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The Food of the Therapeutae: A Thick Description

McGowan, Andrew B. (2014) The Food of the Therapeutae: A Thick Description. In: Meals in Early Judaism: Social Formation at the Table. Palgrave Macmillan, New York, pp. 129-138. ISBN 9781137372567

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Abstract

Philo’s accounts of the symposia of the Therapeutae amount to a sort of ancient “thick description,” since he attends to space, posture, ritual, discourse and numerous other of the meals. Within these, foods are more than merely incidental or of minimal importance. The food and drink described are certainly austere, yet their simplicity is a sign of robust and coherent ascetic sensibility, not of indifference to the material. The meal, food included, reveals and underlies the character of the community and its life. Philo’s menu for his Therapeutae and Therapeutrides is on the one hand an ascetic response to bodily desire, which is to be harnessed or even opposed, and on the other hand an ambiguously sacrificialized meal, a quasi-cultic diet at once evocative of the food and drink of the temple and distinguished from them.

Item Type: Book Chapters
Repository Version: Author's Final Manuscript
Keywords: Philo of Alexandria, Therapeutae, Food, Meals, Symposium, Sacrifice
Fields of Research: 21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210306 Classical Greek and Roman History
22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2204 Religion and Religious Studies > 220404 Jewish Studies
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950504 Understanding Europe's Past
Type of Activity: Applied Research
Subjects: A - World Religions
College/Association with University of Divinity: UFT-TCTS: United Faculty of Theology - Trinity College Theological School
Depositing User: Dr Andrew McGowan
Date Deposited: 05 May 2015 02:11
Last Modified: 05 May 2015 02:11
URI: http://repository.divinity.edu.au/id/eprint/1761

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