cover image Eating Ethically: Religion and Science for a Better Diet

Eating Ethically: Religion and Science for a Better Diet

Jonathan K. Crane. Columbia Univ., $35 (256p) ISBN 978-0-231-17344-5

Fusing philosophical ethics, religious wisdom, and science, Crane (Narratives and Jewish Bioethics) has designed a regimen for what he calls “the heartiest, healthiest, and holiest way to eat: eat less than one can consume on a regular basis, saving one’s feasting for feasts.” Crane weaves together various perspectives to illustrate that eating is not simply a physiological act but one with moral, economic, ecological, social, and political ramifications. He comes at the philosopher Jacques Derrida’s question of how should one eat well from multiple angles, deploying cutting-edge studies of metabolism, ancient philosophers’ musings on food, and religious reflections from Judaism, Christianity, and Islam to bolster his position of refrained consumption. Some readers will be disappointed that Crane skips non-Western systems such as Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain traditions. Crane’s accessible prose and principled approach to eating make this a worthy addition to the ongoing discussion of how humans should consume food. (Dec.)