The Impact of Christianity

Authored by: Emmanuelle Raga

The Routledge Handbook of Diet and Nutrition in the Roman World

Print publication date:  October  2018
Online publication date:  October  2018

Print ISBN: 9780815364344
eBook ISBN: 9781351107334
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781351107334-19

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Abstract

Why would Christianity have had an impact on the diet and nutrition of the people of the Ancient world? Food and diet were explicitly excluded from religious preoccupations in the Christian founding texts and were not supposed to be a matter of importance for the new religion, even though it was, of course, a debated issue. 2 Christians were invited neither to follow nor to replace the Jewish alimentary rules and to remember that it is not what is eaten that is pure or impure but rather the individuals themselves. However, in the process of the definition of what it meant to be Christian (and, more importantly, to become Christian), the question of the adequate diet was one of the aspects of everyday life that became a central part in the development of the new Christian ethos. Then, in a latter phase, the spread of asceticism 3 as the increasingly dominant interpretation of the best version of Christian life from the fourth century onwards had a radical impact on what was perceived as a good diet and good food.

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