We Think What We Eat: Structuralist Analysis of Israelite Food Rules and Other Mythological and Cultural Domains

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Bloomsbury, Dec 30, 2004 - Religion - 256 pages
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In We Think What We Eat, Seth Kunin presents both an appreciation and critique of Professor Mary Douglas' classical work on Israelite food rules. He places her arguments into the context of related anthropological approaches and suggests a new interpretation of the food rules system based on a rigorous application of structuralist theory.

Kunin then goes on to extend this analysis to other areas of Israelite culture. Through detailed analysis of texts from Genesis, Exodus and Judges, he demonstrates that the same structural pattern found in the first section in respect of ritual is also characteristic of the mythological material. This section of the book also takes up the issue of structural transformation. It examines the processes found as the myths move from the Israelite context to that of the rabbis, the authors of the New Testament and of the Book of Mormon. The arguments presented demonstrate that as the myths move from culture to culture diachronically and geographically while the same mythological elements are retained they are restructured and organized based on the structural needs of the new cultural context.

Kunin is also interested in issues of structuralist theory. Thus, he addresses issues related to the processes of structural transformation - suggesting processes that lead to changes in structural emphasis and those relating to more significant transformations.

This is volume 412 in the Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement series. >

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About the author (2004)

Professor Seth D. Kunin is the Director of Research in the College of Arts and Social Sciences of the University of Aberdeen. He received his PhD in Anthropology from the University of Cambridge.

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