Dietary Timeline

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Athenagorous – A Greek Platonist that converted to Christianity This important early century Church leader is perhaps best known because of his role in assuring that marine species of fish were proper dietary items for Christians. Although fish were widely consumed by Mediterranean Christians, there arose a moral debate whether or not marine fish were suitable. Opponents presented three arguments. First, since marine species fed upon the bodies of mariners or soldiers buried at sea, would eating such fish constitute cannibalism? Second, since the "essence" of the human body already had been incorporated into fish tissue, how could the deceased be reconstituted in preparation for resurrection? Third, if the human soul of deceased sailors were incorporated into fish tissue, it would pass directly into the consumer's body, and since two souls could not occupy the same human body, it was better to avoid marine fish. Athenagorous presented positive, counter-arguments, and concluded that the Christian faithful were permitted to dine on Mediterranean fis

Grivetti, L.E. (2000) Food prejudices and Taboos. Cambridge World History of Food. Cambridge University Press.

It has been suggested by many that Christians problematic relationship with food centred on appetite being linked to the pleasures of the flesh and lustful ness and that illnesses were considered to be manifestations of evil.

Coveney, J. (2000) Food, Morals and Meaning. The pleasure and anxiety of eating.