At the heart of the Christian religion is an act of eating: the Eucharist. Otherwise known as the Lord's Supper, Holy Communion, or the Mass, this is referred to in all four Gospels and described by Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians. From these facts, it might reasonably be assumed that food has a prominent place in Christian theology and spirituality. Unfortunately, this is not true. Since Augustine, who was anxious to distance himself from the Manichean sect, of which he had formerly been a member, mainstream Christians have been wary of getting too concerned with food. After his conversion, Augustine thought that Christians could eat whatever they wanted provided it had not been sacrificed to idols, and this is largely true of his modern successors. In the West, Christian groups for whom food has been central have usually been marginal and have sometimes been viewed by the...

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