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Food and Faith in Christian Culture$
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Ken Albala and Trudy Eden

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780231149976

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231149976.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 15 June 2021

The Sanctity of Bread

The Sanctity of Bread

Missionaries and the Promotion of Wheat Growing Among the New Zealand Maori

(p.125) Chapter 6 The Sanctity of Bread
Food and Faith in Christian Culture

Hazel Petrie

Columbia University Press

This chapter studies how the English missionaries used wheat and bread in converting the New Zealand Maori to Christianity. Seeking not only to convert the indigenous population to Christianity but also to “civilize” them, the missionaries' approaches to these intertwined tasks drew on the theological, political, scientific, and philosophic understandings of their society and their time. The introduction of wheat, as a crop and a dietary staple, is an important consideration in these contexts. Bread, particularly wheaten bread, is a staple food of the Bible. As the very “staff of life,” it has featured prominently in religious rituals, especially the Eucharist in which Christ's body is transubstantiated into or represented by bread. Thus, the consumption of wheaten bread by the Maori symbolized a new Christian, civilized, and subjected identity for and to those who converted.

Keywords:   English missionaries, wheat, wheaten bread, bread, New Zealand, Maori, Christianity, Bible

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