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November 23, 2020

Elements of Daily Life: Bread

How would you like it if most of what you had to eat was bread? Bread formed the majority of the diet of an ordinary first-century Galilean. They also ate olives, figs, pomegranates, dates, grapes, cheese, and, occasionally, meat or fish. But some claim that as much as 70% of their calories came from bread. Galileans may have consumed as much as 500 pounds of grain a year. Bread was made from various grains, including wheat, barley, oats, and millet. Wheat was by far the most expensive. Barley bread was the staple of the masses. Due to the importance of bread, it became a symbol of life and sustenance. In the Gospel of John, Jesus claims to be the bread of life. During the Last Supper, as part of the Passover meal, Jesus takes the bread and blesses it. He gives some to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” This inspired the Christian practice called the Eucharist or communion.

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