Festive Meals in Ancient Israel
Deuteronomy's Identity Politics in Their Ancient Near Eastern Context
The festive meal texts of Deuteronomy 12–26 depict Israel as a unified people participating in cultic banquets – a powerful and earthy image for both preexilic Judahite and later audiences. Comparison of Deuteronomy 12:13–27, 14:22–29, 16:1–17, and 26:1–15 with pentateuchal texts like Exodus 20–23 is broadened to highlight the rhetorical potential of the Deuteronomic meal texts in relation to the religious and political circumstances in Israel during the Neo-Assyrian and later periods. The texts employ the concrete and rich image of festive banquets, which the monograph investigates in relation to comparative ancient Near Eastern texts and iconography, the zooarchaeological remains of the ancient Levant, and the findings of cultural anthropology with regard to meals.
Peter Altmann, University of Zurich, Switzerland.