with Jews, as opposed to purely literary-fictional works that provided a means for the Christian community to strengthen its self-image and social and theological cohesion when faced with the rise of Islam. See Déroche, Vincent, “Polémique anti-judaïque et émergence de l’islam,” Revue des Études Byzantines 57 (1999) 141–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Olster, David, Roman Defeat, Christian Response, and the Literary Construction of the Jew (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Cameron, Averil, “Byzantines and Jews: Some Recent Work on Early Byzantium,” Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies 20 (1996) 249–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and O'Sullivan, Shaun, “Anti-Jewish Polemic and Early Islam,” in The Bible in Arab Christianity (ed. Thomas, David R.; History of Christian-Muslim Relations 6; Leiden: Brill, 2007) 4968Google Scholar.

31 Zooarchaeology shows that pigs were typically consumed in the region, though in small quantities; see Zeder, Melinda A., “The Role of Pigs in Near Eastern Subsistence: A View from the Southern Levant,” in Retrieving the Past: Essays on Archaeological Research and Methodology in Honor of Gus W. Van Beek (ed. Seger, Joe D.; Lake, Winona, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 1996) 297311Google Scholar. A higher-resolution analysis determining ethnicity or religiosity according to the presence of pig remains is fraught with methodological difficulties; see Lev-Tov, Justin, “‘Upon What Meat Doth This Our Caesar Feed . . .?’ A Dietary Perspective on Hellenistic and Roman Influence in Palestine,” in Zeichen aus Text und Stein: Studien auf dem Weg zu einer Archäologie des Neuen Testaments (ed. Alkier, Stefan and Zangenberg, Jürgen; Texte und Arbeiten zum neutestamentlichen Zeitalter 42; Tübingen: Francke, 2003) 420–46Google Scholar. The literary sources assume that Christians in general consumed pork, though some groups may have abstained from it actively; see Basil of Caesarea, Ep. 199.28; The Work of Dionysius Barṣalībi against the Armenians (ed. Alphonse Mingana; Cambridge, U.K.: Heffer & Sons, 1931) 539. Gilbert Dagron writes: “pork held the same position in the seventh to twelfth centuries that it did in the Roman world. The progressive Islamization of the Near East did not make its use disappear or even diminish in Byzantine territories” (“The Urban Economy, Seventh–Twelfth Centuries,” in The Economic History of Byzantium: From the Seventh through the Fifteenth Century [ed. Angeliki E. Laiou; 3 vols.; Dumbarton Oaks Studies 39; Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks, 2002] 2:393–461, at 447).

32 Rosenblum, Jordan, “‘Why Do You Refuse to Eat Pork?’ Jews, Food, and Identity in Roman Palestine,” JQR 100 (2010) 95110Google Scholar; Schäfer, Peter, Judeophobia: Attitudes toward the Jews in the Ancient World (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998) 6681Google Scholar; and Resnick, “Dietary Laws.”

33 Sergius, Disp. 18.1 (in Disputation [ed. Hayman], 1:58; trans. 2:57).

34 Sergius, Disp. 18.4 (in Disputation [ed. Hayman], 1:58; trans. 2:57).

35 For a bibliography on translations of Chrysostom into Syriac, see Shippee, Arthur B., “The Known Syriac Witnesses to John Chrysostom's Catecheses, and New Manuscript Sources,” Le Muséon 109 (1996) 87111CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

36 Sergius, Disp. 19.11 (in Disputation [ed. Hayman], 1:61; trans. 2:61).

37 Herodotus, Hist. 3.108.2; see similarly Plato, Prot. 321b; Lactantius, Opif. 2, with Egerton, Frank N. III, “Ancient Sources for Animal Demography,” Isis 59 (1968) 175–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar. And see Gen. Rab. 20.4 and b. Bek. 8a.

38 Theodore Bar Koni, Lib. schol. 2.105. See also Basil of Seleucia, cited above at n. 29, who speaks of the number of animals arriving at the ark as a source for Noah's discernment but does not mention their present fertility.

39 Moses Bar Kepha, a 9th-cent. Syriac writer, also buttresses his scientific claim that the edible animals are more numerous than the nonedible by appealing to Noah's ark (Commentary on the Hexaemeron 43 [Der Hexaemeronkommentar des Moses bar Kepha. Einleitung, Übersetzung und Untersuchungen [ed. and trans. Lorenz Schlimme; 2 vols.; Göttinger Orientforschungen, 1. Reihe, Syriaca 14; Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1977] 2:496]). For later Eastern sources, see Barhebraeus, Scholia on the Old Testament, Part 1: GenesisII Samuel (ed. Martin Sprengling and William Creighton Graham; OIP 13; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1931) 36–37, and the 12th–13th cent. Arabic catena published by Paul de Lagarde, Materialien zur Kritik und Geschichte des Pentateuchs (2 vols.; Leipzig: Treubner, 1867) 1:73–74.

40 Introduction to The Armenian Commentary on Genesis Attributed to Ephrem the Syrian (ed. and trans. Edward G. Mathews; 2 vols.; CSCO 572–73; Louvain: Peeters, 1998).

41 Ibid., 2:65.

42 Ibid., 2:66.

43 Bockmuehl, “Natural Law,” 36; see his citation of E. E. Urbach, n. 42. In several traditions, the rabbis emphasize that the commandments should be performed because of their divine origin and not for a substantial reason; see Sifra, Ahre Mot 9.10, b. Yoma 67b. For rabbinic epistemology as more “nominalist” than “realist,” see Hayes, Christine, “Legal Realism and the Fashioning of Sectarians in Jewish Antiquity,” in Sects and Sectarianism in Jewish History (ed. Stern, Sacha; IJS Studies in Judaica 12; Leiden: Brill, 2011) 119–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

44 On particularism and universalism in rabbinic texts, see Hirshman, Marc, Torah Lekhol Ba’e Ha’olam. Zerem Universali Besifrut Hatanna’im Veyahaso Lehokhmat Ha’amim (Torah for the entire world: a universalist school of rabbinic thought) (Tel Aviv: Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 1999)Google Scholar. I use the terms without any value judgment.

45 Lev. Rab. 13.2–3.

46 Rosenblum, “Why Do You Refuse”; Misgav Har-Peled, “The Dialogical Beast: The Identification of Rome with the Pig in Early Rabbinic Literature (Ph.D. diss., Johns Hopkins University, 2013) 48–60.

47 B. Shabb. 86b, b. Nid. 34b; b. Avod. Zar. 31b.

48 Lev. Rab. 27.5; see also b. B. Qam. 93a. All translations from the Hebrew are by the author. I thank Reuven Kiperwasser for this reference.

49 B. B. Mets. 61b; see Stern, Sacha, Jewish Identity in Early Rabbinic Writings (AGJU 23; Leiden: Brill, 1994) 5658Google Scholar. For the dating, see Halivni, David Weiss, The Formation of the Babylonian Talmud (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar. The sayings are anonymous, signaling that they may have been added quite late in the redaction process.

50 B. Shabb. 145b. See also b. Shabb. 90b, where the eating of a live grasshopper is prohibited based on Lev 11:43, “You shall not make yourselves detestable [] with any creature that swarms” (nrsv), even though there is no formal reason for this prohibition. This appears to be a prohibition of disgusting things, as in b. Mak. 16b.

51 For earlier Jewish conceptions of pre-Mosaic law, see Anderson, Gary A., “The Status of the Torah before Sinai: The Retelling of the Bible in the Damascus Covenant and the Book of Jubilees,” DSD 1 (1994) 129Google Scholar.

52 The well-known “seven commandments of the sons of Noah” do not include the dietary laws, beyond the prohibition of eating the limb of a live animal; see t. Avod. Zar. 8.5–8; b. Sanh. 56a–59a; and David Novak, The Image of the Non-Jew in Judaism: An Historical and Constructive Study of the Noahide Laws (Toronto Studies in Theology 14; New York: Mellen, 1983). For the restriction of dietary laws to Jews in rabbinic literature, see Rosenblum, Jordan, Food and Identity in Early Rabbinic Judaism (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2010) 6873CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

53 y. Meg. 1.10/72b, ms Leiden 330v. See the similar tradition on sacrifice, but without the emphasis that all animals are allowed for eating, in Gen. Rab. 26.1, 34.9. The tradition is found also in the 6th cent. poet Yannai, qerovah for Gen 8:15, in Mahzor Piyyute Rabbi Yannay Latorah Velamo’adim (The Liturgical Poems of Rabbi Yannai according to the triennial cycle of the Pentateuch and the holidays) (ed. Zvi Meir Rabinovitz; 2 vols.; Jerusalem: Mossad Bialik, 1985–1987) 1:94, and in the later midrashim Tanh., Vayaqhel 6; Exod. Rab., Vayaqhel 50.2; and Midr. Ps. 1.

54 b. Zevah. 116a, ms Vatican Ebr. 120–21, 079R. Cf. b. Sanh. 108b, where a somewhat different tradition is cited in the name of R. Yonatan and R. Hisda. The methodological question of whether we can trust the ascription to the earlier cited figures is a general one in talmudic studies; see, e.g., the articles in Historical Syntheses (ed. Jacob Neusner; vol. 2 of Judaism in Late Antiquity; HO 17; Leiden: Brill, 2001) 2:123–32. In this case, the existence of two different traditions in the name of the same figures would indicate that one of them is spurious and later, though it is difficult to say how late (to a terminus ad quem of the redaction, 6th–8th cents.) and which tradition is the original one.

55 R. Abahu's emphasis on the animals’ independence, which renders Noah's knowledge irrelevant, is similar to that of Christian exegetes (above, n. 29). Similarly, for Tg. Ps.-J. Gen 6:20, the animals were brought to the ark by an angel.

56 For this theme in the piyyutim, see Swartz, Michael D., The Signifying Creator: Nontextual Sources of Meaning in Ancient Judaism (New York: New York University Press, 2012) 2931CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

57 Yose, Yose ben, “Attah Konanta Olam Berov Hesed,” lines 17–20, in Piyyute Yose ben Yose (Liturgical poems of Yose ben Yose) (ed. Mirsky, Aaron; Jerusalem: Mossad Biyalik, 1991) 180–81Google Scholar.

58 Yose ben Yose, “Az Beda’at Heqer,” lines 17–20, in Piyyute Yose ben Yose (ed. Mirsky), 224–25. For other examples, see Yose ben Yose, “Azkir Gevurot Eloha,” lines 29–30, in Piyyute Yose ben Yose (ed. Mirsky), 132; Yannai (in Piyyute Rabbi Yannay [ed. Rabinovitz], 1:87, lines 40–42); Hacohen, Pinhas, “Seder Ha’avodah,” lines 59–68, in Piyyute Rabbi Pinhas Hacohen (The liturgical poems of Rabbi Pinhas Hacohen) (ed. Elizur, Shulamit; Resources for the Study of the Culture of Israel 8; Jerusalem: World Union of Jewish Studies, 2004) 412–13Google Scholar.

59 Pirqe R. El. 10–11 (in “Pirqe deRabbi Eli’ezer” [ed. Michael Higger], Horev 9 [1946–1947] 94–166, at 94).

60 Pirqe R. El. 23 (in “Pirqe deRabbi Eli’ezer” [ed. Higger], 149). See also Az Be’en Kol, lines 176–77 (ed. Yoseph Yahalom; Jerusalem: Magnes, 1996) 81, which differentiates between the minority of pure and the majority of impure animals, without mentioning Israel.

61 Erder, Yoram, “Early Karaite Conceptions about Commandments Given before the Revelation of the Torah,” PAAJR 60 (1994) 101–40Google Scholar. The most sustained discussion extant is that by 10th-cent. Karaite scholar Ya’qub al-Qirqisani, Kitab al-anwar wal-maraqib (The book of lights and watchtowers), of which the relevant passages are translated in Vajda, Georges, “Études sur Qirqisāni IV,” REJ 120 (1961) 211–57Google Scholar, at 234–57. On contemporary discussions of the matter influenced by kalam philosophy, apparently rabbinic, see Ben-Shammai, Haggai, “Some Genizah Fragments on the Duty of the Nations to Keep the Mosaic Law,” in Genizah Research after Ninety Years: The Case of Judaeo-Arabic; Papers Read at the Third Congress of the Society for Judaeo-Arabic Studies (ed. Blau, Joshua and Reif, Stefan C.; Cambridge Oriental Publications 47; Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1992) 2230Google Scholar.

62 Mann, Jacob, “Early Ḳaraite Bible Commentaries,” JQR 15 (1924–1925) 361–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 372, frg. C, lines 10–15.

63 Ibid., 371, frg. A, lines 21–25.

64 For nature and Islamic law, see Emon, Anver M., Islamic Natural Law Theories (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

65 I use the term “impure” nontechnically, to refer to the abomination of certain foodstuffs; Islam also has an immense body of law dealing with the purity required for prayer, in which some substances from some animals are considered defiling. For the relationship between these areas, see Maghen, Ze’ev, “First Blood: Purity, Edibility, and the Independence of Islamic Jurisprudence,” Der Islam 81 (2004) 4995CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

66 See Maghen, Ze’ev, After Hardship Cometh Ease: The Jews as Backdrop for Muslim Moderation (Studien zur Geschichte und Kultur des islamischen Orients 2/17; Berlin: De Gruyter, 2006) 146–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

67 3:93; translation mine. On this verse and its exegesis, see Wheeler, Brannon M., “Israel and the Torah of Muhammad,” in Bible and Qur’an: Essays in Scriptural Intertextuality (ed. Reeves, John; SBLSymS 24; Atlanta: SBL, 2003) 6185Google Scholar; Maghen, After Hardship Cometh Ease, 102–22.

68 According to traditions related in the hadith collections of the late 8th and 9th cents.: Malik, Muwatta, 25.4–5; Sahih al-Bukhari 7.67.426–44; Sahih Muslim 21.3–8; and Sunan Abu Dawud 27.3776–800. See Cook, Michael, “Early Islamic Dietary Law,” Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam 7 (1986) 217–77Google Scholar; Benkheira, Mohammed H., “Alimentation, altérité et socialité. Remarques sur les tabous alimentaires coraniques,” European Journal of Sociology 38 (1997) 237–87CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

69 Shafi’i, Al-Umm (7 vols.; Cairo: Bulaq, 1907) 2:219.

70 7:157; translation following Cook, “Early Islamic Dietary Law,” 219.

71 Shafi’i, Al-Umm, 2:208, 220.

72 Sunan Abu Dawud 27.3776–8.

73 Sahih al-Bukhari 7.67.426–27.

74 Al-Jahiz, Kitab al-Hayawan (The book of animals) (7 vols. in 2; Cairo: Al-Hamidiyah al-Misriyah, 1905–1907) 4:36–97. Excerpts of this book are translated by Souami, Lakhdar, Le cadi et la mouche. Anthologie du Livre des animaux (Paris: Sinbad, 1988)Google Scholar; for the pig, see 331–35.

75 Al-Jahiz, Kitab al-Hayawan, 4:37–40, 97. I thank Yonatan Furas for his help with understanding these passages. Although the Qur’an speaks only of past occurrences in which people were metamorphosed into monkeys and pigs, the concept was developed in early Islamic literature to include other animals in the present as well, and even to claim that many or most animals of a certain species were of metamorphic origin and therefore should not be eaten. See Cook, Michael, “Ibn Qutayba and the Monkeys,” Studia Islamica 89 (1999) 4374, at 51–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar; idem, “Early Islamic Dietary Law,” 222; and Uri Rubin, “Apes, Pigs, and the Islamic Identity,” IOS 17 (1997) 89–105.

76 Al-Jahiz, Kitab al-Hayawan, 4:41–42, 61, 94–96; 1:234. This is diametrically opposed to the logic of al-Shafi’i, above n. 69.

77 Al-Jahiz, Kitab al-Hayawan, 4:40–41, 49–52; 1:234.

78 Qur’an 11:40.

79 Al-Jahiz, Kitab al-Hayawan, 5:347–48; translation mine. Al-Jahiz remarks that the story is “widely known in the marketplace and among popular storytellers” (see 7:204, where the elephant is called “the pig's father”). In later sources, the story is recounted by one of Noah's sons, who was resurrected by Jesus in order to relate the occurrences on the ark; see al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Rusul wa-al-Muluk (The history of the prophets and the kings), 188 (in General Introduction and From the Creation to the Flood [trans. Franz Rosenthal; vol. 1 of Tārīkh al-Rusul wa-al-Mulūk; SUNY Series in Near Eastern Studies, Bibliotheca persica; Albany: State University of New York Press, 1989] 357). No earlier source of the story is known; however, a similar story is found in ms Mingana Syr. 4, 110a–b, in the name of Ephrem (probably an exegesis of Num 16:30): “A new creation which was not until now. Moses asked this [of God] for the cleanliness of the camp, and God created for them many pigs in the desert, which cleaned the camp. This is why the Jews do not eat pigs’ meat”; translation mine.

80 Liber de doctrina Mahumet, published by Theodore Bibliander, Machumetis Saracenorum principis eiusque successorum vitae ac doctrina (3 vols.; Basel: Oporin, 1543) 1:197.