A Vegetarian Saying of Jesus
by James Bean
There’s a very old Syriac-Aramaic manuscript of the Gospel of Luke that even predates the Syriac Peshitta called Evangelion da-Mepharreshe. It contains some “textual variants”, in other words, differs from the Greek gospel manuscripts and the now often standardized or conformist approach used by most of the New Testament translators these days. There are two surviving editions of Evangelion da-Mepharreshe: the Curetonian Version of the Four Gospels as well as the Sinai Palimpsest, also known as The Old Syriac Gospels. Evangelion da-Mepharreshe represents a translation and “one of the earliest witnesses”* of an even older collection of gospel manuscripts that no longer exist but once were “in circulation between the second and the fifth centuries”*.
*Note: Page xviii, “Peshitta New Testament, The Antioch Bible English Translation”, Gorgias Press, discussion from the Preface about the history of the early Syriac-Aramaic manuscripts of the gospels.
“Now beware in yourselves that your hearts do not become heavy with the eating of flesh and with the intoxication of wine and with the anxiety of the world, and that day come up upon you suddenly; for as a snare it will come upon all them that sit on the surface of the earth.” —Jesus, Luke 21:34: https://archive.org/details/cu31924092359680/page/n417/mode/2up?view=theater
No doubt for some the idea of a vegetarian Jesus seems a bit of a stretch, at least based on the European Christian traditions they might be acquainted with, but there once existed a Jesus Movement in the Middle East and Near East where vegetarianism was the norm, part of an ethical code referred to as “the Yoke of the Lord”. And so the passage above found in this Syriac-Aramaic edition of Luke is very much in harmony with other such sayings attributed to Jesus found in the Hebrew and Ebionite sources along with other early Christian writings.
There’s actually also a surprising number of references to the vegetarianism of various Apostles and even a few of those early church fathers claimed by Orthodoxy. These writings preserved in the Ante-Nicene Fathers and other collections of early Christian literature have been with us for most of the last two thousand years, but only vegetarians or vegans seem to be the ones willing to pay any attention to those sources! See my article, Evidence That Jesus and The Original Aramaic Christians Were Vegetarians: https://medium.com/sant-mat-meditation-and-spirituality/evidence-that-jesus-and-the-original-aramaic-christians-were-vegetarians-b8784ac42506