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The Singular Beast: Jews, Christians, and the Pig Claudine Fabre-Vassas

The Singular Beast: Jews, Christians, and the Pig

Claudine Fabre-Vassas

Published
ISBN : 9780231103664
Hardcover
448 pages
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 About the Book 

Throughout history, the breeding, slaughter, and consumption of the pig has been the inspiration for both religious and secular rituals and taboos. In The Singular Beast, a daring and original account of the role of the pig and its relationship toMoreThroughout history, the breeding, slaughter, and consumption of the pig has been the inspiration for both religious and secular rituals and taboos. In The Singular Beast, a daring and original account of the role of the pig and its relationship to Jews in European Christian culture, Claudine Fabre-Vassas argues that these practices defined the very boundaries between Christians and Jews. Chronicling the cultural and religious significance of a creature that occupies an ambiguous place in the families of those who raise it - as a member of the family and a potential meal - The Singular Beast reveals the continuing power of symbols to sustain or create ethnic identities. Fabre-Vassas details the folkloric beliefs and rituals that have been associated with the slaughter and consumption of pigs from the Middle Ages until today by both provincial and urban Europeans - such as the myth that Jews do not eat pork because their children had been transformed into pigs and the story that they crave the flesh of Christian children because they are deprived of pork. Ranging from early Christianity to the present, from Spain to Scandinavia, The Singular Beast is both a broad study of the extraordinary, complex role of the animal central to the diets and rituals of most European populations and a close historical analysis of anti-Semitism and the creation of real-life myths.