John Dominic Crossan
Crossan considers this to be the principal complex in a set of clusters around the deal of open or egalitarian commensality Historical Jesus, (262). He comments:
As advocated in parable and acted out in practice, it involved very specific challenges from mesocosmic table to macrocosmic society. There is, first and above all, 019 What Goes In [1/4], a complex that negates any value to food taboos or table rituals. The same point is made in 102 Inside and Outside [1/2]. Together, they insist that the inside and what comes from inside out are more important than the outside and what comes from outside in. There is no need to presume that Jesus was speaking against the fully developed table rituals of the Pharisaic sect. An open table and an open menu offend alike against any cultural situation in which distinctions among food and guests mirror social distinctions, discriminations, and hierarchies.
The views of the Jesus Seminar on this item can be expressed as follows.
- Thom 14:5
- Mark 7:14-15
- Matt 15:10-11
- Peter had a vision in which his traditional views on acceptable and unacceptable food were modified.
- Peter clamed to have divine authority to pronounce judgments about acceptable and unacceptable food.
- Peter was described by others as having divine authority to pronounce judgments about acceptable and unacceptable food.
- Petrine claims of authority to pronounce judgments about acceptable and unacceptable food were challenged by others in the early church.
- Peter himself ate with Gentiles.
- Within a decade or two after the death of Jesus, some Jewish Christians abandoned the Jewish dietary regulations and thus opened the way for Gentile and Jewish Christians to eat together
- Acts 10:9-16
- Acts 11:4-17
Luedemann Jesus, 48f notes that vs. 15 is the oldest element of tradition in Mark 7:1-23. Since the logion does not directly address the issues in dispute (it concerns what may be eaten rather than the issue of cleanliness), it may have been handed down as an isolated tradition and inserted into this context by Mark. He cites the criteria of difference, rarity and coherence in support of the authenticity of the saying. While defending the historicity of the saying, Luedemann argues [Jesus], (597) that Thom 14:5 is dependent on Mark 7:15 because he judges Thom 14:4 to be dependent on the Q material seen in Luke 10:7-8.
Meier Marginal Jew (III,527f) notes that Jesus' attitude to table fellowship and food purity laws was so different from the sectarians at Qumran that "they did not exist in the same spiritual universe." He contrasts this with the Pharisees who, while differing with Jesus over points of interpretation and application, shred sufficient common ground to make dialogue and debate possible.