Rhetorics of Food, International Conference location:Leuven, Belgium date:26-28 May 2014
In the New Testament and among the Gospels, Luke’s account is regarded as the most replete with food themes and meal scenes. (1) Using redaction-critical and narrative-critical methods, I will argue in this paper that in comparing the first sermons of Jesus in Luke (Sermon on the Plain or SP) and in Matthew (Sermon on the Mount or SM), it is the SM that pays more attention to the theme of food. (2) Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount deals with the food themes by teaching in at least three ways: how to pray for food, how to fast, and avoiding anxiety about food. (3) Informed by socio-historical data, I will explore how these sayings hint at the economic and ecological situations in 1st century CE Palestine under the Roman Empire. (4) Continuing with narrative criticism, I will examine how the rhetoric in these sayings invite people to character formation and decision making (Talbert, 2004) that help them in their common identity formation as Jesus-followers. (5) Finally, I posit that the Sermon on the Mount sayings on food can contribute to the discernment of relevant response that impact on the issue of food and hunger within the present ecological-economic context (Leske, 2002; Bauckham, 2009; Tsalampouni, 2011).