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  • Writer's pictureChapman Chen

One Claim which Paul Never Dared to Make. By Dr. Chapman Chen




The key to resolve the dispute between the vegan camp of early Jewish Christians and the carnivorous Pauline Christian camp is whether Jesus was a vegan. In this connection, there's one claim which Paul never dared to make, that is that Jesus ate meat. If Jesus had eaten meat, Paul would have settled the dispute once and for all by saying, "Look, our Lord Jesus Christ Himself ate meat; why should we be vegetarian?!" The reason why Paul never said so was probably because Jesus was in actual fact a vegan, and many people, especially the 11 disciples, who knew Jesus well, were still around at that time; they would have debunked Paul had he made such a false claim (cf. Akers n.d.).


The earliest Christian leaders, except for Paul the self-proclaimed apostle, were all vegans, e.g., Peter (Recognitions 7.6, Homilies 12.6), James (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 2.23), Matthew (Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor 2.2), and all the apostles (Eusebius, Proof of the Gospel 3.5). When Epiphanius questions a Jewish Christian as to why he was a vegan, the Jewish Christian responds simply: "Christ revealed it to me" (Panarion 30. 18.9).


On the other hand, Paul said, "One man's faith allows him to eat anything, while a man of weaker faith eats nothing but vegetables" (Romans 14:2 NIV); and "Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience" (1 Corinthians 10:25 NIV).


The confrontation between these two camps came to a head at Antioch (right after the Jerusalem Council meeting of A.D. 49) when Paul yelled at Peter for refusing to share a table of devils with meat-eating Gentiles (Galatians 2:12). The Jewish Christians, as pointed out by Akers (2000), believed that demons enter anyone who eats meat (Homilies 7.4, 8.19). The "table of devils" is literally any table with meat on it.



References


Akers, Keith (n.d.). "Was Jesus Vegan? These Bible Verses Suggest So." PETA.org. https://lambs.peta.org/feature/was-jesus-vegan-heres-what-the-bible-says/#:~:text=It%20was%20part%20of%20the,had%20known%20the%20earthly%20Jesus.


Akers, Keith (2000/2020). The Lost Religion of Jesus. New York: Lantern Publishing & Media.

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