New Testament

1 Corinthians 8:1-13

1 With regard to food sacrificed to idols, we know that “we all have knowledge.” Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 2 If someone thinks he knows something, he does not yet know to the degree that he needs to know. 3 But if someone loves God, he is known by God.

4 With regard then to eating food sacrificed to idols, we know that “an idol in this world is nothing,” and that “there is no God but one.” 5 If after all there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we live, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we live.

7 But this knowledge is not shared by all. And some, by being accustomed to idols in former times, eat this food as an idol sacrifice, and their conscience, because it is weak, is defiled. 8 Now food will not bring us close to God. We are no worse if we do not eat and no better if we do. 9 But be careful that this liberty of yours does not become a hindrance to the weak. 10 For if someone weak sees you who possess knowledge dining in an idol’s temple, will not his conscience be “strengthened” to eat food offered to idols? 11 So by your knowledge the weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed. 12 If you sin against your brothers or sisters in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13 For this reason, if food causes my brother or sister to sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I may not cause one of them to sin.

Avodah Zarah 8a

It is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Yishmael says: Jews who are outside of Eretz Yisrael are considered to engage in idol worship in purity, i.e., unwittingly. How does this occur? In the case of a gentile who prepared a feast for the marriage of his son, and invited all of the Jews in his town, even though they eat of their own kosher food and drink of their own kosher beverages, and their own attendant stands before them, the verse ascribes guilt to them as though they ate of the offerings to the dead, i.e., idols, as it is stated: “And sacrifice to their gods, and they call you, and you eat of their sacrifice”. Since Jews participate in a feast in which the gentile sacrifices offerings to his idol, it is as though they partook of the offering themselves.

The Gemara asks: But why not say that the verse is criticizing the Jews only once they eat from the sacrifice? Rava said: If that is what is meant, let the verse say only: And you eat of their sacrifice. What is meant by the additional phrase: “And they call you”? This indicates that the prohibition occurs from the time of the call.