"The Origins of the Pig Taboo in Judaism: Pig Consumption and Ethnicity from Leviticus to the Maccabees"


Monday, February 10, 2020, 4:00pm


Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Room 102, 38 Kirkland St, Cambridge, MA 02138


The Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations warmly invites you to attend an upcoming public lecture with Dr. Julia Rhyder, Swiss National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Researcher at the Theologische Fakultät, entitled “The Origins of the Pig Taboo in Judaism: Pig Consumption and Ethnicity from Leviticus to the Maccabees”

Abstract: Pig avoidance is a well-known feature of Judaism today, and yet, strikingly, it is rarely mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. In this lecture, Julia Rhyder unravels how the pig evolved from being little more than one among several unclean animals mentioned in the Bible to assuming the status of a key identity marker among ancient Jews. On the rare occasions that pig consumption is referenced in the Hebrew Bible, it reflects not only a concern to establish boundaries between Israel and neighbouring groups, but also to standardize dietary and cultic norms within the community of Israel.

Speaker biography: Julia's research embraces a broad approach to the study of biblical texts that focuses not only on their context of composition but also on their transmission and reception in ancient Judaism and in antiquity more generally. She earned her PhD in Hebrew Bible from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, in 2018. Her first book, Centralizing the Cult: The Holiness Legislation of Leviticus 17–26 (Mohr Siebeck, 2019) presents her doctoral research on the book of Leviticus and cultic centralization in the Persian period. Her current project explores new festivals and rituals in the books of 1 and 2 Maccabees and their role in legitimating the Hasmonean dynasty.