Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: 'A glutton and a drunkard' : excessive and 'deviant' consumption of food and alcohol in the Hebrew Bible in relation to the Law of the Rebellious Son (Deuteronomy 21:18-21)
Author: Welton, Rebekah
ISNI:       0000 0004 7427 3087
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2018
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
The Law of the Rebellious Son (Deut 21:18-21) has traditionally been understood as condemning the excessive consumption of food and alcohol. This thesis, however, interrogates this interpretation by contextualising the roles of food and alcohol in Israelite and Judahite cultures. By drawing attention to the social agency of food and alcohol, it becomes apparent that such consumable items had social, ritual, and nutritive functions which were inextricably linked to the socio-religious cultures of Israel and Judah. This thesis uses a multi-disciplinary approach to examine how food and alcohol were produced and consumed within the Israelite and Judahite household. Archaeological and anthropological approaches in particular draw attention to the roles that ‘things’, animals, men, women, and deities carried out. Foodstuffs are demonstrated to be inherently ritual items in nature which impact the lives of others through the formation, maintenance, and destruction of socio-religious relationships and identities. Specific attention is paid to the roles of beer and wine in elite and non-elite contexts of Israel and Judah, and the privileging of wine over beer in biblical texts and modern scholarship is also addressed. Biblical texts which present scenes of excessive consumption of food and alcohol are examined in order to determine if such behaviours are treated similarly to the crime of the Rebellious Son. While some contexts of excessive consumption are problematic in certain biblical texts, they are not criticised in a comparable way to the Rebellious Son’s crime. Subsequently, scenes of ‘deviant’ consumption are also compared to the crime of the Rebellious Son, which prove to better elucidate the anxieties at play in Deut 21:18-21. This thesis argues that the Rebellious Son is not guilty of the excessive consumption of food and alcohol. Instead, it is the ‘deviant’ context of consumption that evokes condemnation, and execution, in this law. As a result, the importance of contextualising ancient texts in their socio-religious milieus is emphasised in order that modern biases are not anachronistically imposed onto ancient texts.
Supervisor: Stavrakopoulou, Francesca ; Matthews, Roger Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available