Leviticus may have been intended only for priests
EC: These Bacon Crisps Are Like Potato Chips Made from Literal Bacon
Credit: photo by Bottaci via getty images

Anyone who grew up in a Jewish household knows the whole "no eating bacon" thing is pretty well-defined in the Bible. Leviticus states that the only meat that's acceptable to eat is from "any animal that has a cloven hoof that is completely split into double hooves, and which brings up its cud." It's so specific that you can’t really deny it: Jews are not supposed to eat pork. Of course, not all Jews choose to eschew pork, but it's certainly not considered kosher if they don't. However, biblical scholars are now debating what it means to be kosher: Was that rule in Leviticus really intended for all Jews to follow, or just priests?

An article in the Israeli publication Haaretz points out that experts are now debating whether the book of Leviticus was intended to apply to the general population or priests alone. Dr. Robert Gnuse, a professor in Loyola University's Religious Studies Department, told Haaretz that "the rules on food and clothing found in the Book of Leviticus were meant exclusively for priests, just like the laws in the Hindu Code of Manu Smriti for Brahmin priests" until the period of the Babylonian captivity. Gnuse theorizes that after this point, some sneaky fellow encouraged the Jewish people to follow these laws—including the whole no pork thing—"in order to keep them together as a community."

Gnuse added that these rules, including no bacon, could have given the Jewish people "the enthusiastic self-perception that they were all priests in the new Temple of God, the world." But if the rules of the Book of Leviticus were only meant to be followed by priests, does that mean Jews can eat bacon now? Well, it’s certainly a potential game-changer.