Table Fellowship

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    Bailey, Kenneth E.

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    "Rejoice with Me: Luke 15:1-10", an excerpt from The Cross & the Prodigal: Luke 15 Through the Eyes of Middle Eastern Peasants

    "To eat with another person in the Mideast is a sacramental act signifying acceptance on a very deep level. Many times over the decades I have stayed to partake of a meal in a village because of this reality. I neither want nor need the food offered and could ill afford the time. By eating with a person, however, I was accepting that person on a basic and very fundamental level. If the guest is a religious teacher or leader, the villagers believe the guest imparts a semiphysical 'blessing' by mere presence. All of this interchange was taking place between Jesus and classes of people carefully ostracized by the 'righteous.'"
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    Hamel, Dan

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    This Man Welcomes Sinners and Eats with Them: An Examination of Jesus’ Table Praxis

    "When Jesus sat at a table, he did more than just consume food. In fact, when Jesus ate, he transformed a cultural ceremony of biological necessity into a theological proclamation. New Testament scholars agree that Jesus’ table fellowship is one of the most historically reliable actions recorded in the Gospels. While many of his other actions have been questioned, this practice is thought to have formed a core of his message and revealed his vision for the kingdom of God. Other renewal movements in Jesus’ day offered various perspectives on what it took to become part of God’s people and how one manifested loyalty to God; but, through his table fellowship, Jesus made a national-political act that stood in direct opposition to their’s."
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    Neyrey, Jerome

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    Reader's Guide to Meals, Food and Table Fellowship in the New Testament

    "How can readers understand the particular ceremony of meals and table fellowship? Why are meals so important as symbols of broader social relationships? How can we peer below the surface and grasp the social dynamics encoded in meals and commensality, what anthropologists call 'the language of meals'? This readers guide will present a survey of writings on the various ways in which meals, diet, etiquette and commensality may be profitably understood. Although strictly historical studies of Jewish and Greco-Roman meals are vital to our understanding, cultural and social analysis of the function and dynamics of meals will be our focus."
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    Yao, Santos

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    The Table Fellowship of Jesus with the Marginalized: A Radical Inclusiveness

    "Table fellowship in the first century Jewish society is primarily a movement towards exclusiveness and otherness. In contrast, the table fellowship of Jesus is a breakaway from its traditional mold of prejudice and discrimination. The Gospels often depict Jesus in a meal setting. He is shown to be freely dining with and offering table fellowship to all classes of people. His table fellowship with the marginalized, in particular, has caused great consternation among the Jewish hierarchy. They irately labeled him as 'a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners' (Matt 11:19)."