Separating the Dough from the Leaven: The Role of Food Provision and Deprivation in Establishing the Israelite Nation Open Access

Szaroletta, Jordan Lee (2012)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/hd76s0987?locale=en
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Abstract

Abstract
Separating the Dough from the Leaven: The Role of Food Provision and Deprivation in
Establishing the Israelite Nation
Food and its consumption play a distinct role in ancient Near Eastern literature. One of
the most under-examined series of narratives that have a relationship with food and eating is in
the book of Exodus. It is clear that food consumption plays a large role in the Jewish faith today,
specifically in the food laws contained in Torah. Before these food laws, there are instances that
involve food consumption. There is a particular focus on food in the Exodus narrative. In the
narratives of the plagues, the food availability of the Egyptians is affected. The Passover meal, as
a ritual, brings the Israelites closer to the divine through food. The journey in the wilderness uses
nourishment as a demonstration of God's power to provide as well as a means for establishing
the Israelite nation. One of the most interesting aspects of Exodus is how food, and its
availability, is a literary device used to elevate the Israelites and lay the groundwork for the
founding of their own nation.
In Exodus, there is a narrative progression that demonstrates God's ability to provide as
well as to deprive. In the beginning, God withholds food. As the narrative continues, he provides
it. Specifically, the reader first encounters God depriving Egyptians of food. Over the course of
the narrative, God demonstrates his ability to provide for the Hebrews. God makes it clear in
both the Passover and in the journey in the wilderness exactly what the Hebrews will eat. The
story, then, revolves around two central questions: Who gets to eat and what do they eat?

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction ......................................................................................................................................1
Section One: The Plagues ................................................................................................................9
Section Two: The Passover Meal ..................................................................................................30
Section Three: The Wilderness ......................................................................................................52
Conclusion .....................................................................................................................................66
Bibliography ..................................................................................................................................68



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