‘He is a Glutton and a Drunkard’: Deviant Consumption in the Hebrew Bible


In ‘He is a Glutton and a Drunkard’: Deviant Consumption in the Hebrew Bible Rebekah Welton uses interdisciplinary approaches to explore the social and ritual roles of food and alcohol in Late Bronze Age to Persian-period Syro-Palestine (1550 BCE–400 BCE). This contextual backdrop throws into relief episodes of consumption deemed to be excessive or deviant by biblical writers. Welton emphasises the social networks of the household in which food was entangled, arguing that household animals and ritual foodstuffs were social agents, challenging traditional understandings of sacrifice. For the first time, the accusation of being a ‘glutton and a drunkard’ (Deut 21:18-21) is convincingly re-interpreted in its alimentary and socio-ritual contexts.

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Rebekah Welton, Ph. D. (2018), University of Exeter, is Lecturer in Jewish Studies at that university. She has publications on the roles of animals, food and alcohol in Israelite cultures as well as on retellings of biblical texts in popular visual media, such as video games.

1 Introduction
 1 Eating and Drinking
 2 Food and Drink in Hebrew Bible Scholarship
 3 The Ritual Nature of Foodstuffs
 4 Food and Alcohol as Social Agents
 5 Book Outline

2 The Socio-Religious Roles of Animals and Food in Ancient Israel and Judah
 1 Overview
 2 Animal Husbandry and So-Called ‘Secondary Products’
 3 Urban and Rural Meat Consumption
 4 Sheep, Goats and Cattle: Dairy, Wool, Ploughing and Dung
 5 Animal Sacrifice in an Entangled, Agro-Pastoral Perspective
 6 Crops: Grains, Pulses, Vegetables and Fruit
 7 Vegetal Sacrifice
 8 Other Food Items: Birds, Fish, Honey, and Pigs
 9 Summary

3 The Socio-Religious Roles of Beer and Wine in Ancient Israel and Judah
 1 Overview
 2 The Psychoactive Effects of Alcohol
 3 Brewing Beer in Ancient Israel and Judah
 4 The Socio-Ritual Roles of Beer
 5 Viticulture in Ancient Israel and Judah
 6 The Socio-Ritual Roles of Wine
 7 How Wine Has Overshadowed Beer in Bible and Scholarship
 8 Summary

4 Excessive Food Consumption in the Hebrew Bible
 1 Overview
 2 Excessive Consumption and Forgetting Yahweh
 3 Excessive Consumption in Elite Contexts
 4 Excessive Consumption as Blessing
 5 Summary

5 Excessive Alcohol Consumption in the Hebrew Bible
 1 Overview
 2 Drunkenness in Elite Contexts
 3 Drunkenness and the Erotic
 4 Drunkenness as Blessing from Yahweh
 5 The Cup of Wrath Motif
 6 Summary

6 ‘Deviant’ Consumption in the Hebrew Bible
 1 Overview
 2 ‘A Glutton and a Drunkard’ in Deut 21:18–21
 3 Episodes of Consumption with Similarities to Deut 21:18–21
 4 ‘Deviant’ Consumption in the Worship of Other Gods
 5 ‘Deviant’ Consumption Associated with Mortuary Rites
 6 ‘Deviant’ Consumption in Yahweh’s Cult
 7 Episodes of Consumption That Utilise זולל and סבא
 8 סבא in Hos 4:16–19, Isa 1:21–23a, Isa 56:12 and Ezek 23:42
 9 זולל in Jeremiah 15:19 and Lamentations 1:11
 10 זולל and סבא in Proverbs
 11 Returning to Deuteronomy
 12 Summary

7 Conclusions


Author Index
Subject Index
Index of Biblical References
All interested in Israelite religions and household religions specifically, especially with an emphasis on the integration of material culture and anthropological approaches in the interpretation of biblical texts.
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