The Banquet as a Feast of Reconciliation

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Using the guise of a simple supper of commemoration of the hundredth anniversary of the birth of a charismatic Protestant pastor, who had gathered around him a community of devoted disciples in a small village in Norway, Babette’s Feast by Isak Dinesen shows us a banquet in which, through the food prepared with the eye of an artist, the senses are awakened for the first time to a kind of experience where what is corporal and what is spiritual cease to be at odds with each other. Thus, a reconciliation of a lost unity between the body and the soul, matter and spirit, is celebrated and achieved. From this first step, with which the fundamental internal fragmentation is overcome, the other levels of unity (unity with others, with the cosmos, and with God) occur in a chain sequence, so to speak. As in all religious situations, there occurs here the coming together of two orders that seem unreconciliable: the temporal and the eternal, the limited and the infinite, the profane and the sacred. The mediator between both orders is Babette, who takes on a genuine sacerdotal function. However, there is an unexpected inversion, and paradoxically what is profane and mundane comes to the rescue of what is spiritual and sacred.



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