ABSTRACT Human society and its religions and cultures have laid out numerous guidelines, often involving dietary restrictions (Deut 14:4-5; Lev. 11:2-7). One such set of restrictions still observed by many Jews today relates to the distinction between pure and impure, edible and forbidden mammals (Talmud Bavli, Avoda Zara 35b). The ancient Jewish dietary laws (kashrut) have often perplexed both gentiles and Jews, since they appear to be arbitrary. Here we demonstrate that the separation of pure and impure animals coincides with taxonomic, biochemical, allergenic, and common nutritional properties.
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