The Food and Feasts of Jesus: The Original Mediterranean Diet, with Menus and Recipes

I remember a correspondence with someone who forcefully argued that Jesus had inspired successful professionals to leave their lucrative business to join him in a religious mission. When I responded that in no ancient society would fisherman be considered other than the working class, my correspondent mocked that idea since the bible clearly stated that four disciples (Andrew, Peter and the Zebedee brothers) were owners of fishing boats! He could not imagine that detail outside of the free-market paradigm we are so familiar with in the 21st Century. 

How useful it would have been to have a clear and thoroughly readable resource like "The Food and Feasts of Jesus" to explain the cultural differences we must consider when reading the New Testament. As the authors explained in their chapter on fish and seafood, "first-century fisherman had to contract for a license from a licensing broker in order to fish commercially on the Sea of Galilee" (p. 212). The laborers in such a highly regulated, taxed and hierarchical economy were never going to accrue much wealth... fishermen were usually indebted to the brokers for those expensive licenses. 

We are tempted to read the bible anachronistically without resources that familiarize us with the lifestyles of the Jews, Greeks and Romans living in Palestine and other parts of the known world. I found much of the information here fascinating and beneficial for an informed reading of the New Testament.

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