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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Meals in Early Judaism: Social Formation at the Table
Marks, Susan and Hal Taussig, editors

New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014 pp. xii + 204. £57.50

Description: Prior to this ground-breaking book, almost everyone has acknowledged the key role meals played in early Judaism. Nevertheless, only contemporary rabbinical studies, early Christian liturgical scholarship, and a few classicists wrote about this topic, resulting in a very fragmented view of meals and their formative role in early Judaism. With its keen analysis of the basic influences and the historical form of early Jewish meals, Meals in Early Judaism lays the groundwork for more detailed portraits of specific communal meal celebrations in the early centuries of the Common Era. Capitalizing on their ten-year collaborative research project within the Society of Biblical Literature, scholars Susan Marks, Jonathan Brumberg-Kraus, and Jordan Rosenblum provide and elaborate ten basic theses on these meals. Their further work offers intense examination of early rabbinic meal practices and the meals of the Jewish Therapeutae community in first century Egypt. In keeping with the book's application of these theses to specific settings, Professor Judith Hauptman assesses this new perspective and foundation for further study of rabbinic meals. Taussig, McGowan, Klinghardt and Smith contribute further to an exploration of Philo's portrait of the Therapeutae and beyond.

Subjects: Methods, Historical Approaches, History, History of Judaism, Early Church Origins, Social-Scientific Approaches

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Review by Joshua Schwartz
Published 11/6/2016
Citation: Joshua Schwartz, review of Susan Marks and Hal Taussig, eds., Meals in Early Judaism: Social Formation at the Table, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2016).

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