From Eve's apple to female saints nourished by the Eucharist alone, to the recent phenomenon of evangelical `Slim For Him' programmes that encourage women to lose physically and gain spiritually, the ways in which women relate to food, particularly in a religious context, are many and fascinating.
In this engaging and accessible book, the author explores their complex connections and paradoxical messages, in which women are at once nurturers and temptresses, visionaries and hysterics, controllers of the meal table and excessive consumers. Lisa Isherwood traces the links between beauty, slenderness and the Judeo-Christian God to ask why is there no fat Jesus and considers new ways of imagining desire, wholeness and self esteem in light of a Christian tradition that values asceticism and restraint.
Drawing on case study material she also looks at the issue of eating disorders and their spiritual dimension, and the twin problems of obesity and over-consumption.
Clearly accessible for general readers, as well as those with a particular interest in theology, sociology of religion and gender studies, this book provides a fascinating cultural history of the complex ways in which food, women and religion interrelate.