But I would press Kevin's point a bit farther. I think the study of early Christian history--call it, if you will, "How Jesus became Christ"--is fascinating. Watching early "believers" (hazardous to call them "Christian," so early) as they stitch together the various patches of Hellenistic dogma, folklore, whatever, into what they can perceive as a unified whole--well okay, again, absolutely nothing turns on it, but as a chapter in the history of a culture can be most absorbing. Do we need the Jewish Bible (soon to be "the Old Testament?") or not? If we need it, can we still eat pork? Do we have to chop off the tip of our tackle? And what about all those stories? Are they messages to the Jews and Us? Or just to Us?
I should add that I'm just as intrigued by the history of how the Judaism of the temple gave way to the Judaism of the diaspora: if anything, that one is even more interesting, because it is not just the creation of a new faith but rather the turning of a theological battleship 180 degrees in stormy waters. Anyway, now this:
And now for that saying of Moses, You are not to eat of the swine; nor yet of eagle, hawk, or crow; nor of any fish that has not got scales. In this there are three distinct moral precepts which he had received and understood. (For God says in Deuteronomy, I will make a covenant with this people that will embody my rules for holiness; so you see, the Divine command is in no sense a literal ban on eating, and Moses was speaking spiritually). The meaning of his allusion to swine is this: what he is really saying is, 'you are not to consort with the class of people who are like swine, inasmuch as they forget all about the Lord while they are living in affluence, but remember Him when they are in want--just as a swine, so long as it is eating, ignores its master, but starts to squeal the moment it feels hungry, and then falls silent again when it is given food.
Next, you shall eat neither eagle nor hawk, kite nor crow. This means that you are not to frequent the company nor imitate the habits of those who have no idea of earning their own bread by toil and sweat, but in total disregard of all law swoop down on the possession of other people; going about with every appearance of innocence, but keeping a sharp lookout and darting glances in every direction to see whom their rapacity can prey upon next....
When he says, you are not to eat of the lamprey, the polypus, or the cuttlefish, his meaning is that you are not to consort with or initiate the kind of people who have rejected God altogether. ...
--"Of the Laws of Diet," from The Epistle of Barnabas (A.D. 70? 200?)
(Maxwell Staniforth trans.,, rev. Andrew Louth)