Freidenreich to discuss religious food practices in Coe presentation

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
(319) 399-8605 or

2013-03-06 13:36:59 - General

Professor David Freidenreich will discuss "Food and Identity in Judaism, Christianity and Islam" at Coe College on Sunday, March 17, beginning at 6:30 p.m. in Kesler Lecture Hall of Hickok Hall. It is free and open to the public.

During his presentation, Freidenreich will discuss the evolving role of food practices in shaping identity and interfaith relations based on his book "Foreigners and their Food: Constructing Otherness in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Law." In the book, Freidenreich explores how Jews, Christians and Muslims conceptualize "us" and "them" through rules about the preparation of food by adherents of other religions and the act of eating with such outsiders. The author analyzes the significance of food to religious formation, elucidating the ways ancient and medieval scholars use food restrictions to think about the "other."

Freidenreich illuminates the subtly different ways Jews, Christians and Muslims perceive themselves, and he demonstrates how these distinctive self-conceptions shape ideas about religious foreigners and communal boundaries. His work, the first to analyze change over time across the legal literatures of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, makes path-breaking contributions to the history of interreligious intolerance and to the comparative study of religion.

"Foreigners and their Food" was the winner of the 2012 Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion (in the Textual Studies category) from the American Academy of Religion.

Freidenreich serves as the Pulver Family Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies at Colby College in Waterville, Maine, where he teaches a wide range of courses on Judaism, Jewish history and comparative religion. After receiving a bachelor's degree from Brandeis University, he earned his Ph.D. in religion at Columbia University and rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary. His research and writings explore attitudes toward adherents of foreign religions, primarily as these attitudes are expressed in ancient and medieval religious law and secondarily as manifest in the history of Maine's Jewish communities.

For more information, call 399-8581 or visit