Found 1 comment on HN
tammer · 2014-07-27 · Original thread
The "ancient public health initiative" explanation of religious taboos is a specious argument.

Yes, there are arguments to prove eating pork in the biblical middle-east was more dangerous than eating other kinds of meat. But to say that some wise and beneficent scholars recognized this fact implies there were prototype longitudinal surveys coupled with an ancient germ-theory of disease. It also doesn't explain the dozens of other prohibitions that have no relation to public health.

I suggest the book Purity and Danger[1] by Mary Douglas. She's a structural anthropologist who posits these religious taboos as extensions of the symbology dominant at the time.

[1]: http://www.amazon.com/Purity-Danger-Analysis-Pollution-Routl...

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