"The Following You Shall Abominate among the Birds": Ancient Debates about Eating Fowl

The Hebrew Bible prohibits the consumption of certain birds. However, it neither provides a reason for why these birds are forbidden, nor offers a general principle about which birds are kosher. Ancient Jews and Christians debated both of these questions, and offered answers that were, at times, both similar and different. This paper will explore these similarities and differences, which are based on exegetical and theological assumptions held by both groups. From laws about bird’s nests to conversations about birds of prey, exegesis on biblical laws regarding fowl allowed the ancient imagination to soar.