Raised on Christian Milk

Food and the Formation of the Soul of Early Christianity

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John David Penniman
  • New Haven, CT: 
    Yale University Press
    , June
     352 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Marie-Ange Rakotoniaina forthcoming.


A fascinating new study of the symbolic power of food and its role in forming kinship bonds and religious identity in early Christianity.

Scholar of religion John Penniman considers the symbolic importance of food in the early Roman world in an engaging and original new study that demonstrates how “eating well” was a pervasive idea that served diverse theories of growth, education, and religious identity. Penniman places early Christian discussion of food in its moral, medical, legal, and social contexts, revealing how nourishment, especially breast milk, was invested with the power to transfer characteristics, improve intellect, and strengthen kinship bonds.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

John David Penniman is assistant professor of religious studies at Bucknell University. He has published articles in Church History, Marginalia Review of Books, and the Journal of Early Christian Studies. He lives in Lewisburg, PA.


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