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Title: Flesh and faith : meat-eating and religious identities in Valencia, 1400-1600
Author: Williams, Jillian
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2013
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Food was a significant element in the maintenance of religious identity in late medieval and early modern Valencia. This is clear fl:om an examination of Jewish, Christian and Muslim scripture and legislation which presented the ideal relationship between religious groups and their own food. Such ideas also offered a method of maintaining one's own religious identity while providing separation fl·om members of different groups. Yet the reality was somewhat different. Through an examination of fifteenth-century legislation and civil lawsuits we can understand how religious identity was influenced and changed by the realities of living in a multi-faith community. Religious identities were enacted in the meat markets, where animals were turned into religiously significant food. The liminal spaces of animals' lives served to highlight the discrepancy between idealised forms of slaughter and the necessities of meat provision. This community was transformed by the establishment of the Inquisition and the expulsion of the Jews from Valencia at the end of the century. Throughout this period, food remained an important marker of identity among those converted fl:om Judaism to Christianity, the conversos. Women, in particular, were vital in the maintenance of Jewish food identity despite the threat posed by Inquisitorial activity. By the middle of the sixteenth century, Inquisitors had turned their attention to converts from Islam, the moriscos. Ritual slaughter and fasting practices among the converts were of concern to the Inquisition and significant efforts were made to re-educate them in the Christian faith through catechisms and Inquisitorial prosecutions. Undoubtedly, food was a vital element in religious identity. Strict guidelines and legislation, while offering a view of the idealised world, stand in contrast to the changeable and negotiable forms of religious food identity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available