Porky’s Pulpit: Were There BBQ Joints in Nazareth?

Thank you to Jay and Katherine, a husband-and-wife team who sent me the below picture of a fascinating tapestry.  According to Katherine, “The tapestry hangs in the Gallery of Tapestries in the Vatican Museum and is a picture of the Last Supper.  I think it was woven in the 1600s.”  Why is this artwork of particular interest, other than the obvious fact that it is Holy Week?  Well, this particular depiction of the Last Supper appears to feature a serving platter full of pig! 

Since I’ve never before seen a pig-positive depiction of the Last Supper, I’m curious to hear from any religious scholars who can help answer these questions: Are those really pigs featured on the platter?  And, if so, is it at all possible that swine might have been on the menu at the Last Supper given the number of, you know, Jews present?  Also, what might the pigs’ symbolic meaning, if any, be in this tapestry? 

Given Jesus was a Jew, one would expect he kept kosher.  Then again Jesus, you may have heard, was no ordinary Jew.  According to that holiest of holy website WikiAnswers, which is a decidely unscholarly source of information, there is some debate about whether Jesus indulged in treyf food like swine.  The evidence that Jesus might have eaten pork largely comes from him saying, “It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man” (Matthew 15:11).  Whether this one passage can be interpreted to mean it is okay to eat pork and other “unclean” foods is not clear.  Anyone out there care to enlighten me? 

Last Supper tapestry, courtesy of Jay and Katherine Wilkerson