“They Kept Themselves Apart in the Matter of Food”

David M. Freidenreich

in Foreigners and Their Food

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780520253216
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520950276 | DOI:
“They Kept Themselves Apart in the Matter of Food”

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The redefinition of Jewish identity that occurs during the period of Hellenistic cultural dominance, which extends well into the beginning of the Common Era, necessitates a reimagining by Hellenistic Jews of the distinction between “us” and “them”, and a parallel revision of the systems of classification that give this distinction meaning. Food restrictions play an important role in the way many of these Jews imagine Jewish identity and mark the otherness of non-Jews; these restrictions do not play such a role during earlier periods of Israelite and Jewish history. This chapter presents a comparison of Alexandrian and Judean works, revealing sharp differences in the ways authors in these two communities envision the proper place of Jews within the broader social order of the Hellenistic world.

Keywords: Jewish identity; Hellenistic era; Hellenistic Jews; food restrictions; social order; Judea; Alexandria

Chapter.  7608 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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