Staging a New Testament meal

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Staging a New Testament meal

Postby Jonathan Robie » May 6th, 2011, 1:12 pm

Our church's Vacation Bible School wants to help kids get a feeling for authentic New Testament customs, and I've been asked to figure out how to stage a New Testament meal.

I expect we'll put a few actors around a triclinium, since it might feel a bit awkward for all the kids to lie close to each other. Then we'd like to have some authentic food.

Any thoughts on what that food should be, and how it should be prepared?
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Re: Staging a New Testament meal

Postby Barry Hofstetter » May 16th, 2011, 8:06 pm

Jonathan, it might be too late, but I posted this to the Classics list to see if anyone could point us to some resources to research it.
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Re: Staging a New Testament meal

Postby Barry Hofstetter » May 16th, 2011, 8:56 pm

Here are some specific responses from the Classics list:

You might want to look for A. Dalby & S. Grainger, The Classical Cookbook, Getty, 1996. it has a number of recipes adapted for the modern kitchen from ancient sources.


Umm Is there really such a **thing** as a NT meal? The location of
the meals mentioned in the NT are all over the place, aren't they? In
Galilee, in Jerusalem, in other villages and cities in Palestine, not
to mention in Corinth, Rome and elsewhere, and among a variety of
different social groups from Peasants to the elite and among Jews and
Gentiles. So which one would be a NT meal? Is any one typical?

In any case, for resources, try the 3 articles listed under the
heading of "Meals" in the Anchor Bible Dictionary. I'd check Hastings
and the New Interpreter's Bible Dictionary as well.


You'd get quite close to it by ordering mixed mezze from a Lebanese
restaurant. Things haven't changed much. If you are going for
reasonable authenticity, avoid anything with tomatoes, potatoes, or
aubergines (bye bye babaghanoush). Beans in such a selection are
likely to be broad beans, which were known at the time, though the
_Phaseolus_ beans (kidney and string types) are from the New World.

[with reference to the triclinium]

Might it? But I seriously doubt whether anyone in the New Testament
below the status of Pontius Pilate dined in this style. I'd think that
wooden benches and tables would be perfectly acceptable.


The last is pretty much what I would have thought as well.
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Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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Re: Staging a New Testament meal

Postby Barry Hofstetter » May 16th, 2011, 9:26 pm

Here is another:

Patrick Faas, Around the Roman Table, 1994, with 150 recipes.

edd. Jean-Louis Flandrin, Massimo Montanari, Food, A Culinary History,
(Laterza, 1996; Fayard 1996; Columbia 1999; Penguin 2000) particularly the
first Part and Second, "The Classical World" pp 69- 164); with extensive
bibliography.


I thought this observation quite pertinent:

In Jerusalem or I'd bet Alexandria, i.e. in pretty much all of the gospels, wouldn't a "New
Testament" meal be the same as a "Hebrew Bible" meal? I keep remembering
the wonderful Rev. Jerry Sloyan, former chair of the religion dept at
Catholic U, telling a surprised audience that the whole NT is a midrash on
the Hebrew Bible. Jesus' traditional garb in Matthew seems to make him
pretty observant.

The ecumenical point seems clear enough: it would be a pity to have "New
Testament" meals that ignored the Jewish roots. As to what Paul at in his
various journeys, I'd bet it would be local grub.


Not sure about the NT as a whole being a Midrash, but that fact of the NT meal in Palestine being a Hebrew meal is almost certainly true.

Ok, I'm done... 8-)
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
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Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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Re: Staging a New Testament meal

Postby RandallButh » June 8th, 2011, 1:56 pm

In Mishna Kilayim 1:1-2 you will find a list of beans and other veggies. ... Egyptian bean, garden pea, chickpea-a [lathyrus sativus], chickpea-b [lathyrus cicera], white bean, φάσηλος kidneybean ...

And remember that at Passover everyone sat 'reclined' and had four cups of wine. It was a celebration of freedom and God's blessing, so the style of the meal was a rich banquet. But it wasn't a symposion.
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Re: Staging a New Testament meal

Postby Jonathan Robie » June 8th, 2011, 2:42 pm

This is all very helpful information! Thanks to you both.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
Jonathan Robie
 
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Re: Staging a New Testament meal

Postby Barry Hofstetter » June 8th, 2011, 10:18 pm

RandallButh wrote:And remember that at Passover everyone sat 'reclined' and had four cups of wine. It was a celebration of freedom and God's blessing, so the style of the meal was a rich banquet. But it wasn't a symposion.


Right -- after posting that comment about benches and so forth, just today I was reading in Mark 14, and found the comment ἀνακειμένων αὐτῶν καὶ ἐσθιόντων...

So reclining at meal, at least at the Passover, was part of the culture.
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Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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