Theology on the Menu
Asceticism, Meat and Christian Diet
Routledge – 2010 – 214 pages
Food - what we eat, how much we eat, how it is produced and prepared, and its cultural and ecological significance- is an increasingly significant topic not only for scholars but for all of us. Theology on the Menu is the first systematic and historical assessment of Christian attitudes to food and its role in shaping Christian identity. David Grumett and Rachel Muers unfold a fascinating history of feasting and fasting, food regulations and resistance to regulation, the symbolism attached to particular foods, the relationship between diet and doctrine, and how food has shaped inter-religious encounters. Everyone interested in Christian approaches to food and diet or seeking to understand how theology can engage fruitfully with everyday life will find this book a stimulus and an inspiration.
'A new generation of British theologians is taking the debate over diet to the highest levels of scholarly and moral reflection, and Grumett and Muers are leading the way. Rather than trying to score points or pick fights, they demonstrate how food lies at the intersection of the spiritual and the material, and they offer their readers the tools, including the historical context, to make eating one of the primary tasks of thinking. This is now the book to read in seminary and college courses in moral theology, or simply to deepen your own practice of thoughtful eating.' – Stephen Webb, Wabash College, USA
"Grummet and Muers unfold a fascinating history of feasting and fasting, food regulations and resistance to regulation, the symbolism attached to particular foods, the relationship between diet and doctrine, and how food has shaped inter-religious encounters. Those interested in Christian approaches to food and diet or seeking to understand how theology can engage fruitfully with everyday life will find this a stimulating resource" -Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology
“…[T]his [book]…is an impressive achievement. By re-connecting contemporary Christian arguments about vegetarianism and diet with such varied, complex and sometimes downright perplexing tradition of embodied practice, the authors have offered rich and (to use their word) generative ways to inform and renew that practice in the present. Any reflective Christian who eats should be willing to find this book interesting.” -Neil Messer, University of Winchester, UK
"[The book’s] varied and frank deliberations have much to offer any scholar interested in Christian uses of food, and more generally to theologians interested in discussions of practices." -Jana Marguerite Bennett, University of Dayton, USA
Acknowledgments Preface 1. Eating in the Wilderness 2. Food in the Ordered City 3. Secularizing Diet 4. Fasting by Choice 5. Clean and Unclean Animals 6. Community, Heresy and Orthodoxy 7. Sacrifice and Slaughter 8. Christian Food, Heavenly Food, Worldly Food 9. Concluding Reflections Select Bibliography Index
David Grumett is Research Fellow in Theology at the University of Exeter. He is author of Teilhard de Chardin: Theology, Humanity and Cosmos (2005) and De Lubac: A Guide for the Perplexed (2007) and of articles and book chapters on theology and food, modern French Catholic thought, science and religion, and biblical interpretation.
Rachel Muers is Lecturer in Christian Studies at the University of Leeds. She is the author of Keeping God's Silence: Towards a theological ethics of communication (2004), Living for the Future: Theological ethics for future generations (2008), and of articles and book chapters on theological ethics and feminist theology.
Rachel Muers and David Grumett are joint editors of Eating and Believing: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Vegetarianism and Theology (2008).