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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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Metaphysics and Meatless Meals

Metaphysics and Meatless Meals

Why Food Mattered When the Mind Was Everything

(p.171) Chapter 8 Metaphysics and Meatless Meals
Food and Faith in Christian Culture

Trudy Eden

Columbia University Press

This chapter explores the Unity School of Christianity, which fully employed the concept of transubstantiation in its belief in the physical and spiritual benefits of vegetarianism. In the latter half of the nineteenth century, a number of Protestant sects arose and gathered under the general term New Thought. Despite their heavy emphasis on metaphysics, some New Thought advocates paid close attention to the body and its care and feeding. One of these was the Unity Society of Practical Christianity. Unity founders embraced vegetarianism—the acquisition of special food items and the preparation of meatless meals—because they believed it enhanced rather than undermined their metaphysics. Meatless meals mattered because they enable spiritual growth in a way that meat-filled meals simply could not. More importantly, vegetarianism bridged the divide between traditional Christian, even Catholic, practices and the still developing modern Christianity.

Keywords:   Unity School of Christianity, vegetarianism, Protestant sects, New Thought, metaphysics, Unity Society of Practical Christianity, meatless meals, traditional Christian practices, Catholic practices, modern Christianity

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