Making Sense of Religion and Food
Keywords:food, foodways, culture, community, scripture, Christianity
When looking at eating beyond physical nourishment, British anthropologist Mary Douglas (1921-2007) defined food as a cultural system, or code that communicates not only biological information, but social structure and meaning. What can a study of food and faith teach us, as scholars of religion, that we might not otherwise know? This article outlines thematic and pedagogical approaches to teaching food and religion through the lens of five semesters of teaching this course to undergraduate and graduate students. In it, I explore the topics of Food memory and community; Food and scripture; Food, gender and race; and Stewardship and Charity, thinking about spiritual and physical nourishment in the world's major religious traditions.
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