“Suppers in the Times of the Kingdom”: Food, Drink and the Resurrected Body in Early Christian Thought
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Connor McGugan, Karen Elizabeth
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CitationConnor McGugan, Karen Elizabeth. 2020. “Suppers in the Times of the Kingdom”: Food, Drink and the Resurrected Body in Early Christian Thought. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractBy the second and third centuries C.E., the resurrection had become a focal point of intra-Christian controversy. Writings from this period that insist on an eschatological resurrection of the flesh and/or body— themselves hotly contested concepts— debate which structures, substances, abilities, needs, and desires intrinsic to mortal existence will persist into the resurrection. This dissertation employs rhetorical analysis, together with consideration of material and statistical evidence for dietary habits and practices in the ancient world, to explore the ways in which five early Christian thinkers—pseudo-Justin Martyr, (pseudo-)Athenagoras, Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Origen— conceived of the relationship of the resurrected body to food and drink. While some of these thinkers argued vehemently that the resurrected body will have no need or desire for nourishment (or even the ability to digest it), others insisted on a resurrection filled with lavish feasting. Behind these disparate constructions of the eating-drinking resurrected body lay differing hopes and desires for the afterlife, informed by a wide variety of factors: doctrinal debate and scriptural precedent, but also philosophical and medical discourses, dietary rituals and practices, and the realities of food scarcity. The resurrected body served as a laboratory for human functioning— an opportunity to envision what might be possible for the body in an ideal scenario, in light of particular constraints and concerns of mortality.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37365949
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