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Sunday, 4 January 2015
Food Categories

Paul and the Politics of Difference: A Contextual Study of the Jewish-Gentile Difference in Galatians and Romans,
Jae Won Lee, Pickwick Publications, 2014, page 95

In the chapter "Difference and Greco-Roman Meals", Jae Won Lee has picked up anoher way that difference works. Quoting the work of British anthropologist Mary Douglas (Deciphering a Meal, in "Implicit Meanings: Essays in Anthropology", Kegan Paul, 1975, page 249):

Food categories encode social events.

Lee explains that:

In Douglas' view, ancient Jewish dietary rules classified categories of animals according to degrees of holiness (purity). The positive value of purity and the negative value of impurity carry the message of the integrity of social boundaries as well as religious and social identity.

So by assimilating a group away from their food difference, this not only breaks down the 'food' barrier, but it also erodes religious and social identity. This breaks down social boundaries - enabling, for example table fellowship - but gives the appearance of wanting to remove the identity of the 'different' group.

Posted By Jonathan, 9:00am Comment Comments: 0