Food and Identity in Early Eucharistic Meals

Food and drink were employed as a fundamental medium for reflecting and creating identity and expressing belief in early Christian communities. Such use of food and drink not only reflects existing values and meanings attributed to those elements in wider Greco-Roman meal culture as well as in biblical tradition, but also creates new understandings of those meal elements and their ritual function. The emergence of what can be called "sacramental" understandings of bread and wine among the wider array of culinary possibilities is not an immediate or obvious development, nor merely a straightforward appropriation of earlier cultic ideas and images, but involves complex recasting of cultic and sympotic conventions and traditions.