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Feasting and FastingThe History and Ethics of Jewish Food$
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Aaron Gross, Jody Myers, and Jordan D. Rosenblum

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781479899333

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479899333.001.0001

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Food in the Medieval Era

Food in the Medieval Era

Chapter:
(p.83) 3. Food in the Medieval Era
Source:
Feasting and Fasting
Author(s):

Jonathan Brumberg-Kraus

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9781479899333.003.0005

During the medieval period, influenced by the cultures of the Muslim and Christian empires where they lived, rabbinic authorities interpreted and adapted earlier biblical and Talmudic food traditions for the Jews living under their authority. Religious law was codified and theological principles were concretized into liturgy. Differences between Sephardic and Ashkenazic foodways became more pronounced. Innovations in food practices and concepts, such as illuminated Haggadot, stringencies regarding Gentile wine and separating milk and meat, and mystical food theology helped preserve Jewish distinctiveness under the pressures upon Jews to accept the religious views and practices of their non-Jewish neighbors and business associates. Jewish foodways enhanced the status of Jews as a whole in relation to the majority cultures, and in the process the rabbis found an outlet for their own pious expression and their sense of self-importance relative to ordinary Jews.

Keywords:   Muslim, Christian, rabbinic, biblical, Talmudic, Sephardic, Ashkenazic, Haggadot, mystical, theology

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