"Smith's fine-grained analysis of Greco-Roman dining customs and the literary conventions surrounding the symposium is a breakthrough that sets the New Testament data on meals into their rightful cultural and historical contexts. Smith sheds new light on vital issues concerning the historical Jesus, Paul's theology and ethics, and the development of early Christian worship. This is a definitive study on a fundamental topic in Christian origins."
— Robert J. Miller, author of The Jesus Seminar and Its Critics
"A veritable feast of information on the cultural, religious and
social backgrounds to the social bonding and community formation at
meals in early Christian communities. Smith provides a wealth of
material for a new analysis of the impact that Greco-Roman meal
customs had on the creation of community in the early church. His
work has great significance for many areas of New Testament study,
including Christian origins, gospel studies, and Pauline studies.
Sure to become a classic resource for the social, religious and
cultural background of the New Testament as a whole."
— Kathleen E. Corley, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh