Some Vegan and Veg Passages From Unexpected Sources (Middle East, Christianity)
Image Above: Abu al-ʿAlaʾ al-Maʿarri (973–1057) Vegan, Philosopher, Born in Syria:
“Do not unjustly eat fish the water has given up,
And do not desire as food the flesh of slaughtered animals,
Or the white milk of mothers who intended its pure draught
for their young, not noble ladies.
And do not grieve the unsuspecting birds by taking eggs;
for injustice is the worst of crimes.
And spare the honey which the bees get industriously
from the flowers of fragrant plants;
For they did not store it that it might belong to others,
Nor did they gather it for bounty and gifts.
I washed my hands of all this; and wish that I
Perceived my way before my hair went gray!”
Vegetarian Saying of Jesus from An Aramaic Manuscript of the Gospel of Luke: 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”, differs from the Greek gospel manuscripts, and the now standardized, conformist approach used by most New Testament translators. 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”*.:
“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.” — Yeshua, Luke 21:34
*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.
“Probably the most interesting of the changes from the familiar New Testament accounts of Jesus comes in the Gospel of the Ebionites description of John the Baptist, who, evidently, like his successor Jesus, maintained a strictly vegetarian cuisine.” (Prof. Bart D. Ehrman, Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew, pp. 102, 103
“The consumption of animal flesh was unknown up until the great flood. But since the great flood, we have had animal flesh stuffed into our mouths. Jesus, the Christ, who appeared when the time was fulfilled, again joined the end to the beginning, so that we are now no longer allowed to eat animal flesh.” (St. Jerome, Latin name Eusebius Hieronymus, 345–420 A.D., Christian monk and scholar whose outstanding work was the production of the Vulgate, the principal and official Latin translation of the Bible)
Jerome knew about the Gospel of the Hebrews and early Ebionite Christian sects who were vegetarians. He embraced their views about ethical vegetarianism.
“The steam of meat meals darkens the spirit. One can hardly have virtue if one enjoys meat meals and feasts. In the earthly paradise [Eden], no one sacrificed animals, and no one ate meat.” (Saint Basil the Great)