ANE 170 / HDS 1442 – Ancient Diets: Food and Identity in Ancient Israel

ANE 170 – Ancient Diets: Food and Identity in Ancient Israel

Semester: Spring
Offered: 2022
Instructor: Julia Rhyder
Meeting Time: W 9:45am-11:45am

Food and eating profoundly shaped social, religious, economic, and cultural life in antiquity. This course explores the role of dietary practices in establishing social bonds and ethnic boundaries in ancient Israel, while also exploring the importance of food in mediating the Israelites’ relationships with God, animals, and the environment. The course is structured around key themes that concern patterns of eating in ancient Israel, including food prohibitions, sacrifice, royal banquets, commensality, and trade. It is particularly concerned with identifying key historical developments that affected Israelite culinary practice and ideas about food, with a view to understanding how food became closely connected to issues of identity in ancient Judaism. It draws on a range of evidence, from biblical texts to archaeological remains and comparative materials from other Mediterranean societies. Students are also introduced to anthropological approaches to food, diets, and commensality, and learn to reflect critically on how such theoretical lenses might be applied to the study of ancient dietary patterns. All ancient texts will be read in translation.

Offered jointly with Harvard Divinity School as HDS 1442

For more details please visit the Harvard Course Catalog.