Food and Religion

Corrie E. Norman

in The Oxford Handbook of Food History

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199729937
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Food and Religion


Whether it is Brahman cooking the world into existence or Adam and Eve being driven away from paradise because of an apple, food has allowed religious peoples to relate to their gods, each other, and the world. Through food, meaning can be made while making dinner, attending rituals such as Christian Communion and Hindu deity feedings, or eating everyday according to the kashrut or halal codes of Judaism and Islam. Today, food remains an important fixture in religious discourse. Mary Douglas's theories on the relationships of food and purity and particularly the social meanings encoded in Hebrew dietary laws have come to shape the study of food. They have even influenced the study of religion. One document of interest is the Encyclopedia of Religion. This chapter examines the relationship between food and religion, focusing on Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.

Keywords: food; religion; Mary Douglas; Encyclopedia of Religion; Hinduism; Buddhism; Islam; Judaism; Christianity; purity

Article.  9301 words. 

Subjects: History ; World History

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