Fish for Thought in the Early Church

The study of fish consumption in antiquity is complex, as there is ongoing debate as to a) the degree to which ancients actually ate fish; and b) understanding the extensive “fishy” ideologies (Beer, 2010) that existed, which in turn, could involve the avoidance of fish altogether, eating certain kinds, sizes or portions of fish, or raising the creatures on private fish farms. Although “fishermen” were low on the social scale, eating fish was considered a luxury, and sometimes associated with effeminacy. This paper offers a survey of these issues; then addresses specific biblical and early Christian texts that refer to fish and fish consumption in light of such questions.