© 2012

Meals in the Early Christian World

Social Formation, Experimentation, and Conflict at the Table

  • Editors
  • Dennis E. Smith
  • Hal E. Taussig

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Introduction

    1. Hal E. Taussig
      Pages 1-5
  3. The Typology of the Greco-Roman Banquet

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 7-7
    2. Matthias Klinghardt
      Pages 9-22
  4. The Archeology of the Banquet

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 35-35
    2. Carolyn Osiek
      Pages 37-56
  5. Who Was at the Greco-Roman Banquets?

  6. The Culture of Reclining: Corporeality, Sexuality, Intimacy

About this book


This book provides three categories of investigation: 1) The Typology and Context of the Greco-Roman Banquet, 2) Who Was at the Greco-Roman Banquets, and 3) The Culture of Reclining. Together these studies establish festive meals as an essential lens into social formation in the Greco-Roman world.


15th century archaeology bibliography culture discourse mediterranean Ovid Research in English and American Literature rhetoric slavery slaves trade tradition typology women

About the authors

Ellen Bradshaw Aitken, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada Richard S. Ascough, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada Carly Daniel Hughes, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada Nancy A. Evans, Wheaton College, Norton, Massachusetts, USA Jennifer A. Glancy, Le Moyne College, Syracuse, New York, USA Matthias Klinghardt, Institut für evangelische Theologie, Technische Universität, Dresden, Germany Lillian I. Larsen, University of Redlands, USA Susan Marks, New College of Florida, USA Carolyn Osiek, rscj, Brite Divinity School, Fort Worth, Texas, USA Jordan D. Rosenblum is Belzer, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA Dennis E. Smith, Phillips Theological Seminary, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA Angela Standhartinger, Philipps-Universitaet, Marburg, Germany Hal E. Taussig, Union Theological Seminary in New York, USA

Bibliographic information


"In the beginning was the meal - the most basic and pervasive of social formations in the ancient world. These studies take us into this intimate world to discover its customs, its culture, and its power to create community among companions. A critical contribution to the study of antiquity and the social world of early Christianity." - Stephen J. Patterson, Atkinson Professor of Religious Studies, Willamette University

"Meals in the Early Christian World is a splendid collection that engages the essential issues for understanding banqueting practices in the ancient world: the structure and social functions of the meal; materiality and the physical aspects of dining; the ideals of social 'equality' and the realities of hierarchical arrangement and servitude; and the semiotics of 'reclining'. Resisting the temptation to fragment dining practices into 'Jewish,' 'Greek' and 'Roman' meals, this volume makes a compelling case for seeing dining practices as a common and unifying feature of ancient Mediterranean culture." - John S. Kloppenborg, Professor and Chair, Department for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto

"Dennis E. Smith and Hal Taussig, long known for groundbreaking work on the study of meals in the ancient world and early Christianity, provide in this collection of essays another fine contribution that will move the study of the Greco-Roman banquets into the future. By studying the typology, the archaeology, the participants, and the culture of these banquets, Meals in the Early Christian World moves forward the scholarship of the social settings of the banquets in dialogue with the pioneering works of Smith and Klinghardt, further broadening the shift their studies have championed." - Reimund Bieringer, Professor of New Testament Exegesis, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium