…hese rules were clear attempts to avoid disease, such as the long sections of Leviticus on leprosy. But many of the rules seemed to follow a more emotional logic about avoiding disgust. For example, the Bible prohibits Jews from eating or even touching ‘the swarming things that swarm …
Many historians have concluded that the proto-Jewish people practiced a henotheistic religion similar to ones practiced by other Canaanite tribes they were emerging distinguishing themselves from.
Ritual purity was apparently an important part of all Canaanite religious practice.
Different groups, however, emphasized different purity practices and established different taboos.
That the Jewish practices later became well known and that they became distinct from the concept of ritual is mere coincidence.
The history of Judaism is a fascinating subject, much obscured by scholars who insist on taking religious texts as historical documents.