Food Matters: Prolegomena to a Eucharistic Discourse

Montoya, Angel F. Mendez, Department of Religious Studies, University of Virginia
Bouchard, Larry, Department of Religious Studies, University of Virginia

Introduction Food-talk: overlapping matters I Ch apter One The Making of Mexican Molli and Alimentary Theology in the Making 1 Ch apter Two Sabor/Saber: Taste and the Eros of Cognition 49 Ch apter Th ree Being Nourished: Food Matters 96 Ch apter Fou r Sharing in the Body of Christ and the Theopolitics of Superabundance 149 Conclusion Food-notes: Prolegomena to a Eucharistic Discourse 214 i ABSTRACT Food Matters: Prolegomena to a Eucharistic Discourse Angel F. Méndez Montoya, OP In general terms, food matters. It displays a complex inter-relation between self and other; object and subject; appetite and alimentation; aesthetics, ethics, and politics; nature and culture; and creation and divinity. In particular, this reading of food can cast light on what it means to practice theology, and why it so relevant for theology to be attentive to matters regarding food, and also the lack thereof. For, from a Catholic perspective, this thesis envisions God both as superabundance and intraTrinitarian self-sharing of a nurturing Love, Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. God's gift is further shared with Creation and humanity. Creation is a cosmic banquet and interdependent network of edible signs that participates in God's nurturing sharing. The incarnation is a continuation of God's kenotic sharing, that, at the Eucharistic banquet performs a more radical form of self-giving by becoming food itself with the purpose of incorporating humanity into Christ's body, which already participates of the life of the Trinitarian community. Because food matters, theology's vocation is thus to become "alimentary," re-orienting the inter-dependency between human communities, humanity with the ecology, and all creation with God. By looking at some cultural and material practices and food narratives, this work creates a dialogue that constructs a multi-faceted Eucharistic discourse, arguing that food is not "just food." This will become more apparent when reflecting on the overlapping of both talking about how food can provide a greater awareness of partaking of the Eucharistic banquet, and also about how a discourse on a Eucharistic, 'alimentary theology' can provide discipline and guidance for our daily food practices, which, in turn challenge us to better nurture one another. At the end, however, since this dissertation envisions God as the ultimate source that nurtures all ii theological practice, and this same God exists as surplus of meaning, this work situates itself within a milieu of mystery. For this reason the following is only a prolegomena to a Eucharistic discourse: perpetually open to yet more elaboration, and responsive to the touching, tasting, and nourishment of God's superabundant selfgiving.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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