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Born Again BodiesFlesh and Spirit in American Christianity$
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R. Marie Griffith

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780520217539

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520217539.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 24 January 2022

“don't Eat That”

“don't Eat That”

Denial, Indulgence, and Exclusion in Christian Diet Culture

(p.206) 5 “don't Eat That”
Born Again Bodies

R. Marie Griffith

University of California Press

American Protestants have restricted or eschewed sex, alcohol, smoking, dancing, leisure activities, and other bodily pleasures for the sake of obedience and virtue. For them, eating has long carried dense and contradictory meanings. This chapter traces the effects of the religious ambivalence about sin and pleasure upon bodies that eat, feed others, and aim toward godly distinction within a putatively corrupt and anguished world. The mandate to personify purity appeared most expressively in modern-day Christian diet culture, where food is at once the object of desperate longing and embittered loathing. Markers of gender, race, and class also figure deeply in attitudes formed toward physical appetites, in ways that may cloak the trauma sometimes motivating dietary disciplines. The afflictive experience of an eating disorder may be triggered by silent suffering—even while generating other forms of pain and distress.

Keywords:   Christian diet culture, eating disorder, sin, eating, physical appetites

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