article 1 -----------------------------------------------------
The Early Christian Vegetarian Communities
by Jim Tibbetts
article 2 - Talk
Jesus Christ and the Three Levels of Vegetarian Kosher
by James Tibbetts, M.A., S.T.L.
This article and the longer version that it is based upon, a Talk are starting the 2010 present article collection for this Newsletter. The article is shorten without endnotes from the talk at the Biblical Nutrition and Meditation Society.
Following is an article published in:
Healing Our World
Hippocrates Health Institute, Vol 30, Issue 1, January 2010
Hippocrates Health Institute, West Palm Beach Florida
The Early Christian Vegetarian Communities
by Jim Tibbetts
This is the first of a three part series on the early Christian communities and the vegetarian orientation of some of these groups. The first part by Jim Tibbetts is on: Is there evidence that Jesus and some of the early Christian community had a vegetarian lifestyle? The second part is by Paul Nison on the Jewish tradition and diet; and the third part is by Brian Clement on the diet of a raw vegan in one of these early communities.
There were different Christian sects back in the times of the early Christians. The Encratites were early Christian ascetics whose ideal was self control. The name Encratites is derived from the Greek meaning self-control, which is alongside love, joy, peace, as a fruit of the Spirit. This sect was a strict vegan community.
Particularly important is an organized Jewish-Christian community that, according to Irenaeus, was founded in the latter part of the second century in Mesopotamia by Tatian. Now Tatian was a pupil of Justin Martyr (born 100 AD). Justin Martyr was involved in Christianity during the beginning of the early Church and would have known the Apostle John or his followers. The Encratite community that Tatian founded was vegetarian.
With the fall of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. came the destruction of the Temple and the disappearance of priestly slaughterers. The Qumran group associated with the Dead Sea Scrolls appears to have already disappeared, but there were others - Nazirites, Rechabites, Essenes, Therapeutae, and Zakokites. A central feature of some of these Jewish ascetic groups was abstinence from the eating of meat. Celibacy, fasting, and other forms of privation also marked the ascetic regimen, but vegetarianism was a prominent symbol of the ascetic life.
Some people back then and today recognize that in order to fulfill the laws of the Torah the vegetarian lifestyle was the ideal. Certain Jewish-Christian groups abstained from particular foods: Encratites, Ebionites, Marcionites, Manichaeans, Priscillianists, some of whom seem to have considered Jesus a vegetarian. Some claimed that St. Peter “ate only bread, olives and herbs”.
There is solid evidence that James was a vegetarian. According to the early Christian historian Hegesippus (2nd cent.), “James, the brother (technically a cousin) of the Lord, succeeded to the government of the Church in conjunction with the apostles. He was holy from his mother’s womb; and he drank no wine nor strong drink, nor did he eat flesh”.
All of these groups lived in the same general area of Galilee, Nazareth, and the Dead Sea. They all had similar beliefs and practices, they were neighbors and friends. Jesus lived with, ate with, and taught these early communities. In addition, almost all of his disciples and followers came from these groups, some of which had a plant-based diet
Now in the time of Jesus there were three major Jewish groups; the Sadducees, the Pharisees and the Essenes. The Essenes were forced to leave Jerusalem about 50 years before the time of Jesus because they did not believe in or practice animal sacrifice; instead they offered fruits and vegetables as offerings.
The Essenes are written about in classical sources and one group is identified as being the Qumran community. The writers who mentioned the Essenes are: Philo, Pliny, Dio Chrysostom, Josephus, Hippolytus and Epiphanius. The Jewish historian Josephus claims to have spent time with the Essenes at age 16 (ca. 53-54 AD). Both historians Philo and Josephus agree that the total number of Essenes was over four thousand and that they lived in many cities in Palestine and in some villages and near the Dead Sea, another early writer said there were around 10,000 of them. The Essenes were strict orthodox kosher Jews and some were vegan because the kosher laws are primarily about meat and milk and if you avoid these then there’s little left of kosher to be concerned about. The Essenes refused to sacrifice animals in the temple, and once a year would make an offering of fruits, vegetables and breads.
The Essenes were devoted to the law with a great reverence to Moses and a strict observance of the Sabbath. Josephus notes that “many reached advanced ages many over a hundred”. This is an important text, since if many lived to over a hundred back in those times it had to be partly because of their diets. The Hunza community has a similar lifestyle to the early Christian communities and many of the Hunza’s live into their 90’s and some to over a hundred years old. The Hunza’s are about 97% vegetarian yet they do eat some raw goat cheese and goats milk.
The Nazoreans (or Nazareans) were Christian Jews in the first-century Jewish Palestine. The name that Jesus was commonly known by was “Jesus the Nazorean”. Now the Nazarenes were really part of the Essenes. The name ‘Essenes’ was a larger group, an umbrella for many smaller groups and the Nazoreans were one of them.
Jesus developed his ministry in the regions of the Nazarene’s because there he would feel at home and safe from the hassles with the Pharisees. By preaching in Galilee where the Nazarene’s lived, Jesus was accepted and there were great crowds that followed him. This explains why his popularity grew rapidly with great multitudes, especially in the area of Galilee. He chose his apostles from among the disciples in Galilee many of whom could have been either Nazarenes or Essenes. They were primarily followers of a kosher diet as the first two issues the early Church had to deal with were the kosher diet and circumcision. Some of these early Christian communities, like the Encratites were vegan, and believed that Jesus was one too!
The Essenes seemed to have disappeared a century or so after Jesus death and at the same time the followers of ‘the Way’ Christianity grew enormously during this same time period. Jesus spent only a week or two in Jerusalem and nearly all of his time in the greater Galilee area where the Essenes were located. Perhaps many of these converts to Christianity came from the Essenes, Therapeutae and the Nazarenes, who were all looking for the coming of the Messiah. Perhaps this is why the Essenes disappeared a century after Jesus death because most of them became the first Christians. And many of these would have been vegetarian.
Therefore we can conclude just looking at a brief overview of the historical context that there were early Christian communities that were vegetarian and that Jesus and the apostles were part of these communities and that these communities believed Jesus was a vegetarian!
This is taken from James C. Tibbetts book Biblical Nutrition. Jim Tibbetts has an MBA, also an MA & STL in theology. He has several books on living foods, fasting and spirituality. JimTibbetts.com
Talk for; The Biblical Nutrition and Meditation Society
Jesus Christ and the Three Levels of Vegetarian Kosher
by James Tibbetts, M.A., S.T.L.
I am going to show in this talk that Jesus and Mary were kosher vegetarians and possibly 80/20 raw vegans. From the literature we know that there were Early Christian Vegetarian Communities.
There were different sects back in the times of the early Christians. The Encratites were early Christian ascetics whose ideal was self control. The name Encratites is derived from the Greek meaning self-control, which is alongside love, joy, peace, as a fruit of the Spirit. This sect was a strict vegan community.
In the second and third centuries, the church fathers Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria and Hippolytus (these three were born 130, 150, and 170 respectively) and they applied that name Encratites to a diverse array of early Christian groups adopting ascetic practices such as celibacy, abstinence from wine, and vegetarianism. Particularly important is an organized Jewish-Christian community that, according to Irenaeus,  was founded in the latter part of the second century in Mesopotamia by Tatian. Now Tatian was a pupil of Justin Martyr (born 100 AD). Justin Martyr was involved in Christianity during the beginning of the early Church and would have known the Apostle John or his followers. The Encratite community that Tatian founded was vegetarian which means that Justin was probably a vegetarian himself or at least approved of it. This is significant to have this witness on vegetarianism so close to the original Christian community in Jerusalem. The connection here is important. Tatian was a disciple of Justin Martyr. Justin was probably a disciple of the Apostle John, and John took care of Mary, which implies that perhaps Justin, John and Mary were vegetarian or at least approved of it!
With the fall of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. came the destruction of the Temple and the disappearance of priestly slaughterers. The Qumran group associated with the Dead Sea Scrolls appears to have already disappeared, but there were others - Nazirites, Rechabites, Essenes, Therapeutae, and Zakokites. With the destruction of the Temple, the ascetic cults must have expressed as never before a predominant mood of the people. A central feature of some of these ascetic groups was abstinence from the eating of meat. Celibacy, fasting, and other forms of privation also marked the ascetic regimen, but vegetarianism was a prominent symbol of the ascetic life, and was now fittingly associated with mourning for the destruction of the Temple.”  “Following the destruction of the Temple, the number of recluses who would not eat meat or drink wine increased in Israel.” 
Many orthodox Jews back then and today recognize that in order to fulfill the laws of the Torah the vegetarian lifestyle was the ideal. Certain groups abstained from particular foods: Encratites, Ebionites, Marcionites, Manichaeans, Priscillianists, who seem to have considered Jesus a vegetarian.  Some claimed that St Peter “ate only bread, olives and herbs”  .
All of these groups lived in the same general area of Galilee, Nazareth, and the Dead Sea. They all had similar beliefs and practices, they were neighbors and friends. Jesus lived with, ate with, preached too and taught these early communities.
The Virgin Mary and Jesus lived among these people for probably 20-25 years, assuming they were in Egypt for between 5 to 10 years, where they may have been associated with the Therapeutae’s in Egypt. The Therapeutae were a strict orthodox Jewish community in Egypt who were known for their knowledge of healing, such as with herbs.
Then when Jesus started his ministry, the majority of the time he spent in this greater area of Galilee, except for the short times he spent preaching in Jerusalem. Thus Jesus was preaching to and eating with many of the people in these orthodox Jewish sects: the Nazarene’s, the Essenes, the Ebionites, the Therapeutae’s and others. In addition, almost all of his disciples and followers came from these groups, some of which had a vegetarian diet
After the destruction of the temple the Christian communities were scattered and some of these became monastic communities. Throughout history vegetarianism was found mostly in monasteries and convents. Saints like the miracle-working St. Francis of Paola (Spain, 1416-1507), who was a strict vegetarian, influenced seven Popes, founded an order of hermits and eventually established nearly 500 monasteries and lived to be 91, are examples of Christians that lived and promoted a vegetarian lifestyle.  To expand on the history of Christians eating a plant-based diet from Biblical Times to the present is another talk another time, but that history does strongly exist in the monastic communities.
In the first part of my talk I wanted to show that we have a clear historical tradition that is documented about Christians being vegetarians and vegans which goes all the way back to the early Church. And some of these early Christian vegetarian communities believed that Jesus himself was a vegetarian.
There are some books being sold, called the Essence Gospel of Peace. These books teaches that Jesus was a vegetarian. After reviewing these books I concluded that they were not from the early centuries, the first, second or third centuries and no Father’s of the Church or anyone else has ever mentioned these works. These books probably come from the 17th or 18th or 19th century but they may hold some seeds of intuitive truth. I was giving a talk at the International Raw and Living Foods Festival in 2003 in Portland, Oregon on this topic.
One day in class I asked Fr. Rene Laurentin a world renown French theologian if he believed if there was any truth to the Proevangelicum of James, an ancient early church document on the life of Jesus. He said he spend about six months studying it until he came to the conclusion that it was not authentic but that there were seeds of truth in the text. These seeds of truth could be intuitive knowledge about the circumstances in the lives of Jesus and Mary. Perhaps the same could be said about the Essence Gospel of Peace and other related works that there are “seeds of truth” in these works that gives it some value. But basically these books are New Age books, they don’t have a lot of value for historians. Until they are researched and found to be real ancient books they are just good inspiring works.
One of these seeds of truth is that these and other books dealing with vegetarians refer to Jesus as an Essene. Now in the time of Jesus there were three major Jewish groups; the Sadducees, the Pharisees and the Essenes. The Essenes were forced to leave Jerusalem about 50 years before the time of Jesus because they did not believe in or practice animal sacrifice, instead they offered fruits and vegetables as offerings.
This twelve tribe family understood themselves as equals (brothers) in some form of federation. The later communities of Jews known as the Essenes, Therapeutae and the Nazarites and others originated from these tribes after the exile in 537 B.C.
There is no indication in the literature that these groups (Essenes, Nazarenes, Therapeutae) were at odds with one another but there is indication that these groups were at odds with the Pharisees and Sadducees in Jerusalem. These groups were really one large group of closely associated sects such that they were one sect, different branches on the same tree. And the trunk of that tree could be called the Essenes.
Josephus and Philo were scholars and historians whose writings were around New Testament times. They documented that time period.
The name of the Essenes has been related to the Greek word, “holiness” but the Aramaic equivalent is “pious ones” which is more probable. An Aramaic connection could imply “healers” which fits with Josephus’s statement that the Essenes sought out medicinal roots and stones for healing diseases or Philo’s statement that the Essenes are especially devout in the therapeutai (healers or in service) of God.
The Essenes are not mentioned in the New Testament or in Talmudic literature but are mentioned in classical sources and are identified as being the Qumran community. The writers who mentioned the Essenes are: Philo, Pliny, Dio Chrysostom, Josephus, Hippolytus and Epiphanius. Josephus claims to have spent time with the Essenes at age 16 (ca. 53-54 AD). Both Philo and Josephus agree that the total number of Essenes was over four thousand and that they lived in many cities in Palestine and in some villages and near the Dead Sea,  another writer said there were around 10,000 of them.
Josephus states that the Essenes worked entirely in agriculture while Philo adds that they were also shepherds, beekeepers, and craftsmen in different trades.  Commerce was not allowed since it led to greed. The daily routine was prayer before sunrise, then they worked till midday, a common meal, work until evening and another common meal.  The Essenes were devoted to the law with a great reverence to Moses and a strict observance of the Sabbath. Josephus notes that “many reached advanced ages many over a hundred”.
This is an important text in the Dead Sea Scrolls, since if many lived to over a hundred back in those times it had to be partly because of their diets. The Hunza community has a similar lifestyle of some Biblical Jews and Christians and many of the Hunza’s live into their 90’s and many other to over a hundred years old. The Hunza’s are basically vegetarian.
There was a great concern for ritual purity with daily purification baths. They dressed in white clothing for eating. The common meal was eaten in silence after the priest prayed. Whether or not they offered sacrifice is unclear but the Jewish historian Philo states that they did not sacrifice: “have shown themselves especially devout in the service of God, not by offering sacrifices of animals, but by resolving to sanctify their minds.” The historian Josephus also states that the Essenes did not offer sacrifices. 
The Essenes were excluded from the common court of the Temple because of a difference in their purification rites, they didn’t believe in animal sacrafices and thus offered sacrifices by themselves.  Thus their sacrifices would have been produce and grains, which was allowed. And during the war with the Romans they were tortured horribly but they did not “blaspheme the lawgiver or eat something forbidden” (an indication that they were kosher).  Philo says they ate “bread and vegetables”.
Josephus says that the Essenes, “they were stricter than all Jews in not undertaking work on the seventh day” and they held Moses in greatest reverence.  They were very interested in the study of the “holy books” and other ancient writings in order to “search out medicinal roots and the properties of stones” to heal diseases. 
Kosher food was of great importance for the Essenes and most of the early sects of Judaism, it was so important that they would die for it. “Philo reports that Jewish women were offered ‘swine’s flesh’ and tortured if they refused to eat it during anti-Jewish riots in Alexandria ca. 38 C.E.”  “According to Josephus, the Romans tortured the Essenes during the first Jewish revolt (66-74 C.E.) for refusing to renounce the dietary rules: ‘They were racked and twisted, burnt and broken, and made to pass through every instrument of torture in order to induce them to blaspheme their lawgiver and to eat some forbidden thing; yet they refused to yield to either demand, nor even once did they cringe to their persecutors or shed a tear. Smiling in their agonies, mildly deriding their tormentors, they cheerfully resigned their souls, confident that they would receive them back again.” 
Josephus refers to a certain company of priests who “being truly pious towards God supported themselves on figs and nuts”, possible a reference to a vegetarian diet that was an Essene custom. 
“Fasting was a regular Jewish custom, observed by the reforming sects also (cf. Mark 2:18). The duty of observing the ‘day of fast’ is mentioned in CD 6:19, along with ‘distinguishing between clean and unclean, making known between the holy and the profane, observing the Sabbath according to its interpretation and the feasts....” 
O.K. so there is solid evidence that the Essenes were vegetarian but was Jesus among them and was he a vegetarian.
There is a school of thought that the Essenes and the early Christians were closely connected. One scholar of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Upton Ewing, gives a rather convincing set of reasons on this topic. “Accordingly, so-called ‘Palestinian Christianity’ can be better understood historically as a continuation of, rather than an outgrowth of so-called ‘Essenism.’ The seven points which further illustrate this to be true are as set forth in the following premises:”
(1) That these devoutly religious people were the only ones in their part of the world whose common custom was evidenced by the wearing of a single white garment.
(2) That they were the only sect in their part of the world who practiced an economy whereby everything was held in common.
(3) That they were the only people in their part of the world whose religious leaders, or priesthood, practiced celibacy.
(4) That they were the only sect in their part of the world who opposed the custom of slavery.
(5) That they were the only religious sect, not alone in their own country but in the entire Roman world, who opposed the custom of animal sacrifice.
(6) That they were the only people in Palestine or of the greater Roman world who opposed the slaughter of animals for food.
(7) That they were the only people of Palestine and the outside Roman world whose way of life was opposed to war and the soldier’ calling.” 
“Shortly after the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, a number of scholars proposed that John the Baptist was related in some way to the Qumran community (e.g., Brownlee, 1958; Robinson, 1962; and most recently Sefa-Dapaah, 1995).”  The Essenes were at the Qumran community about 5 to 6 miles from where John preached in the Jordon. John would not have eaten locust a non-kosher food but the locust bean grows on a tree like carob or in Greek, it could also mean a small cake. If John the Baptist lived 5 to 6 miles from the Qumran community he was probably brought up by them and probably had breakfast and prayers with them many times.
The Nazoreans (or Nazareans) were Christian Jews in the first-century Jewish Palestine. (Acts 24:5) The name that Jesus was commonly known was “Jesus the Nazorean” (Mt 2:23; 26:71: Lk 18:37; Jn 18:5, 7; 19:19; Ac 2:22; 3:6; 4:10; 6:14; 22:8; 26:9; cf. 9:5) and also “Jesus the Nazarene” (Mk 1:24; 10:47; 14:67; 16;6; Lk 4:34; 24:19). The term Nazarene describes a person who came from the town of Nazareth, which Jesus did. (Mt 21:11; Jn 1:45-46; Ac 10:38; cf. Mk 1:9; Lk 4:16). The Gospel of Matthew was the only one that Jesus was called a Nazarene. There’s 21 scripture versus with these names, 16 of them connect Jesus with the Nazoreans.
The two alternative spellings in Greek of Nazoreans refer to the same person or group. The two forms of this name Nazoreans, finds a parallel in the name of the Essenes, which also has two forms in the Greek:
Nazarenes (Nazarenio) or Nazoreans (Nazoraioi)
Essenes (Essenoi) or Esseans (Essaioi).
Now the Nazarenes were really part of the Essenes. The name ‘Essenes’ was a larger group, an umbrella for many smaller groups and the Nazoreans were one of them. Thus Jesus as a Nazarean was really an Essene.
According to Judges 13:4-7, Samson was to be a Nazirite which means someone set apart or consecrated or holy. The Nazirite vow involved abstinence from wine and strong drink and could be permanent as with Samson and Samuel. James and the elders of the Church encouraged Paul and others to take the Nazirite vow which they did in Acts 21:18-26. “According to Hegesippus (second century AD), James himself did not drink wine or shave his head (Eusebius, Historia ecclesiastica II.23.4-5).” 
“Epiphanius also attributes avoidance of meat and of animal sacrifice to another Jewish group he calls ‘Nasareans’. ‘So they keep all the Jewish observances, but did not sacrifice or partake of animal flesh; rather it was forbidden for them to eat meat or to offer sacrifice with it.’”  The Nazirites or Nasareans were really a sect of the Essenes.
A common practice of these different kinds of Nazarene sects in the area of Palestine and Syria especially in the valley of Jodan, was baptism which was an expression of purity and sanctity.  “Among these groups the strongest were the Essenes and the
Nazarenes.”  These baptists type sects were disseminated all through Galilee and the east of Jordan. Obviously John the Baptist came out of this group.
Jesus developed his ministry in the regions of the Nazarene’s because there he would feel at home and safe from the hassles with the Pharisees. By preaching in Galilee where the Nazarene’s lived, Jesus was accepted and there were great crowds that followed him. This explains why his popularity grew rapidly with great multitudes, especially in the area of Galilee. He chose his apostles from among the disciples in Galilee many of whom could have been either Nazarenes or Essenes.
The Essenes seemed to have disappeared a century or so after Jesus death and at the same time the followers of ‘the Way’ Christianity grew enormously during this same time period. Jesus spent only a week or two in Jerusalem and nearly all of his time in the greater Galilee area where the Essenes were located, around 4,000 of them yet another estimate has been around 10,000, it depends on how much the sects are included in the count. Perhaps many of these converts to Christianity came from the Essenes, Therapeutae and the Nazarenes, who were all looking for the coming of the Messiah. Perhaps this is why the Essenes disappeared a century after Jesus death because most of them became the first Christians.
So we can see from all this historical and biblical history that Jesus the Nazorene, was part of the larger Essene community, which had a strong emphasis on plant-based diets. All these Jewish vegetarians existed before Jesus was born, during his life and after his death these Essenes with their vegetarian orientation became the first Christians.
Leaving the safety of historical and biblical criticism let me look at mysticism for a minute. Some mystics have the ability to see into the past and describe the past history. One German religious sister Ann Catherine Emmerick was a mystic and visionary in the 1700’s. She was recently beatified, which means that her teachings and writings have been accepted by the Catholic Church, at least enough to make them official and promote them. Ann Catherine Emmerick, writes in her books of visions of the life of Jesus and Mary, that the Virgin Mary was an Essene and that her parents Joaquim and Anna was strict Essenes. In fact several of the mystics believe that the Virgin Mary was a vegetarian.
Some of you may have seen the movie by Mel Gibson, The Passion of the Christ. I met Mel Gibson and spoke with him at a private Latin Mass conference he held at his house. I told him that it looked like he took 50% of that movie from the writings of Anne Catherine Emmerick’s vision of the Passion, he replied that it was more like 80% of the movie came from the writings of Anne Catherine Emmerick.
In the bible we read about James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ (1.1), as the author of the Epistle of James, he is not one of the twelve but the cousin of Jesus (Gal 1:19), and the administrator of the Jerusalem community (Ac 12:17); and played a leading role in the apostolic Council (Acts 15:13-21) forming the early Christian community. After Paul’s third missionary journey they spoke in Jerusalem before Paul’s arrest (Ac 21:17-25).
“According to the early Christian historian Hegesippus (2nd cent.), who is excerpted in Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History, ‘James, the brother of the Lord, succeeded to the government of the Church in conjunction with the apostles. He has been called the Just by all from the time of our Savior to the present day; for there were many called James. He was holy from his mother’s womb; and he drank no wine nor strong drink, nor did he eat flesh.’” 
If this is true that James was a vegetarian in his kosher practice then this would explain his clash with the apostle Paul. Furthermore the Epistle of James has many verses which are very similar to the writings found in Qumran, such as in the Manuel of Disciple.
When Peter had to step down and leave Jerusalem because of persecution, James was put in charge which implies that he may have had some qualifications. With James in charge of the first Christian community in Jerusalem he had to have been kosher and his form or kosher would have been a vegetarian kosher. And probably many in the community followed him including Mary the mother of Jesus.
Now, let’s go the next step and look at Jesus and Mary and their dietary practice. In the book of Isaiah the prophet we read: “The Virgin shall be with child and give birth to a son whom she will call Immanuel, God-with-us, on curds and honey will he feed until he knows how to refuse evil and choose good.” (Is 8:14-15) Curds and whey are a vegetarian protein similar to yogurt or kefier. Thus this could be interpreted that the Immanuel shall be brought up as a vegetarian. But the Messiah had to follow all the laws of the Torah including the laws of kosher.
Professor Roberta Kalechofsky Ph.D.,  author of Vegetarian Judiasm, points out that: “The first law of kashruth is, in fact, the commandment to be vegetarian: “I give you every seed-bearing plant that is upon all the earth and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit; these shall be yours for food.” Genesis 1:29
The Jewish laws of Kosher go back to the Book of Leviticus. Here we find that animal sacrifices were limited to the offerings of animals deemed fit for consumption. Fit - kashar (from which word the terms kashrut and kosher are derived) - for the diet of a holy people are only those animals that are thorough herbivores, grazing animals, animals that “chew the cud.” In other words vegetarian animals. Kosher for a meat eating Jew involves a lot of rules and laws that involve meat preparation and eating. God allowed people to eat meat as a concession; it seems that it was his permissive will not his perfect Holy Will.
Now in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, God sets up the sacrificial system and tells man only to eat certain types of meat and to avoid eating other types of meat. Why? Why would the Lord make the effort to tell his people to only eat certain types of meat?
The first thing that is noticed upon going through the lists of clean and unclean animals is that the clean animals are all vegetarian types of animals (calf, deer, goat, ox, sheep, goose, chicken, duck, etc.) and the unclean animals are mostly meat eating or scavenger types of animals (bear, dog, fox, rat, swine, bat, eagle, hawk, etc.)
A fascinating study by a researcher looking at Leviticus XI and Deuteronomy XIV, gives some scientific support for God’s wisdom. In a 1953 study Dr. David Macht of Johns Hopkins University reported the toxic effects of animal flesh on a controlled growth culture. This researcher looked at Leviticus XI and Deuteronomy XIV, testing the animals for toxicity. He found that all the animals that were kosher had low toxicity and were O.K. to eat and all the animals with high toxicity were non-kosher and not healthy to eat.
Keep in mind that eating meat was a concession by God because of their rebellious heart and Yahweh’s great compassion, God allowed it, but the people would suffer for it, with disease, illness and an early death.
Richard Schwartz, Ph.D. is one of the leading writers of a vegetarian Judaism, he has a book, Judaism and Vegetarianis) and he points out I quote: “The laws of kashrut can lead to a reverence for life. Yet since the blood is the life of the body, Jews are forbidden to eat blood. “For the life of the flesh is in the blood.” Lev 17:11 By this verse alone some Jews may have been a vegetarian even during Passover. “While most Jewish scholars assume that all Jews ate meat during the time that the Temple stood, it is significant that some (Tosafot, Yoma 3a, and Rabbeinu, Sukkah 42b) assert that even during the Temple period it was not an absolute requirement to eat meat.” 
Richard Schwartz, Ph.D. further notes: After he asks the question; “Which Torah laws involve compassion for animals?” he gives a list of eleven scripture quotes.  Out of these eleven Roberta Kalechofsky Ph.D., author of Vegetarian Judaism, points out the four basic Jewish laws or tenets concerning vegetarianism. “Only vegetarianism can fulfill Judaism’s four important tenets:
1. that we guard our health (pikuach nefesh),
2. tsedakah (charity),
3. bal tashchit (not to destroy wantonly), and
4. tsa’ar ba’alei chayim (not to cause sorrow to other creatures).
The Messiah must follow the laws and not turn to the right or to the left of these commandments. (Deut. 17:20) This would include the laws that concern blood, the Messiah must not partake of the blood of any animal. Why, because all animals have blood caught up in their meat and organs, to eat animal meat would be to partake of a small amount, perhaps only a few drops of blood or fraction of a drop. Thus the Messiah could not have eaten any animal meats or products, or he was not the Messiah!
I once asked a Rabbi if it was possible to eat meat without taking in any blood and he replied that it was impossible to eat meat without taking in a tiny microscopic bit of blood since all meat has blood in it. But then he went onto explain why the Jews eat meat anyway.
Animal sacrifice may represent the most provocative content of the Book of Leviticus, but the central problem of the book is how to transform the Israelites into a holy people. Five times the command is repeated: ‘Ye shall be holy, for I am holy.’ The word kodesh, meaning ‘holiness’ or ‘holy,’ appears in Leviticus about 150 times.
Dr. Kalechofsky notes: Holiness is defined in part by various kinds of renunciation such as - renunciation of certain sexual practices (incest, bestiality, homosexuality) and renouncing of the ungoverned indulgence in animal flesh. A compromise is made between the vegetarian ideal - symbolized in man’s mythical origin and destiny - and the reality of man’s appetite for animal flesh, by designating as clean only grazing animals (vegetarian animals!)”  in the Torah.
The root of holiness is partly ‘to be bright’ or ‘to shine’, yet the more elemental meaning seems to lie with the idea of ‘separation’. It implies: ‘to dedicate,’ ‘to consecrate,’ ‘to separate’ (Lev 15:31; 22:2; Ezek 14:7; Hos 9:10; Zech 7:3). The Nazirite is one who is dedicated to God: “All the days of his separation he is holy to Yahweh” (Num 6:8; cf. Judg 13:5,7). One of the activities of the Nazirite was too fast and do penance, to be kosher.
The famous Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook (1865-1935) the first Chief Rabbi of pre-state Israel, was a great scholar and advocate of vegetarianism. He was one of the major influences of modern Jewish vegetarianism. According to Rabbi Kook, the people in the time of Noah had sunk to an extremely low level of spirituality and thus they were given the elevated image of themselves as compared to animals.
They were given permission to eat meat so that they did not eat human flesh and the slaughter of animals was a “transitional tax” or temporary dispensation until a “brighter era” comes along when people return to the ideal of vegetarian diets. He believed that the Jewish laws and restrictions (laws of kashrut) were to keep alive a sense of reverence of life with the aim of leading people back to a vegetarian diet, since he saw people’s craving for meat as a manifestation of negative passions.
Rabbi Kook and others also believed that in the days of the Messiah, people will again return to a vegetarian diet, since the high moral level involved in vegetarianism before the time of Noah is a virtue that cannot be lost forever. Rabbi Kook stated that in the messianic Epoch, “In the future, the spirit of enlightenment will spread and reach even the animals. Gift offerings of vegetation will be brought to the Holy Temple, and they will be acceptable as were the animals sacrifices of old.” 
He based this on the prophecy of Isaiah: “And the wolf will lie down with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; The calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them. The cow and the bear shall be neighbors, together their young shall rest; the lion shall eat hay like the ox.” Is 11:6, 7.
Part of Jesus mission on this earth was that he was Messiah. The Messiah which means Christ in Greek, would have had to have followed every dot and iota of the law, he had to fulfill the law to its fullest. This is what Jesus did in his life and on the cross was to fulfill his work, his mission as the Messiah. Part of what Jesus had to do in order to fulfill his mission as the Messiah was to be a vegetarian in order to fulfill the laws of the Torah and prophecies of the Prophets and scripture as a whole! Praise God!
The evidence is strong that Jesus and Mary and some of the disciples and early Christians were kosher vegetarian, as shown kosher vegetarianism was a basic belief in the early church.
From this book on, Biblical Nutrition and the Alleluia Diets of Jesus and Mary, it can be stated that based on the Old Testament texts; the New Testament texts; the Jewish literature during Biblical Time (including the Dead Sea Scrolls); the early Christian Communities that were vegetarian as found in the early Church; the visions of the mystics on the life of Jesus and Mary; it can be concluded that: Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary ate a plant-based diet!
And besides the compassion, the mercy and the wisdom of the Lord God would not have allowed him, to eat His Beloved Creatures. He was full of wisdom and knew eating animals was not needed for health nor was it required by God the Father, as noted eating meat was compensation not a necessity or requirement by Abba, God the Father.
As Rabbi Kook, one of the greatest exponents of vegetarianism, taught “that man ought never to forget that meat-eating is but a temporary concession. The merciful God of Israel would never decree that man’s survival should be eternally contingent upon butchering animals.”  Jesus would not have bowed to this concession as a Jew or as a Messiah.
As a vegetarian Jesus did not eat, he could not have eaten, any kind of land creature, animal meat or poultry. As shown in this talk Jesus was vegetarian in this way!
Now there are three types of vegetarians:
• ovo-lacto-vegetarians (those who might eat eggs, milk and sometimes fish (pesha-vegetarians);
• vegans (no animal products) and
• raw vegans (no animal foods and limited, to no, cooked foods).
These three orientations probably existed in biblical times.
Concerning the fish Jesus ate after the resurrection, he did that with his glorified body, not with his human body. Did he eat fish during his earthly life, in his human body? This we can’t be absolutely sure, there is no biblical references for this, but if he did eat fish we can be sure that it was totally kosher!
Concerning secondary animal products: milk, dairy, cheese, eggs, did Jesus or Mary eat these? We do not know this either, there is no biblical reference. If they did it would have been a very limited amount since they were not a wealthy family. Thus Jesus may have been a lacto-ovo-vegetarian. Keep in mind that all their milk, was goats milk (a major difference then cow’s milk) and it was raw milk, unpasteurized and very similar in composition to mothers milk. Thus goats milk was alkaline which is healthy to a degree, whereas pasteurized milk is acidic and unhealthy all the time.
All the eggs would have been free range chicken eggs. And the breads of that time period may have been made with milk and/or eggs or they may have been made without milk and eggs too. It was probably un-leaven, with no dairy or eggs. Any breads or soups would have been over an open fire. Fire wood was scarce and the region was always hot so they ate very few cooked foods.
One of the strongest arguments on Jesus and Mary not being lacto-ovo-vegetarians is that in scripture Jesus was the New Adam. The post-apostolic Fathers St. Justin (155) and St. Irenaeus, (circa 177) both write on the Eve-Mary parallel, which indicates that it is a traditional teaching of the church. Irenaeus also knew St. Polycarp who was a disciple of St. John. The Church Fathers comparing Mary with Eve, they call her “Mother of the living.” (St. Epiphanius) and frequently claim: “death through Eve, life through Mary.” (St. Jerome, St. Augustine, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, St. John Chryostom, St. John Damascene).
Obviously if Jesus and Mary were the new Adam and Eve they probably were not lacto-ovo-vegetarians!
Since most of the food they ate was raw fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, they were primarily raw vegans. Thus the New Adam and Eve were very much like the old Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (who were raw vegans). The raw vegan diet (when correctly done) is the healthiest form of diets.
From this study three conclusions can be drawn about the dietary lifestyle
of Jesus and Mary.
1. Jesus and Mary were kosher.
They upheld the Torah and the principle of kosher. But what kind of kosher were they? There are kosher meat-based diets (only kosher meats) and kosher plant-based diets (no animal flesh). This leads us to the second conclusion.
2. Jesus and Mary were vegetarian kosher.
They would have continued to uphold the Torah and specifically the prophecies about the Messiah and the messianic kingdom which leads one into a vegetarian orientation. But there are vegetarians who are lacto-ovo (milk, eggs, also perhaps pasha- fish) and also there are vegans. This would bring up a second question; what kind of plant-based diet did they eat? This leads to the third conclusion.
3. Jesus and Mary were 80/20 raw vegan kosher.
They would have been primarily if not totally vegan. And they would have been primarily raw, 80/20 (80% raw, 20% cooked). Jesus did eat bread in scripture.
Jesus and Mary could have been closer to 100% raw, which is the ideal, but this is hard to prove, it is possible though since maybe the bread they ate was sprouted bread!
Perhaps Jesus ate the Ezekiel 5:9 sprouted 100% whole grain bread and was 100% raw? It’s a possibility!
This 80/20 raw vegan kosher is what I call the Alleluia Diet of Jesus and Mary. It has been carried on throughout the centuries mostly by monastic groups, vegetarian communities and individuals. The present day movement in plant-based circles into raw vegan is a yearning to go back to the Garden of Eden to be more like the original Adam and Eve and even more like the new Adam in Jesus and the new Eve in Mary. Praise God!
So a lot more could have been said but this talk tries to focus in on Jesus and Mary as kosher vegetarians and possibly 80/20 raw vegans!
This talk comes from my book on Biblical Nutrition.
Thank you for your time. Amen!
 Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Editors Schiffman, VanderKam, p. 248, citing: Adversus omnes Haereses 1.28.
 Kalechofsky, Judaism and Animal Rights, p. 150-51, citing: Louis A. Berman, The Dietary Laws as Atonements for Flesh-eating.
 Ibid., Kalechofsky, Judaism and Animal Rights, p. 151, citing: Baba Batra 60b.
 Ibid., Encyclopedia of the Early Church, citing: Iren., Haer. I 2,1 ; Tertull., leiun. 15, 1; Epiph., Haer. 30,18ff. and 47,1; Aug., Haer. 25.46.70.
 Ibid., Encyclopedia of the Early Church, citing: Ps Clem. rec. VII 6,4; cf. Greg. Naz., Or. 14,4.
 Simi, Gino J.; Sergreti, Mario, M., Saint Francis of Paola God’s Miracle Worker Supreme, Tan Books and Pub., Rockford, IL, 1977.
 Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Editors Lawrence H. Schiffman, James C. VanderKam, Oxford University Press, New York, N.Y., 2000, p. 263, citing: The Jewish Wars 2.124; Hypothetica 11.1.
 Ibid., Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls,p. 264, citing: Jewish Antiquities 1.19; Hypothetica 11.8.
 Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea…,p. 264, citing: Every good Man is Free 12.78-79; The Jewish War 3.9-12.
 Ibid., Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls, p. 264, citing: Every Good Man is Free 12.75.
 Ibid., Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls, p. 264, citing: Jewish Antiquities 18.19.
 Ibid., Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls, p. 267, citing: The Jewish War 2.152-153.
 Ibid., Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls, p. 267, citing: The Jewish War 2.145.
 Ibid., Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls, p. 264, citing: The Jewish War 2.136.
 Feeley-Harnik, Gillian, The Lord’s Table, the Meaning of Food in Early Judaism and Christianity, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C., 1994, p. 105, citing: Flaccus, 95-6.
 Ibid., p. 106, citing: The Jewish War, 2:152-53.
 Ewing, Upton Clary, The Prophet of the Dead Sea Scrolls, (Tree of Life Publications, Joshua Tree, CA,
1993 (1963)), p. 85, citing: Josephus Life, 3.
 Thiering, Barbara, “The Biblical Source of Qumran Asceticism”, p. 431, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia, Journal of Biblica Literature Thiering, vol. 93, 1974, pp. 429-444.
 Ewing, The Prophet of the Dead Sea Scrolls, p. 122-123.
 Ewing, The Prophet of the Dead Sea Scrolls, p. 420.
 Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls, p. 606.
 McGowan, Andrew, Ascetic Eucharists, Food and Drink in Early Christian Ritual Meals, New York: Clarendon Press Oxford, 1999., p. 148, citing: Pan. 18 and 18. 1. 4.
 Ibid., McGowan, Ascetic Eucharists, citing: Scobie CH., John the Baptist, Fortress Press, Phil 1964, 33.
 Ibid., McGowan, Ascetic Eucharists, p. 40.
 McGowan, Andrew, Ascetic Eucharists, Food and Drink in Early Christian Ritual Meals, Clarendon Press Oxford, New York, 1999, p. 149.
 Kalchofsky, Roberta, Vegetarian Judaism, (Micah Publications, Inc., N.H. 1998), p. 168.
 Schwartz, Judaism and Vegetarianism, p. 121, citing: Rabbi J. David Bleich, “Vegetarianism and Judaism,” Tradition, Vol. 23, No. 1 (Summer, 1987).
 Schwartz, Richard, Ph.D., The Schwartz Collection, Frequently Asked Questions About Judaism and Animal Issues, question 2.
 Kalechofsky, Judaism and Animal Rights, p. 84, 85, 86, 87.
 Schwartz, Judaism and Vegetarianism, p. 108, Olat Rayah, 2:292, see also Hertz, Pentateuch and Haftorahs, 562. Also p. 45, The Schwartz Collection.
 Kalechofsky, Judaism and Animal Rights, p. 174,175, citing: Schochet, p. 295.