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Food and Faith: A Theology of Eating

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  253 ratings  ·  27 reviews
This book provides a comprehensive theological framework for assessing eating's significance, employing a Trinitarian theological lens to evaluate food production and consumption practices as they are being worked out in today's industrial food systems. Norman Wirzba combines the tools of ecological, agrarian, cultural, biblical, and theological analyses to draw a picture ...more
Hardcover, 244 pages
Published May 31st 2011 by Cambridge University Press (first published May 3rd 2007)
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Average rating 4.22  · 
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Eric Chappell
Sep 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013-reading
Food is sort of my thing right now. After reflecting on the life of Jesus and the reality in Luke's gospel that Christ is, quite literally, always at a meal, I began to re-think the importance of eating, food, and meals in my own life. Reading Robert Farrar Capon's "The Supper of the Lamb" was a huge, tiny mistake; I'm on the path to becoming a total foodie. Worse than that, I'm convinced it's biblical. It sounds ludicrous, I know. But Norman Wirzba's outstanding work, Food & Faith: a Theology o ...more
Philip Barbier
I started out really liking this book. The concept of eating as a spiritual practice is one that I really believe could be of benefit for many Christians.

The problem for me grew out of the author's discussions around food and economics. It first hit me in the second chapter when the author asked, "Could it be that our declining interest in gardening is rooted in our fear of failure and our impatience with loss?" (p.51) Having done some prior reading on the subject, it's been fairly well discusse
Jun 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
very theory heavy, which i guess is what i got myself into by picking this up. but a great read nonetheless and i didn't feel bad for skimming some portions that repeated convictions Pollan has already covered.
Sep 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Such a great book with some amazing insights. Made me really dig further into what and how I eat. No it's not a book about becoming a vegetarian or vegan, it's a book about making sure your eating habits align with where our hearts should be: stewards of Gods creation. Lots of great references (maybe at times too much) and overall a book I recommend the church in general should read.

Ages 16+
Great as a small group book!
Anyone passionate about food
Don Verte
Aug 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A book I will recommend for a long time. Life-giving and life-affirming. It invites you into a real newness of life, making room for all that the earth and community has to offer
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle
This review was first published in the University of Edinburgh Journal Volume 48 Number 1 (June 2017)

Even if you do not believe in Christianity, according to Wirzba, you still participate as a member of God’s creation through consuming his provision: food. Food and Faith explores the concept of food and addresses the challenges we humans face as a participating member of the created world in our post-modern context. The individualistic, consumer-driven society causes its human inhabitants to gen
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
...Been looking for a book like this for a long time! Fundamentally important.

Wirzba lays out a meaningful, complex and most sensible case for the importance of eating, Theologically. He realises that food and eating's proper significance comes in the Eucharist and in the Triune God, suggesting in real ways how we might properly order our lives, with creation, one another and God, in ways that we may become proper Priests of creation.

This would require respecting farmers, gardeners, various cra
Adam Tomlinson
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: church, theology
This is my book of the year. Yes, it is July. I will not read a book as challenging, edifying, and engaging, to say nothing of a book having all 3 qualifying features, as this one.

Wirzba begins by challenging readers to being to think differently--primarily, theologically--about food. He then works through illuminating readers to the current status of the Food Industry, and forcing us to think very hard about how comfortable we are with the current trends and it's implications on the biotic com
Hannah Scanlon
Jun 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: food
In Food and Faith, Norman Wirzba carefully compacts issues involving the industrial food system, factory farming, large-scale agribusiness, and the fast-food phenomenon into touch points for making comprehensive the problems concerning our complex global food web. Employing a distinctly theological vision, Wirzba brilliantly crafts an explanation of how the Trinitarian life of care and relationality, hospitality and gift as well as the Eucharistic act of self-offering, communion and celebration ...more
Erin Turko
Apr 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Incredible book. Used this as one of my sources in a senior research class where I presented on food and faith. It discusses practices such as feasting, fasting, hospitality, eating healthy, etc. and how they can all deepen our faith. Very thoughtful work.
Becky Pliego
This is an interesting book (and so beautifully written!) that proposes a different perspective -for the most part- of food and faith than the one I hold. I learned, however, some good things and was once more challenged to see the meals we share -each one of them- as gifts from the hand of a Trinitarian God.

The weakest point in the author's argument in favor of a more "ecological life" is that it seems that he sees men only as part of the creation order, as "members" of it, as part of the ecos
Eric Parsons
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had to read this book to compare to another in a grad school class. I thought the title was strange and probably would not have read it if I did not have to. I'm glad that I did--this is a unique way of looking at how we consume food and how destructive our practices have become. This is not another one of the moralistic crusades on veganism or anti-industrialism (at least, not in a direct way, I suppose), but rather a book that should make one think about how we consume what we do. The eating ...more
Mar 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
The book is somewhat heavy with its academic theological presentation. Wirzba lives the Trinity, as do I, but it will be difficult sledding for the uninitiated. That said, the book presents the reader with a fascinating connection between food and faith, connecting spirituality with daily life in a profound and moving way. The topic connects with environment, economic justice, family life, and human health in provocative ways. I gained much from reading it and will have its challenging lessons i ...more
Adam Marquez
Nov 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a great read. In our culture of think-free consumption, this book reminds us to contemplatively think about what we eat. Wirzba skillfully creates a connectedness for the reader which is necessary in a world where our most comfortable disposition is found in a fractured disconnectedness. Wirzba reminds his readers that food should hold a place of healthy sacredity in our hearts.
Please read this book
Jan 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hope-csa
Powerful book. Will make you think about faith can creation every time you sit at the table.

A good book for a group study, not light reading!

Excellent points made about how eating together is a theological action that allows us to see the liveliness of life and the loveliness of love.

Good stuff.
Lauren  Tomlinson
Aug 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
I wish there was another copy of this book, a version of this book for "regular" people, a dumbed-down version. I think I got the main ideas but there was a lot of detailed theology that went over my head and made my eyes glaze over.
Jun 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book was my favorite from my recent experience taking an amazing class called "food, faith and justice." This is an accessible look into some awesome theology around food and how we produce food.
Justin Edgar
Jun 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wirzba's book has helped me think deeply about something very common and very important to the heart of God and the life of Christian. I think regularly now about all that sacrifice to bring me my food everyday. Worth reading slowly and thoughtfully.
Nov 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an exceptionally good book ... rich thought, challenging insight, frequently gorgeous sentences. You need this book.
We read a few chapters from this for Montserrat. It was really interesting.
Pat Loughery
Six stars. One of the best theology texts I've read. If you eat (and I recommend that you do so), you'll gain something by reading this.
Jun 16, 2012 is currently reading it
A good friend gave me a copy of this book and, as usual, his taste in books was spot on. About half way through and so far it's a proving to be an interesting subject and is well written.
Bradley Steele
Aug 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. Highlights the universality of creaturely interdependence, the myth of autonomy, and issues a profound challenge to live "Eucharistically." Highly recommend.
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book helped to deepen my thoughts on eco-theology and affirmed my decision to pursue a plant-based diet.
Jul 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
A tough read, but worth the effort. Plenty to think about.
Phil Aud
Jan 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2012
Stunning book. One of my favourites this year for sure.
Rachel Dowley
Sep 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
I thought this book would just be about eating. But instead it invited me into a deeper understanding of the Trinity, of the Eucharist, of sustainability, and of the state of our bodies in heaven. Though covering a lot of different topics, the book is not too technical in its arguments. It also provides many resources to dive into topics with further depth. Food and Faith offered a skeletal structure much like Liturgy of the Ordinary, showing the profound truths about God that come from preparin ...more
diane owens
rated it really liked it
Jun 04, 2018
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Leslie Fields
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Norman Wirzba is Professor of Theology and Ecology at Duke University Divinity School and a pioneer of scholarly work on religion, philosophy, ecology, and agrarianism. He is also the author of Food and Faith, Living the Sabbath, The Paradise of God, and From Nature to Creation. He lives near Hillsborough, North Carolina.

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As dedicated readers already know, some of the best and most innovative stories on the shelves come from the constantly evolving realm of...
45 likes · 10 comments
“Food is a gift of God given to all creatures for the purposes of life’s nurture, sharing, and celebration. When it is done in the name of God, eating is the earthly realization of God’s eternal communion-building love.” 4 likes
“Thanksgiving is the power that transforms desire and satisfaction, love and possession, into life, that fulfills everything in the world, given to us by God, into knowledge of God and communion with him.2” 1 likes
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