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By Fowler R.H., Milne E.A.

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Boling claims that the Islamic notion of holy war (jilzad) is ”a direct borrowing . . from Jewish traditions”(28). NOTES 25 12. Compare the hysterical character of this admonition to that concerning the requirement to eat only unleavened bread at Passover. "For seven days you must eat unleavened bread. . You are to clean all leaven out of your houses, for anyone who eats leavened bread . . shall be cut off from Israel. . [This] is an irrevocable ordinance. . You are to eat unleavened bread .

In other words, if Douglas’s account is not false, it is certainly incomplete. And its incompleteness probably is due to Douglas’s own professional bias as a structural functionalist. Structural functionalists explain enduring social patterns by inquiring into the social purposes they purportedly serve. They are indifferent to the actual sources of those patterns. This, of course, is understandable given that the societies they often study have no histories in the modern sense, that is, empirically grounded accounts of their own origins.

Indeed, some observers have supposed there to be an etymological link between the Hebraic word for covenant, b’vith, and barn (to eat) (Feeley-Harnik 1981, 86). All the sectarian schisms that Judaism has suffered over the centuries have revolved around issues of the mouth (91-96). The question for us, then, is what is the probable sociological basis for Jewish dietary law? What were the cultural and organizational circumstances of ancient Judaism that conduced it to emplace one of history’s most severe regimens around what seems outwardly, at least, such a harmless body opening?

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A Note on the Principle of Detailed Balancing by Fowler R.H., Milne E.A.


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