Maimonides, mentioned near the bottom of the previous page, a rabbi whose in-
fluence extended beyond Judaism, in his 1190 AD "Guide for the Perplexed,"
III.46, also writes that idolaters believe that blood is the food of the spir-
its--by eating it, they share something in common with the spirits. God's
blood eating ban in the Torah--the first five books of the Bible--is a concern
to keep followers from idolatry. That's why God uses the identical language,
"set my face against," in only two places in the Torah: in a ban of eating
blood, Lev.17:10, and idolatry, Lev.20:5.
Nahmanides, a rabbi and contemporary of Maimonides, on the other hand, be-
lieved that if people eat animal blood, it becomes attached to their human
blood and united in their hearts, and people's souls become coarse like animal
souls. He believed the ban on eating blood was to keep people from becoming
Ramban "Commentary" on the Torah for Lev.17:13
Among the Jews of the time of Acts 15, about 49 AD, in contrast with the Gen-
tiles, idolatry (Lev,17:1-9; Ex.20:3), eating meat from an animal that hadn't
had the blood removed (Lev.17:10-15) (which called for slaughtering and kosher-
ing according to their oral law), which included eating an animal that was
found dead and unbled (Lev.10:15), and fornication (Lev.18) were forbidden.
These rules were given as among the rules resident aliens who wished to live
among the Israelites had to be responsible about.
Likewise, eating meat from an animal slaughtered by a Gentile (such as meat
from an animal sacrificed to an idol) made a Jewish law follower unclean.
Hullin 1.1: what a Gentile slaughters is deemed carrion (a beast which died
of natural causes) and conveys uncleanness to the one who carries it (or eats
it). The Hullin is the 3rd tractate of the order Kodashim in the Mishnah. See
"A Book of Jewish Concepts," 1964, rev. ed. 1975, by Philip Birnhaum, pp.398,
541, and 629.
Since "things"--animals--"strangled" isn't referred to in those words by
scripture earlier than at Acts 15 and seems an unnecessarily specific way to
refer to how an animal could be found dead and unbled, as at Lev.17:15 and
Deut.14:21, it's usually guessed that strangling animals before eating them was
a custom among some of the Gentiles near Israel at the time, probably as part
of an idol ceremony (certainly not a Jewish custom).
Acts 13:38,39; 14:14,26-28; 15:1-31
Apostles Paul and Barnabas taught the Christian congregation in Antioch that
they knew God to bring undeserved kindness (grace; forgiveness of sins and
eternal salvation) by faith, therefore to bring it to Gentiles who didn't fol-
low Mosaic law. They were in dispute there with a number of others who taught
the congregation that Jewish and Gentile Christians had to follow all of Mosaic
law, including the need to be circumcised, to be saved. (In other words, not
the Noahide rules for Gentiles or Mosaic law for a resident alien, but belief
in a need for full conversion to Mosaic law as if Jesus' crucifixion made no
difference in the matter.)
It was arranged for Paul and Barnabas to meet with the apostles and elders in
Jerusalem regarding the matter. (Jerusalem, center of Jewish worship and reli-