Open Call for Paper San Antonio 2021

The MGRW seminar has planned two sessions for 2021: a) an open session, the first we’ve done in a very long time. We encourage those interested to consult our website https://mgrw.hypotheses.org/ in order to gain a sense of what topics have and have not been pursued by this seminar and how. We are very much looking forward to your proposals. b) The second session is by invitation only and features interaction between churches in the Republic of Korea practicing worship meals based on their understanding and research of early Christ people meals of the first and second centuries, and SBL scholars. This group of churches, led by the Yega Presbyterian Church in Seoul, translated and published in Korea the book, In the Beginning Was the Meal: Social Experimentation and Early Christian Identity (Hal Taussig, Fortress, 2009). The 20-year-academic trajectory of the early Christ people meals and of the SBL Seminar on Meals in the Greco-Roman world will be the subject of the first paper. The second paper will be a cross-cultural study by a group from the Korean churches and American scholars examining Christian vocabularies about worship-related meals: eucharist, communion, Lord’s supper, agape, and symposium. Third will be a description and visual presentation of “The Revolution of 21st Century Korean Church Worship Meals”. Finally, Korean Church representatives will describe their experience of the relationship between their 21st century church meals in relationship to the meals of Christ people in the first and second century.

https://www.sbl-site.org/meetings/Congresses_CallForPaperDetails.aspx?MeetingId=39&VolunteerUnitId=145

SBL 2020: Meals and Water Rites/Meals, Affect, and Religious Experience – Response by Susan Marks

This response was held during the 2020 Annual Meetings of the SBL on Zoom. (The program of the session could be found here.)

Let me first say that you three made my job easy. Each paper offered new and fascinating insights. You offered the only kind of feast we can share virtually and it’s a pleasure to dine with you. Further you share some of the tables set in Luke and John, so your papers speak to each other, giving us much to reflect upon as we move from one stage of our meal to the next.

Society of Biblical Literature International Meeting -  05-06-07-08-09/07/2020, Adelaide (Australia)

Nils, you bring a new approach to a question that has long interested this group, were there women at Meals? Which meals? How did that work? You are wonderfully clear in the way you ask the question: “What happens if a female takes part” in a symposium? Applying your exploration to the gender conflicts in Luke 7:36-52, as a woman shows up and washes the feet of Jesus. You considered narrative schemes in light of Propp and Eco and offered fruitful intertexts of women entering (or not entering) banquets, in the banquets of Xenophron by Demonsthenes (4th c BCE), Philodamos by Cicero (1st c BCE) and Lysimachos by Diogenes Laertios (3rd c CE), as well as naming the rarity of the phenomenon. No one wishes for longer papers in virtual formats, but I did wish there was more time to spend on your findings. Your wonderfully succinct list of functions “in at least two” of the sources begs to be really explored, and I trust you will do that in another format.

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Virtual Session 2020

The MGRW seminar is hosting one virtual session within the 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting of the SBL. We cordially invite you to attend. The program of the session:

Meals in the Greco-Roman World
12/02/2020
10:00 AM (3 PM GMT; 4PM WET) to 12:00 PM (5 PM GMT; 6pm WET)

Theme: Meals and Water Rites/Meals, Affect, and Religious Experience

Chan Sok Park, College of Wooster, Presiding

Henrike Dilling, University of Rostock
Water Rites as Structuring Elements in Ancient Meals: An Examintaion of the Footwashing in John 12 and 13 (25 min)
Tag(s): Greece and Hellenism (History & Culture), New Testament (Ideology & Theology), Gospels – John (Biblical Literature – New Testament)

Paul Olatubosun Adaja, Loyola University of Chicago
The Cup and the Development of Bread-and-Water Eucharist (25 min)
Tag(s): 1 Esdras (Biblical Literature – Deuterocanonical Works)

Nils Neumann, Leibniz Universität Hannover
Gender Role Conflicts, Violence, and Emotions in Ancient Symposia (25 min)
Tag(s): Gospels – Luke (Biblical Literature – New Testament), Social-Scientific Approaches (Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology) (Interpretive Approaches), Narrative Criticism (Interpretive Approaches)

Susan Marks, New College of Florida, Respondent (20 min)

Annual Meeting San Diego

In a few days, the Annual Meeting of the SBL starts. The MGRW seminar has planned three sessions. A warm invitation is extended to everyone to attend.

Meals in the Greco-Roman World
11/23/2019
9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Room: 31A (Upper Level East) – Convention Center

Theme: Reading and Interpretive Activity during Ancient Meals

Susan Marks, New College of Florida, Presiding (10 min)

Jan Heilmann, Technische Universität Dresden
Ancient Literary Culture and Meals in the Greco-Roman World: The Role of Reading during Ancient Symposia (30 min)
Tag(s): Roman Empire (History & Culture), Social-Scientific Approaches (Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology) (Interpretive Approaches), Rome/Latin (Greco-Roman Literature)

Break (5 min)

Jonas Leipziger, Hochschule für Jüdische Studien Heidelberg
Ancient Jewish Reading Practices and the Greco-Roman Meal Tradition (30 min)
Tag(s): Hebrew Bible / Old Testament / Greek OT (Septuagint) (Biblical Literature – Hebrew Bible/Old Testament/Greek OT (Septuagint)), Hellenistic Period (History & Culture), Jewish (Ideology & Theology)

Andrew McGowan, Yale Divinity School, Respondent (20 min)

Discussion (30 min)

Meals in the Greco-Roman World
11/25/2019
9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Room: 30E (Upper Level East) – Convention Center Theme: Drinking and Intoxication in Ancient and Late Antique Meals

Chan Sok Park, College of Wooster, Presiding (5 min)

Jon-Paul Lapeña, Harvard Divinity School
Contextualizing Paul’s Rhetoric of the μέθυσος: Attitudes Toward Drunkenness and Its Stigma in the Early Imperial Period (25 min)
Tag(s): Greco-Roman Literature (Greco-Roman Literature), Material Culture (Archaeology & Iconography), Pauline Epistles (Biblical Literature – New Testament)

Kevin Künzl, Technische Universität Dresden
Drinking like Jesus: Symposiastic Ethics in Clement of Alexandria (25 min)
Tag(s): Early Christian Literature (Early Christian Literature – Other), Ethics (Ideology & Theology)

Jordan D. Rosenblum, University of Wisconsin-Madison
“The Wine of the Region”: Brewing Religion and the Translation of Rabbinic Ritual from a Palestine to a Babylonian Context (25 min)
Tag(s): Rabbinic Literature (Early Jewish Literature – Rabbinic Literature), History of Judaism (History & Culture), Religious Traditions and Scriptures (History of Interpretation / Reception History / Reception Criticism)

Lillian I. Larsen, University of Redlands
Wine Is Not for Monks? (25 min)
Tag(s): Daily Life (Archaeology & Iconography), Material Culture (Archaeology & Iconography), Ancient Near East – Late Antiquity (History & Culture)

Vadim Putzu, Missouri State University, Respondent (15 min)

Meals in the Greco-Roman World / Ritual in the Biblical World

Joint Session With: Meals in the Greco-Roman World, Ritual in the Biblical World

11/25/2019

1:00 PM to 3:30 PM

Room: Balboa (South Tower – Level Three) – Marriott Marquis Theme: Two New Handbooks: Meals and Ritual

Book Panel: Risto Uro, Juliette J. Day, Richard E. DeMaris and Rikard Roitto (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Ritual; and P.B.A. Smit & Soham Al-Suadi (eds.), T&T Clark Handbook to Early Christian Meals in the Greco-Roman World. Co-sponsored by the Meals in the Greco-Roman World Seminar and Ritual in the Biblical World Section. Both new handbooks advance the study of early Christian ritual, but they do so in rather different ways. Panelists will present and assess the hanbooks’ differing approaches and consider the results of each approach.

Richard DeMaris, Valparaiso University, Introduction (10 min)

Soham Al-Suadi, Universität Rostock, Panelist (15 min)

Rikard Roitto, Stockholm School of Theology, Panelist (15 min)

Hal Taussig, Westar Institute, Panelist (15 min)

Colleen Shantz, St Michael’s College, University of Toronto, Panelist (15 min)

Richard Ascough, Queen’s University, Panelist (15 min)

Jonathan Schwiebert, Lenoir-Rhyne University, Panelist (15 min)

Roundtable Discussion (25 min)

Discussion (25 min)

Book Note:Food and Transformation in Ancient Mediterranean Literature

This book note was originally published on Ancient Jew Review. You can view original post here.

Meredith J C Warren, Food and Transformation in Ancient Mediterranean Literature. Writings from the Greco-Roman World Supplement Series 14. Atlanta: SBL Press, 2019. 206 pages.

When Alice takes her tumble down the rabbit hole, she lands in a liminal hallway, lined with doors she can’t open or fit through. She is trapped between the real world and the world of Wonderland. “‘Oh,’ said Alice, ‘how I wish I could shut up like a telescope! I think I could, if I only knew how to begin.’”[1] As luck would have it, there appear before her a small bottle labelled “DRINK ME” and a small cake with the words “EAT ME” spelled out in currants.[2] Alice eats the EAT ME cake and drinks the DRINK ME drink. When she has, she discovers she understands now how to “shut up like a telescope.” Alice is able to fit through the doors into Wonderland and enters, beginning her adventures in that other world.

I use this example when I try to explain to non-specialists what it is this book discusses. For people without familiarity with 4 Ezra, Joseph and Aseneth, the Passion of Perpetua and Felicitas, and the other ancient texts I go through in my book, Alice is an accessible example that conveniently points out what happens when a person consumes food belonging to another world. Because she has eaten and drunk, Alice’s physical appearance changes; she gains access to Wonderland in a way that she could not before she ingested the items provided by the liminal room. In Alice’s case, as in the examples from antiquity, it isn’t explained exactly why it would be that food works this way. The text takes for granted that we readers can follow along. And once you recognize what’s happening, you begin to catch glimpses of hierophagy in a range of texts. Continue reading

Recommendation: Last Supper in Pompeii (Oxford, Ashmolean Museum)

During the International Conference on Patristic Studies in this August, I visited the special exhibition “Last Supper in Pompeii” in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. To visit the exhibition is highly recommended to all who are interested in meals in the the Greek-Roman world. The exhibition provides hundreds of well preserved remains of ancient dining cultur. Among them carbonized loaf of bread and many other groceries, interior of ancient dining rooms, dishes and so on.

https://www.ashmolean.org/pompeii

 

Book Announcement: Delicious Prose: Reading the Tale of Tobit with Food and Drink

Many thanks to Jan Heilman and Susan Marks for inviting me to write a guest post about my recent volume, Delicious Prose: Telling the Tale of Tobit with Food and DrinkA Commentary (Brill, 2018, Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism, Volume: 188).

Delicious Prose argues that food and drink in Tobit are essential both to telling the story (plot, characters, structure, mood, symbolism) and promoting acts of righteousness, even to the point of cultural resistance against a hostile dominant culture. Jews who adhere to their traditions, especially endogamy and almsgiving, the story argues, will prosper in the end even if they must at first suffer profoundly.

Delicious Prose identifies and analyzes the nearly three-dozen references to food and drink which occur throughout the ancient Jewish fairy tale. They include: (1) the distribution of food as tithes, in feeding the hungry, and in placing consumables on graves, (2) food preparation, (3)  the consumption of food and drink and their associated dining customs, and (4) instances in which food is avoided or its consumption is delayed. A notable case of the latter is when Tobit leaps from his tempting Shavuot meal without tasting it in order to attend to a corpse (Tob 2:4).

Delicious Prose delineates how each food-linked reference functions within its immediate context, and within the work as a whole. It locates the reference both within writings sacred to Jews and Christians through late antiquity and from the wider world, including Egypt, the Ancient Near East, Ugarit, Greece, Rome and from contemporary cultures. In doing so, Delicious Prose brings to light extensive data about ancient foodways and the use of food as medicine.

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Call for San Diego

 We have planned three sessions: 1) Reading and Interpretive Activity during Ancient Meals (open call): The Greco-Roman meal is one potential context for reading and interpreting texts. However, while research into meals more or less presupposes that people have read during ancient meals, broader investigations of this topic and detailed analyzes of the sources concerning reading practices during ancient meals are lacking. The aim of this session is to initiate a scholarly discourse about reading and interpretive activities during “pagan,” Jewish and Christian meals in the ancient and late antique Greco-Roman world. Therefore, we would like to address the following questions: 

What is the relation of the Roman institution of the recitatio, which was bound to the presence of the author, and ancient meals? Can we determine the role of meals for the ancient literary culture? Do we find evidence in Jewish and Christian sources for equivalent practices during their meals? Are there special values or conventions of ancient reading and interpretation practices during ancient meals, e.g., concerning the length, the function, the social participation?

2) Drinking and Intoxication in Ancient and Late Antique Meals (open call): We invite scholars to propose papers on any aspect of drinking, beverages and intoxication in the meals of the Hellenist and Roman or Late Antiquity. We look forward to perspectives from a variety of different communities. Were there specific beverages favored and why? Specific beverages rejected? And what does a focus on drinking reveal about the social relations within the group? These investigations can include arguments against intoxication as well as explorations of whether intoxication furthers access to the deity invoked or induces religious experiences, and how meals contribute to these questions. 3) Two New Handbooks: Meals and Ritual (co-sponsored, invited speakers only).

For your proposals:

https://www.sbl-site.org/meetings/Congresses_CallForPaperDetails.aspx?MeetingId=35&VolunteerUnitId=145

Forthcoming: T&T Clark Handbook to Early Christian Meals in the Greco-Roman World

We are happy to announce the forthcoming publishing of T&T Clark Handbook to Early Christian Meals in the Greco-Roman World edited by Soham Al-Suadi and Peter-Ben Smit. The book will be available at the beginning of 2019.

From the description of the publisher:

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“Meals are a highly significant element in the development of Christian identity. In this handbook Soham Al-Suadi and Peter-Ben Smit present chapters that situate early Christian meals in their broader context, with a focus on the core topics that will help us to understand Greco-Roman meal practice and how this relates to Christian origins. The issues covered include: the role of gender during meals; issues of monotheism and polytheism that arise from the structure of the meal; how sacrifice is understood in different meal practices; power dynamics during the meal and issues of inclusion and exclusion at meals.

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Program for This Year’s Annual Meeting Online

The program of the MGRW-Seminar at this year’s Annual Meeting of the SBL in Denver is now online.

Meals in the Greco-Roman World
11/17/2018
1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Room: Room TBD – Hotel TBD

Theme: Transformative Ritual and the Textual Transmission of Early Christian Meal Texts
Changes in the ritual practice of Christian meals have influenced the transmission of New Testament and early Christian texts that concern meals. This is the working hypotheses of the network “Mahl und Text” of eight doctoral and post-doctoral researchers in Europe, funded by the German Research Foundation. The aim of the network is to investigate correlations between transformation processes from Symposium to Eucharist on the one hand, and variants in the manuscript tradition of New Testament and early Christian that concern meals, or the larger editorial phenomena attested by the manuscripts of those texts, on the other. The aim of this session is to present and discuss the work of this research network.

Jan Heilmann, Technische Universität Dresden, Presiding (5 min)
Benedikt Eckhardt, University of Edinburgh
Textual Variants in Justin, 1 Apology 65-67 (30 min)
Kevin Künzl, Technische Universität Dresden
The Meal in the Letters of Ignatius: Textual Variants as Evidence for Transforming Practice and Theology (30 min)
Tobias Flemming, Technische Universität Dresden
The Ritual Practice of Christian Meals and New Testament Textual Variants (30 min)
Soham Al-Suadi, Universität Rostock, Respondent (10 min)
Jennifer Knust, Boston University, Respondent (15 min)
Anni Hentschel, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, Panelist
Peter Smit, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Panelist
Discussion (30 min)

Meals in the Greco-Roman World
11/18/2018
1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Room: Room TBD – Hotel TBD

Theme: The Archeology of Ancient Meals – in Honour of Dennis E. Smith: A co-sponsored session
Co-sponsored by Westar Institute

Hal Taussig, Presiding (5 min)
Other (10 min)
A Tribute by Joe Tyson read by Hal Taussig
Matthias Klinghardt, Technische Universität Dresden
The Meal in its Non-literary and Literary Worlds (30 min)
L. Michael White, University of Texas at Austin
Changing Patterns of Communal Dining in the Ostia Synagogue (30 min)
Susan M. Elliott, Independent Scholar
Next Came the Letter: Listening with Dennis E. Smith to Paul’s Letters in the Context of Household Gatherings (30 min)
Discussion (45 min)

 

Meals in the Greco-Roman World
11/19/2018
4:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Room: Room TBD – Hotel TBD

Theme: The Economics of Meals

Chan Sok Park, College of Wooster, Presiding (5 min)
Jin Hwan Lee, Independent Scholar
Meals for All, All for Meals (30 min)
Gregg Gardner, The University of British Columbia
Poverty, Charity, and the Economics of Sabbath Meals in Early Judaism (30 min)
Karen Connor McGugan, Harvard University
Hungering and thirsting for resurrection: Origen’s “On First Principles” and the realities of food scarcity in antiquity (30 min)
Andrew McGowan, Yale Divinity School
“Having their fill of the loaves”: Early Christian meals and ancient bread distribution (30 min)
Discussion (25 min)

 

Call for Paper for this Year’s Annual Meeting

We have planned three sessions: 1) The Economics of Meals (open call); 2) Transformative Ritual and the Textual Transmission of Early Christian Meal Texts (invited papers only); and 3) The Archeology of Ancient Meals (invited papers only). 1) The Economics of Meals: We invite scholars to propose papers on the economics of meals. In focusing on the social interactions around meals we must also think about what resources it takes to make a meal. Possible topics include: What is the role that economics plays in ancient discourses on meals? What sources provide evidence for minimum food intake and how does this impact our understanding of meals? How do economics relate to various laws about early meals? Are there models from the social sciences that are helpful for interpreting source materials on meals and economics? 2) Transformative Ritual and the Textual Transmission of Early Christian Meal Texts: Changes in the ritual practice of Christian meals have influenced the transmission of New Testament and early Christian meal texts. This is the working hypotheses of the network “Mahl und Text” of eight doctoral and post-doctoral researchers in Europe, funded by the German Research Foundation. The aim of the network is to investigate correlations between transformation processes from Symposium to Eucharist on the one hand, and variants in the manuscript tradition of New Testament and early Christian meal texts, or the larger editorial phenomena attested by the manuscripts of those texts, on the other. The aim of this session is to present and discuss the work of this research network. 3) The Archeology of Ancient Meals – in Honour of Dennis E. Smith: A co-sponsored session, details to follow.

https://www.sbl-site.org/meetings/Congresses_CallForPaperDetails.aspx?MeetingId=33&VolunteerUnitId=145

Meals in the Greco-Roman World

The Meals in the Greco-Roman World seminar is an ongoing seminar within the Society of Biblical Literature explores meals as a window into social and religious life in the Greco-Roman world and as a pivotal consideration in understanding early Christianity and Judaism. This blog provides information about the current activities of the seminar and discusses current issues as well as publications concerning ancient meals.