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Extending the parameters of usual thematic studies, this examination of a literary motif in the Gospel of John explores all passages related to ingesting, including references to food and drink; actions of eating, drinking, feeding and serving; references to words drawn from the domain of ingesting (e.g., "tasting death'); and the six stories that take place during a meal. Consistently, ingesting language is used to describe both the role of Jesus as the one who is incarnate as "flesh" but who must die in order that others might eat and live, and the role of the believer as one who must "eat and drink Jesus" The ingesting motif thus is an important way to talk about salvation in the Gospel. At the same time, the prevalence and effectiveness of this ingesting motif affirms that eating and drinking were significant in the Johannine community, perhaps reflecting Eucharistic practice. This study draws sociological conclusions from literary analysis, and develops a new methodology in biblical literary criticism.
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