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

Hardcover | October 25, 2008

byNathan MacDonald

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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 isthe 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 MacDonalddemonstrates 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 thetext 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 useof 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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From the Publisher

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 isthe first detailed and wide-ranging examina...

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 Universitat, Munich. His first book Deuteronomy and the Meaning of 'Monotheism' was awarded...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:278 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.88 inPublished:October 25, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199546525

ISBN - 13:9780199546527

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Food, Anthropology, Text, and History2. Milk and Honey: Diet in Ancient Israel3. Chewing the Cud: Food and Memory in Deuteronomy4. Mixed Menus: The Confusion of Food in Judges5. Feasting Fit for a King: Food and the Rise of the Monarchy6. Taste and Discernment: The Literary Motif of Judgement at the Table7. You are How you Eat: Food and Identity in the Post-Exilic PeriodConclusion

Editorial Reviews

"Not Bread Alone covers an incredibly broad range of texts and successfully provides bite-sized observations on food's various roles throughout the Old Testament corpus. The breadth of his study undoubtedly awakens the appetite for more study in this fruitful area." --Peter Altmann Journal of Hebrew Scriptures 27/03/2009