Lecture Center for Global Humanities Lecture/Seminar Series
Refusing to share a meal or accept food prepared by others does more than just express the notion that “We” want nothing to do with “Them.” This kind of anti-social behavior also reinforces ideas about who They are and, perhaps more importantly, who We are. This talk will explore ideas about what it means to be Jewish, Christian, or Muslim embedded in the traditional food restrictions of these religious communities. It will also consider the ways in which premodern ideas about Us and Them continue to shape interfaith relations today.
David M. Freidenreich is the Pulver Family Associate Professor of Jewish Studies at Colby College, where he serves as director of the Jewish studies program and associate director of the Center for Small Town Jewish Life. After receiving a B.A. from Brandeis University, he earned his Ph.D. at Columbia University and rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary. His award-winning first book, Foreigners and Their Food: Constructing Otherness in Jewish, Christian and Islamic Law, explores attitudes toward adherents of foreign religions expressed in ancient and medieval laws about sharing food. He is currently studying the ways Christians have used ideas about Jews to think about Muslims.
David Freidenreich, Foreigners and Their Food: Constructing Otherness in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Law (University of California Press, 2011)