Sunday, August 26, 2007

Food and Faith Sunday. Read this book.

What I am Reading Now:

The Hungry Soul
Eating and the Perfecting of Our Nature, by Leon Kass, M.D.

It is not often that I find one book combining two of my favorite subjects, that is, food and philosophy, but thanks to my son and his friends I have one. And it is a good one.

Dr. Kass is a teacher at the University of Chicago. His education is in the sciences, medicine and biology, he teaches the classics in literature and philosophy. This tells you something about the man. As a scientist he can speak with confidence about the rationalist view of the world that pervades everything, and speak he does knowledgeably and critically. He uses food and eating as the proof of our separateness in the animal species and as a kind of obvious proof that a "soul" exists. A quote from the book,
"But when these scientists look get together for lunch, how do they look on eating? They forget their anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, molecular biology, psychology, and anthropology -- and a good thing, too. For not only might their science interfere with their enjoyment of the meal, it also has nothing to do with their tacit understanding of themselves as eaters. They choose when and what to eat, and they do so quite purposively . . . they notice temperatures and textures, enjoy seasonings and spices . . . they converse while eating, taking as much pleasure in the company and the conversation as in their food." (from the Introduction)
Introduction: "Good for Food . . . to Make One Wise"
1. Food and Nourishing: The Primacy of Form
2. The Human Form: Omnivorosus Erectus
3. Host and Cannibal: From Fressen to Essen
4. Enhancing Uprightness: Civilized Eating
5. Freedom, Friendship, and Philosophy: From Eating to Dining
6. Sanctified Eating: A Memorial of Creation
Conclusion: The Hungry Soul and the Perfecting of Our Nature

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