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Food and Identity in Early Rabbinic Judaism


  • Date Published: February 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107666436

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About the Authors
  • Food often defines societies and even civilizations. Through particular commensality restrictions, groups form distinct identities: those with whom 'we' eat ('us') and those with whom 'we' cannot eat ('them'). This identity is enacted daily, turning the biological need to eat into a culturally significant activity. In this book, Jordan D. Rosenblum explores how food regulations and practices helped to construct the identity of early rabbinic Judaism. Bringing together the scholarship of rabbinics with that of food studies, this volume first examines the historical reality of food production and consumption in Roman-era Palestine. It then explores how early rabbinic food regulations created a distinct Jewish, male, and rabbinic identity. Rosenblum's work demonstrates how rabbinic food practices constructed an edible identity.

    • Combines approaches of scholars of rabbinic Judaism and food studies
    • Includes a chapter on the underlying realia of food production and consumption in the early rabbinic period - no study has devoted its attention solely to this subject
    • Develops a cross-cultural model for how to study the intersection between food regulations and identity construction
    • Develops concepts that are applicable to other areas of food studies, including social digestion, edible identity, and the chef/sous-chef principle
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Food and Identity in Early Rabbinic Judaism, the first comprehensive treatment of this subject, makes a significant contribution to the fields of Jewish studies, food studies, and the study of identity formation. Rosenblum's deft treatment of both realia and rhetoric is exemplary. This work, sophisticated enough to please experts, is written in a clear and engaging manner accessible to a general audience. I look forward to using this outstanding book both in my undergraduate classroom and in my own research.' David M. Freidenreich, Colby College

    'In this original and important study, Jordan Rosenblum carefully analyzes texts from the earliest stratum of rabbinic literature to understand how they treat eating practices and food. He meticulously and convincingly argues that the early rabbinic movement constructs identity by regulating what, with whom, and how one eats. Rosenblum judiciously draws on ideas from anthropology to tease out fresh insights from the ancient texts. Written in lucid and engaging prose, this outstanding book is essential reading for those interested in Jewish studies and the ancient world.' Gregg E. Gardner, Harvard University

    'A veritable feast for scholars and students drawn to food studies, as well as readers interested in better understanding the cultural significance of the rabbinic table.' Religion

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107666436
    • length: 238 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.36kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Realia
    2. Jewish identity
    3. Jewish male identity
    4. Jewish male rabbinic identity

  • Author

    Jordan D. Rosenblum, University of Wisconsin, Madison
    Jordan D. Rosenblum is Belzer Assistant Professor of Classical Judaism at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He has contributed to the Journal for the Study of Judaism, the Jewish Quarterly Review, and the Journal of Jewish Studies.

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