Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Clean vs. Unclean

Hello Hello,

I didn't have time to ask this question earlier because we ran out of time.

As a Seventh-Day Adventist, Leviticus 11 pretty much defines my diet. I personally approach this passage from the perspective of a modern, health-conscientious person, but nonetheless, I've had extensive bible studies on the theological implications of one's choice of diet.

My question is: did these dietary laws have any impact on daily food comsumption in the Middle Ages? Did they carry any weight in the medieval conscience? From just looking at the statistics for pork consumption, I would assume that these laws were arbitrary to a medieval peasant. However, in "Fish Consumption in Medieval England," we read that the Church began to place restrictions on meat consumption and fish naturally became a convenient substitute. These dietary restrictions were probably implemented to counter the secularization of monastic lifestyles but did they permeate to other areas of society? If so, to what degree?

1 comment:

  1. Very good question! No, the medieval Church did not tend to observe the Levitical restrictions (e.g. on pork). The Church did, however, keep a number of fasts--Lent, Advent, Rogation Day, the four Ember days, vigils before certain major feasts, as well as every Friday--on which it was customary not to eat meat, dairy products or eggs, with "meat" considered only as the flesh of poultry or quadrupeds. Thus the extensive consumption of "fish" that we saw in the accounts of the aristocratic households in England. Once these fasts were abandoned, people tended not to eat so much "fish."