The Abominable Pig By Marvin Harris

651 words - 3 pages

The Abominable Pig by Marvin Harris

Is it possible that the almighty God is wrong? The bible explicitly states, in no questionable terms that whatever is of the hoof and is cloven footed and chews the cud among animals, you may eat. Obviously, the pig has fallen short of the statement’s requirements, hence the reason why, Marvin Harris author of the article “The Abominable Pig,” has opted to explore the reasons why this is the case as his central argument. Harris does not seek to completely refute this theory; in fact, even though he pinpoints certain flaws in the biblical proclamation, he scrutinizes the reasons why God has chosen to isolate this particular animal, for it is no more a carrier of disease than any other. Harris contends that if the statement is reworded to state, “Flesh of swine thou shalt not eat until the pink has been cooked from,” and then that would have sufficed as opposed to eradicating its use completely.

Firstly, Harris looks at the Old Testament’s characterization of the pig and then compares it to a trichinosis perspective (which is a disease resulting from the ingestion of the pig.) He reasons that upon observing the filthy habits of the pig it is clear why God may have single out this animal and why pork consumption became taboo. However, Harris immediately puts forth his evidence as to why this is the case. Pigs have a tendency to wallow in mud not because they are unclean but because of a biological default that forces them to behave in this manner. Their bodies do not possess the sweat glands that are needed to aid in the regulation of body temperature during extremely hot weather to provide them with some form of cooling down. According to Harris’ research he discovered that pig wallow in mud because the moisture it provides, works well as
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