In conventional readings of the Gospel of Mark, Jesus’s relationship to the Jewish dietary laws is taken as a watershed moment in religious history, when one set of fundamental beliefs is cast out in favor of a new worldview. For centuries, Christian preachers, scholars, and lay readers of Mark have read the Gospel as teaching us not only that Jesus did not keep kosher but also that he permitted all foods that the Torah had forbidden Jews to eat. This would be a shift of no small moment, as indeed the dietary laws were then and remain today one of the very hallmarks of Jewish religious practice. If Mark has been misread, however, and his Jesus did not abandon or abrogate such basic Jewish practices as keeping kosher, then our entire sense of where the Jesus movement stands in relation to...

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