Not Bread Alone: The Uses of Food in the Old Testament

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Overview

In ancient Israel the production of food was a basic concern of almost every Israelite. Consequently, there are few pages in the Old Testament that do not mention food, and food provides some of the most important social, political and religious symbols in the biblical text. Not Bread Alone is the first detailed and wide-ranging examination of food and its symbolism in the Old Testament and the world of ancient Israel. Many of these symbols are very well-known, such as the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, the abominable pig and the land flowing with milk and honey. Nathan MacDonald demonstrates that the breadth biblical symbolism associated with food reaches beyond these celebrated examples, providing a collection of interrelated studies that draw on work on food in anthropology or other historical disciplines. The studies maintain sensitivity to the literary nature of the text as well as the many historical-critical questions that arise when studying it. Topics examined include: the nature and healthiness of the ancient Israelite diet; the relationship between food and memory in Deuteronomy; the confusion of food, sex and warfare in Judges; the place of feasting in the Israelite monarchy; the literary motif of divine judgement at the table; the use of food in articulating Israelite identity in the post-exilic period. The concluding chapter shows how some of these Old Testament concerns find resonance in the New Testament.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199546527
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 11/15/2008
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr Nathan MacDonald has been Lecturer in Old Testament at the University of St Andrews since 2001. He completed studies in Theology and Hebrew at the Universities of Cambridge and Durham, and has done postgraduate research at Ludwig-Maximilians Universität, Munich. His first book Deuteronomy and the Meaning of 'Monotheism' was awarded the John Templeton Award for Theological Promise 2007. He is also the author of Diet in Ancient Israel.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 Food, Anthropology, Text, and History 17

2 Milk and Honey: Diet of the Israelites 47

3 Chewing the Cud: Food and Memory in Deuteronomy 70

4 Mixed Menus: The Confusion of Food in Judges 100

5 Feasting Fit for a King: Food and the Rise of the Monarchy 134

6 Taste and Discernment: The Literary Motif of Judgement at the Table 166

7 You are How you Eat: Food and Identity in the Post-Exilic Period 196

Conclusion 219

Bibliography 227

Index of Names 249

Subject Index 253

Index of Biblical Passages 257

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