Eating in the Christian Tradition

Document Type

Conference Proceeding



Conference Title

Association for the Study of Food and Society (ASFS), Informing Possibilities for the Future of Food and Agriculture


Penn State College, University Park, PA

Conference Dates

May 28-31, 2009

Date of Presentation



This panel will discuss the influence of Christianity upon patterns of eating, ways of thinking about food and the body, and how consumption in the broadest sense of that term has been profoundly shaped by matters of faith in Europe and the US from the Renaissance to today. There have been a number of specialized studies of food and religion, beginning with Caroline Walker Bynum’s Holy Feast and Holy Fast and Bridget Anne Henisch’s Fast and Feast as well as a number of studies of asceticism, constructions of gender and pathologies influenced by religion, such as Rudolph Bell’s Holy Anorexia. More recently published are White Bread Protestants by Daniel Sack and R. Marie Griffith’s Born Again Bodies. To date, however, there has been no interdisciplinary scholarly discussion which gathers together the various uses of food by Christians on both sides of the Atlantic. This panel will do so. Panelists will discuss the interweaving global themes and particular local distinctions of the multiple uses of food by Christians. All participants are contributors to the upcoming book The Lord’s Supper: Food and Christian Faith from the Middle Ages to the Present, ed. Ken Albala and Trudy Eden (Columbia University, 2010).