Error in "Were Adam and Eve vegetarians?"

This is an error found in the article Were Adam and Eve vegetarians?

“Later, of course, Paul and the early Christians (at the Council of Jerusalem, reported in the book of Acts) decided that belief in their Messiah obviated the need for any such dietary laws, and so “eating flesh with its life-blood in it” was no longer prohibited.”

This is actually not true, in the New Testament it is restated that blood should not be eaten.

Acts 15:
“19"It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. 21For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”"

They agreed not to trouble Gentiles on getting circumcised, but still to abstain from blood.

Nice catch.

I’ve often wondered how that provision in Acts came to be regarded as a dead letter. I’ve never been able to find a clear answer.

After the disaster of C.E. 70, dual Jewish-Christian status became essentially impossible. (Most Jewish authorities had rejected it from the outset.) It is likely that, after the schism had become final, the prohibition on blood seemed to be essentially just another dietary law, and, like all dietary laws, something to be left behind with Judaism. No point in trying not to freak out the Jewish Christians when there weren’t any.

That’s the story, but it seems to be entirely speculative. I can’t find anything indicating when the decision was made or by whom or with what authority. I can only find ex post facto justification for the rule already being abrogated, but without reference to any church counsil or episcopal ruling. I don’t doubt that what you say is what actually happened, but I’m surprised that no one seems to have bothered to make it official.

Hm. I wrote that Staff Report some time ago, and I don’t have access to all the sources. And I’m rushed at the moment, but I’ll try to check into this. My guess is that I got the wrong section of Acts, and that’s it’s not the Council at Jerusalem (Ch 15) but elsewhere. However…

My apologies.

Paul was not Jewish. I think it unlikely he would have supported the Old Testament dietary laws.
He started many of the early Christian churches (Corinth is one example). I can easily see these Church’s operating differently than the ones started by the Apostles.

My point is, I don’t think a single verse in Acts can be interpreted as a definitive answer. The early Christian Churches were too diverse. Paul created Churches primarily from non-Jewish populations. His letters indicate that he continued to guide these Churches even after his arrest.

I’m sure some of the early Churches did follow Jewish customs and rules. But, that doesn’t mean all Churches were bound by those rules.

That’s true, but Luke-Acts is pretty clearly a work of the Pauline community. It’s primary purpose is to show the story of Paul’s ministry as the continuation of the Gospel narrative. I doubt that the prohibition on eating blood was ever widespread, but the traditions that all churches are bound by scripture and by church council are pretty ancient and widespread (though later than Luke-Acts, certainly). Since the prohibition was promulgated by (what amounts to) a church council and is reported in scripture as authoritative, I’m surprised that in almost 2000 years of church history, no church AFAIC except the Jehova’s Witnesses has ever made an official pronouncement on the issue.

I’m not sure where you got the idea Paul wasn’t Jewish because he certainly thought he was.

It almost certainly was made official at some point, but the late 1st and the early 2nd century are fairly sparse on Christian records.

I actually wondered if the OP was a Jehovah’s Witness, since they seem to be the only people left that even know that passage is there. Well, them and the preachers who like to tell you what it really means. One sermon I heard linked it to the preacher’s concept that there’s a running theme of blood being life-giving throughout the entire Bible. Another said it had to do with not associating with the “pagan” cults at the time that were actually drinking blood in some ritual.