Bijeen om te eten: Het doopsgezind Avondmaal vergeleken met seculiere groepsmaaltijden

Translated title of the contribution: Gathering to Eat

Iris Speckmann

Research output: PhD ThesisPhD-Thesis - Research and graduation internal

221 Downloads (Pure)


Gathering to Eat: Comparing the Mennonite Lord’s Supper Practice with Secular Communal Meals In a quest for theology that taps into lived experience, theologians assume it is appropriate to study our daily dealings with—or handling of—our food. It is presumed that such interest in something as mundane as our daily handling of food would help with the development of a theology that is more culturally embedded. The present study tests this assumption. I compare the experience and interpretation of the Lord's Supper with the experience and interpretations of some secular group meals. In doing so, I make use of Arvind Sharma's methodology of reciprocal illumination. This study focuses on the following question: What does an empirical phenomenological comparison between secular group meals and the Mennonite Lord’s Supper contribute to a contextual theological interpretation of the Lord's Supper? To be able to describe the experiences of secular meals and the Lord's Supper while holding my theological assumptions in check, I took an empirical phenomenological approach. I selected three different secular group meals and a Mennonite Lord’s Supper practice. All meals took place in Amsterdam. Furthermore, I used the instruments of observant participation and qualitative interviewing. During the interviews, the questions were open and general (broad), inviting participants to share anything they wanted, and as much as they wished, about their experience. I took a comparative approach from start to finish of the analysis: interviews with participants in secular meals and interviews with Lord’s Supper participants were analyzed and coded synchronically. As a result of the continuous comparison, I identified five themes where the experience of the secular meals corresponded with the experience and meaning of the Lord’s Supper: the meal as performative event (on the important role of the esthetic form of a meal), the meal as social event evoking communitas but also gastro-political tensions), the meal as gift, the meal as a focal practice (centering people around what makes life wortwhile), the meal as play.
Translated title of the contributionGathering to Eat
Original languageDutch
Awarding Institution
  • Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • Anbeek, Christa, Supervisor
  • Enns, F, Supervisor
Award date17 Jan 2022
Place of Publicationsine loco
Print ISBNs9789464169928
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jan 2022


  • Lord's Supper, Mennonite theology, lived theology, Comparative Approach, Empirical Phenomenology, sacramentalism, commensality


Dive into the research topics of 'Gathering to Eat: Het doopsgezind Avondmaal vergeleken met seculiere groepsmaaltijden'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this