Pig and religions, why so much hatred?

Pig and religions, why so much hatred?

In ancient times, the pig is particularly appreciated. Egyptian farmers, in the IIIe millennium before our era, raise it and consume it abundantly. Far from being despised, it is, on the contrary, worthy of being offered as a sacrifice to the god Osiris. In pagan societies (Greco-Roman, Germanic, Scandinavian, Celtic or Slavic worlds), the sacrificed pig honors the gods as much as it sustains the living.

In addition, if its flesh is synonymous with feasting, its fat allows the manufacture of candles, its leather and its tendons are transformed into strings of musical instruments, and its bristles, into brushes or paintbrushes.

How did monotheisms come to despise it? On the occasion of International Agricultural Show (organized in Paris until March 5), focus on the reasons for a rejection.

likened to the devil

Despite the primordial place it occupies in the meat diet, medieval Christianity will gradually reject it. What to think, in fact, of an animal that constantly searches the ground with its snout and never raises its eyes to the sky, the abode of God? What about an animal that devours animal excrement and carcasses? The pig has all the attributes of Satan: its black color (in the Middle Ages, pigs were not yet crossed with the pink breed from Asia), its open mouth, like the abyss of hell, and its weak acuity. visual not allowing him to see God, who is light.

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Medieval art combines all these attributes (dirtiness, gluttony, lust and anger) to make the animal the image of vice personified. It also symbolizes the man who returns to his sins as the pig returns to its mire. In the context of anti-Judaism in medieval and modern times, this animal hated by the Jews is used to designate them. From the XIIIe in the XVIIe century, images of Jewish children suckling a sow circulated.

However, its consumption is not forbidden to Christians. It is not the same in Judaism, where the prohibition is categorical. “You shall not eat the pork (…). You will regard it as impure. You shall not eat their flesh, nor touch their dead bodies.”, states Leviticus (11, 7-8). The live animal should not be touched or its name pronounced.

Too close to humans?

We find this same taboo in the Koran, where several verses are devoted to this prohibition (2, 168; 5, 4; 6, 146; 16, 16). It is, moreover, forbidden to consume the meat of an animal which has not been slaughtered according to the ritual prescriptions. More than a ban on the flesh of a particular species, it is then a general taboo of blood.

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