When a shared meal is formalized. Observations on Arabic “table manners” manuals of the Middle Ages
Lewicka, Paulina B.
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Generally, Arabic medieval texts related to the etiquette of eating are of two categories: one includes those written by authors of theological background, and the other includes secular texts, composed by men motivated by their literary passion and civility rather than Islamic education. Thus, “Arabic” texts were not always identical with “Islamic”. The terms “Arabic-Islamic” (to designate works written by religious scholars) and “Arabic/Islamic” (when both categories are referred to) used in the present essay, are meant to mark the difference. All the compendia of Arabic/Islamic table manners (with one exception) that are of significance for the present study are spread throughout volumes that belong to various genres of literary output. It is not possible to present all the authors or their works here, as the discussed texts are too numerous and too diversified: they were written at various times between X-XV centuries by authors of different geographical, social and professional proveniences. A short presentation is, however, indispensable.