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Food and Faith

Book description

This book provides a comprehensive theological framework for assessing the significance of eating. Drawing on diverse theological, philosophical, and anthropological insights, it offers fresh ways to evaluate food production and consumption practices as they are being worked out in today's industrial food economy. Unlike books that focus primarily on vegetarianism and hunger-related concerns, this book broadens the scope of consideration to include the sacramental character of eating, the deep significance of hospitality, the meaning of death and sacrifice, the Eucharist as the place of inspiration and orientation, the importance of saying grace, and the possibility of eating in heaven. Throughout, eating is presented as a way of enacting fidelity between persons, between people and fellow creatures, and between people and Earth. Food and Faith demonstrates that eating is of profound economic, moral, and spiritual significance. Revised throughout, this edition includes a new introduction and two chapters, as well as updated bibliography. The additions add significantly to the core idea of creaturely membership and hospitality through discussion of the microbiome revolution in science, and the daunting challenge of the Anthropocene.


'Many people who 'do theology' for a living resign themselves to dusty classrooms where they fiddle with doctrines that most us can't even pronounce. But not Norman Wirzba. He is a first-rate thinker by any reckoning, but he has devoted his life to the holiness of the ordinary. It's no surprise then that he would pen a groundbreaking theology of eating. Food and Faith is an invitation to taste and see God's goodness with the power to transform your mealtimes into worship services. Savor this book slowly, and thank me when you're finished.'

Jonathan Merritt - author of Learning to Speak God from Scratch and contributing writer for The Atlantic

'I strongly recommended the first edition of Food and Faith. I recommend the second edition with even more enthusiasm. Not only are there careful revisions throughout, there are critical new chapters. Science is rapidly changing our understanding of ourselves as complex creatures, and the advent of the Anthropocene promises to alter everything - the planet’s dynamics itself, and certainly culture and agriculture. Wirzba’s cutting edge attention to these gives this new edition even more significance and more traction.'

Larry Rasmussen - Reinhold Niebuhr Professor Emeritus of Social Ethics, Union Theological Seminary, New York City

'Food and Faith is undoubtedly the quintessential theological work on eating, but Norman Wirzba's vision extends far beyond the food we put in our mouths. His careful thinking orients us toward living healthfully and well within the interconnected life of God's creation.'

C. Christopher Smith - founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books, and co-author of Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus

'Human eating practices have never been more disordered than they are today. Systems of modern industrial food production sustain billions of lives on this planet, but many still go to bed hungry, while others suffer from a surfeit of cheap, highly processed foods. Wirzba wisely reminds us that more technology cannot finally save us here. Instead, he invites us to taste and see that the Lord is good. Food, he tells us, is God’s love made edible. Sharing meals together, we glimpse a foretaste of heaven. Our very bodies are sites of nurture for myriad organisms, and we are privileged to be capable of glimpsing our own lives and deaths as participating in nature’s unfolding round of relationality. Will we respond to the call to participate in God’s own Trinitarian life of hospitality, communion, and care? Will we make eating a spiritual practice? A beautiful and transformative book.'

Jennifer A. Herdt - Gilbert L. Stark Professor of Christian Ethics, Yale Divinity School

'Norman Wirzba is a gift and this book is one of the best you’ll read this year. The thoughtfulness, the insight, the depth in these pages will revolutionize the way you think about every meal, every person you break bread with, every morsel that sustains you. Highly recommended!'

Margaret Feinberg - author of Taste and See: Discovering God among Butchers, Bakers, and Fresh Food Makers

'Food and Faith is a modern classic in serious Christian theological ethics, and even better in its new second edition. Wirzba offers here a magisterial, comprehensive work that can transform not only how Christians think about food but how we think about agriculture, community, death, covenant, Eucharist, heaven, scripture, and Jesus himself. A fine example of what can happen when a trained theologian committed to practicing the way of Jesus determines to address a significant but neglected issue in human life. I highly recommend this book.'

David P. Gushee - Director of the Center for Theology and Public Life, Mercer University and President of the American Academy of Religion

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