Food and Faith: A Theology of Eating

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This book provides a comprehensive theological framework for assessing eating's significance, employing a Trinitarian theological lens to evaluate food production and consumption practices as they are being worked out in today's industrial food systems. Norman Wirzba combines the tools of ecological, agrarian, cultural, biblical, and theological analyses to draw a picture of eating that cares for creatures and that honors God. Unlike books that focus on vegetarianism or food distribution as the key theological matters, this book broadens the scope to include discussions on the sacramental character of eating, eating's ecological and social contexts, the meaning of death and sacrifice as they relate to eating, the Eucharist as the place of inspiration and orientation, the importance of saying grace, and whether or not there will be eating in heaven. Food and Faith demonstrates that eating is of profound economic, moral, and theological significance.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Advance Praises: “With issues of food security growing ever more urgent, this is an important and timely book, profound and challenging. Wirzba engages with the themes of death and sacrifice that underlie all our eating, exploring the significance of food through the deepest insights of the Christian faith. Anyone interested in the construction of a more sustainable and a more just world, whether their background is Christian or not, should be interested in this book. Truly a tract for the times.” – Tim Gorringe, St Luke’s Professor of Theology, University of Exeter

“No reader will be able to take a mouthful of food in the same light again after reading this beautifully written and original book. Wirzba achieves admirably what he sets out to do in the introduction, namely, to challenge our ignorance about what we eat in order to bring his readers to a greater and more profound awareness of creaturely interdependence. This book is not just an analytical account of where modern industrial cultures have gone wrong in their displacement from a true appreciation of the sources and relationships involved in food production. It is also a bold and imaginative theological effort in helping modern Christian believers perceive and pay attention to the importance of grace-filled eating and its relationship with the death of other creaturely kinds. Although avowedly not a book about ethics, this book does far more than any straight text on the ethics of current practices might achieve, because it touches the heart of religious sensibility around food and invites a transformative response.” – Celia Deane-Drummond, Professor of Theology and the Biological Sciences and Director of the Centre for Religion and the Biosciences, University of Chester

“Food, how we grow it and how we eat it, is having increasingly deleterious effects on our bodies and on the environment. In Food and Faith Norman Wirzba shows that the destructive effects of the modern industrial food system extend also to our souls. He provides a doctrinally rich and biblically grounded repair of the increasing secularisation of food and the cultures of food in Western theology since the late Middle Ages. And against an ecologically destructive and oil-based industrial food economy, he unfolds an agrarian vision in which a sacred respect for the creatures, and dirt, that give us life is restored. This is a beautifully written book on a subject that is of profound import for Christian witness to a pagan consumer culture that shows increasingly callous disrespect for the Creation.” – Michael Northcott, School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh

“Theology at its best: lucid, full of humility, drawing boldly on a wide range of sources, and making innovative connections with a subject vital to all human beings. Warmly recommended!” – Christopher Southgate, University of Exeter

“The last decade has seen growing solidarity among diverse advocates for environmental justice, health and nutrition, animal rights, and gustatory pleasure. Food and Faith: A Theology of Eating adds an important Christian voice to this ongoing conversation from Norman Wirzba. ... Wirzba's vision—that eating Eucharistically is a joyful possibility in our lives, one that gives us a foretaste of heaven—is a marvelously attractive one.” --Books and Culture

"Likely to become the go-to book for a theological perspective on the vast field of food issues, _Food and Faith_ is not only thorough - it's also extremely well written. Whether describing a potluck meal at a church supported garden, outlining the history of bread production, or explaining the implications of the doctrine of the Trinity, Wirzba's lucid prose is energizing. This is the sort of heavy-hitting book you can actually talk about over dinner." -- Conspire

"This book is full of ideas and themes that almost leap off the page into the pulpit and pastorial ministry." --Christian Century

"We urgently need to think more deeply, carefully and creatively about food, ethics and theology, and Wirzba’s book enables us to do so." --Modern Theology

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521146241
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 5/31/2011
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 264
  • Sales rank: 514,404
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Norman Wirzba is Research Professor of Theology, Ecology, and Rural Life at Duke Divinity School. He is the author of The Paradise of God (2007) and Living the Sabbath (2006), among other titles. He lectures widely on topics related to ecology, agriculture and food systems as they are philosophically and theologically understood.
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Table of Contents

Foreword Stanley Hauerwas; Preface; 1. Thinking theologically about food; 2. The 'roots' of eating: our life together in gardens; 3. Eating in exile: dysfunction in the world of food; 4. Life through death: sacrificial eating; 5. Eucharistic table manners: eating toward communion; 6. Saying grace; 7. Eating in Heaven?: consummating communion.
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