The Singular Beast: Jews, Christians, and the Pig

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Columbia University Press, 1999 - Pets - 401 pages
Throughout history, the slaughter and consumption of the pig has been the inspiration for role-playing and taboos, and at the centre of practices that defined the boundaries between Christians and Jews. An exploration of the pig in Judeo-Christian culture and European anti-semitism, this work chronicles the cultural and religious character of a creature that occupies an ambiguous place in the families of those who raise them - at once nearly a member of the family and a potential meal. The author details the folkloric beliefs still found among both provincial and urban Europeans and the rituals that have been associated with the slaughter and consumption of pigs from the Middle Ages until today. The book also demonstrates the continuing power of symbols to sustain or create ethnic identities.
 

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The singular beast: Jews, Christians & the pig

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Fabre-Vassas, a research fellow in Paris, has written an examination of Christian attitudes toward Jews particularly during the Middle Ages. A reader may ask: Why focus on the pig? In the author's ... Read full review

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Page 28
... as that of the carnival bear—in which the animal dies and is reborn at the
end of simulated combat and following regenerative gestures and words. ...

Contents

Introduction
1
AN ANALOGICAL BEING
11
The Red Men
13
Childrens Stories
43
The Circle of Metamorphoses
89
FROM ONE BLOOD TO THE NEXT
95
The Jews Sow
97
Red Easter
129
The Little Jew
193
CHRISTIAN FLESH
231
The Return of the Pig
233
Blood and Soul
259
The Bone That Sings
293
The Time of Sacrifice
323
Notes
327
Index
375

Old Jews Young Christians
161

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About the author (1999)

Claudine Fabre-Vassas is a research fellow at the Centre Nationale Recherche Scientifique and teaches at the École de Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris.

Carol Volk is a translator and Foreign Service Officer based in Washington, D.C.

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