Claudine Fabre-Vassas The Singular Beast

ISBN 13: 9780231103671

The Singular Beast

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9780231103671: The Singular Beast
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This original account of the significance of the pig and its relationship to Jews in European Christian culture encompasses a vast array of folklore, history and ritual. Practices related to the breeding, slaughter and consumption of the pig have inspired both religious and secular taboos and rituals, laid out by the author in fascinating detail. She demonstrates clearly the power which a symbol may hold to mould an ethnic identity, and the book stands both as s study of the role of the pig, and as an analysis of the creation of anti-Semitic myths.

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The Singular Beast is an academic study of the relationship between pigs and Jews in European Christian culture. It is a challenging book, but it's well worth the trouble for readers who want to understand the shape of traditional Christian anti-Semitism. "We know that the world's cultures readily designate others by what they eat; in Europe we call one another frogs, roast beefs, or macaroni eaters," Claudine Fabre-Vassas writes. "A very rare exception should have aroused suspicion: Jews are called 'pigs,' imagined to be bloodthirsty, identified precisely as what they forbid themselves." When Fabre-Vassas digs into this paradox, she discovers all kinds of interesting and awful myths. Suffice it to say, Christian readers will think twice about putting ham in the oven next Easter.

Book Description:

Throughout history, the slaughter and consumption of the pig has been the inspiration for role-playing and taboos, and at the center of practices that defined the boundaries between Christians and Jews. A provocative exploration of the pig in European culture and anti-Semitism, The Singular Beast chronicles the cultural and religious character of the pig―and details the folkloric beliefs still found among both provincial and urban Europeans and the rituals that have been associated with it from the Middle Ages to today.

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9780231103664: The Singular Beast

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ISBN 10:  0231103662 ISBN 13:  9780231103664
Publisher: Columbia University Press, 1997
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