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Supersizing the "Last Supper"

samzenpus posted about 4 years ago | from the a-meal-fit-for-a-king-of-kings dept.

Idle 98

gandhi_2 writes "A pair of sibling scholars compared 52 artists' renditions of 'The Last Supper', and found that the size of the meal painted had grown through the years. Over the last millennium they found that entrees had increased by 70%, bread by 23%, and plate size by 65.6%. Their findings were published in the International Journal of Obesity. From the article: 'The apostles depicted during the Middle Ages appear to be the ascetics they are said to have been. But by 1498, when Leonardo da Vinci completed his masterpiece, the party was more lavishly fed. Almost a century later, the Mannerist painter Jacobo Tintoretto piled the food on the apostles' plates still higher.'"

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98 comments

Some historians are actually questioning Da Vici (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31585450)

In his portrait the fries are all supersized, when many historians note that apostles were much more likely to order from the dollar menu.

Re:Some historians are actually questioning Da Vic (2, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 4 years ago | (#31585574)

Everyone knows that the apostles ordered Filet o' Fish! C'mon!

Re:Some historians are actually questioning Da Vic (2)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | about 4 years ago | (#31585624)

Not on friday.

Re:Some historians are actually questioning Da Vic (1)

Vintermann (400722) | about 4 years ago | (#31586382)

I thought it was only on friday?

Re:Some historians are actually questioning Da Vic (1)

severoon (536737) | about 4 years ago | (#31589250)

If you're willing to try my patent-pending system, I can have your deities and their direct descendants consuming less calories in just days, not weeks! You'll see the pounds melt before your eyes! Are you tired of worshipping overweight idols? Time to put Buddha on a treadmill? Just send me cash or money order and you will begin receiving my special deity diet plan with no further commitment!

Seriously, folks, I'm glad someone is doing this important research.

Re:Some historians are actually questioning Da Vic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31591060)

Nah, the last supper was on Thursday....

Re:Some historians are actually questioning Da Vic (1)

dzfoo (772245) | about 4 years ago | (#31587030)

Especially on Friday (though not on Good Friday).

On Easter they go out for Paella.

          -dZ.

Re:Some historians are actually questioning Da Vic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31592794)

*Face palm*

Christians don't even read their own Book! The Apostles were fishermen!

Re:Some historians are actually questioning Da Vic (1)

el3mentary (1349033) | about 4 years ago | (#31605434)

Not all of them, one of them was a Taxman, Matthew IIRC

Re:Some historians are actually questioning Da Vic (1)

decoy256 (1335427) | about 4 years ago | (#31625598)

Simon the Zealot was a political activist. Judas (yes, that Judas) probably worked with money in some way, like a banker or accountant.

Re:Some historians are actually questioning Da Vic (1)

pgdave (1774092) | about 4 years ago | (#31589286)

In Cusco, Peru, the cathedral has a picture of JC and his mates eating guinea pig for their last supper. Da Vinci obviously got it wrong.

Re:Some historians are actually questioning Da Vic (4, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | about 4 years ago | (#31585620)

Historians were also both pleased and horrified by the recent unearthing of a rendition of the Last Supper by Michaelangelo. While the portion sizes are closer to what is believed to be accurate, the painting also features such embellishments as a kangaroo, twenty eight disciples, and three Christs.

However the card attached to the painting is actually labeled "The Penultimate Supper", and historians must admit there are no records of how many people attended that gathering.

Re:Some historians are actually questioning Da Vic (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 4 years ago | (#31587026)

I'll tell you what you want, mate...you want a bloody photographer, not a creative artist with some imagination!!

Re:Some historians are actually questioning Da Vic (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31587564)

for the complete transcript you can either read the next 72 posts (undoubtedly they will quote the entire skit) or you can look here:

http://www.mat.upm.es/~jcm/michelangelo.html

Re:Some historians are actually questioning Da Vic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31588700)

Three Christs, and 27 apostrophes swimming nude together in a giant bowl of hummus.

"Scholars"? (-1, Flamebait)

Rogerborg (306625) | about 4 years ago | (#31585468)

Wansink and his brother Craig, a biblical scholar at Virginia Wesleyan College,

I do not think that word means what you think it means.

Re:"Scholars"? (4, Insightful)

gblackwo (1087063) | about 4 years ago | (#31585534)

are you implying he is not a specialist in a particular branch of study? Or are you just a dick.

Re:"Scholars"? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31585728)

I think he's implying, properly, that scholarly pursuits (scholars) involve and require an inherent objectivity that isn't found in 'faith' based pursuits---which is correct.

Re:"Scholars"? (4, Interesting)

eleuthero (812560) | about 4 years ago | (#31585878)

Everyone has blinders (or sets of presuppositions) - to assume otherwise is ignoring reality. If I begin a project in web design, I have a certain set of presuppositions about how things go together - this on the basis of general consensus. If I begin a project involving history, I begin with a certain set of presuppositions (If I set out to do a project on what the food was at the Last Supper, I would generally have to have as a presupposition that the meal happened).

Being scholarly does not mean rejecting presupposition but rather working towards a greater understanding of a given topic while understanding the presuppositions upon which my research is based.

And if we really want to get down to it, the whole reason we have "scholarly" pursuits is because of the medieval "scholastics" who were almost uniformly religious in some respect.

Re:"Scholars"? (1)

pitterpatter (1397479) | about 4 years ago | (#31589642)

(If I set out to do a project on what the food was at the Last Supper, I would generally have to have as a presupposition that the meal happened).

But... But... But - This was a study on how the Last Supper was portrayed, not what was actually served. Those who don't want to posit that there ever was a Last Supper could view this as being intellectually equivalent to a study looking at the chronology of changes in Wonder Woman's apparent bra size. You don't have to believe she actually existed to study changes in depictions of her.

Re:"Scholars"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31589818)

screw wonder woman (and hell yes, I would, especially if she was Lynda Carter, and yes, even today, I don't care how old she is. She's still one of the hottest women on the planet.) but the new superhero queen of fappage is powergirl.

Re:"Scholars"? (1)

eleuthero (812560) | about 4 years ago | (#31590168)

...and if we take into account the fact that this was focused more on the historical end of things, it even more meets the op's apparent definition of "scholar" (as someone without religious presupposition).

There are also a number of PhD students out there right now no doubt working on articles like this one [nature.com] regarding the academic side of pretty much everything including super hero clothing.

Academics can be found with an interest in pretty much anything.

Re:"Scholars"? (2, Insightful)

Volante3192 (953645) | about 4 years ago | (#31586090)

However there ARE legitimate scholars who study the bible as a work of literature and history. Translations, interpretations, writing styles, geography, politics.

I see no reason to group the same people who paint Lev 18:22 on placards in the same group who simply treat the bible like Shakespeare's first folio.

Re:"Scholars"? (4, Insightful)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | about 4 years ago | (#31586236)

I see no reason to deny at least a subgroup of religiously motivated biblical scholars the "scholar" status. Anyone who doubts that should find a well-trained catholic theologian to discuss with. First, they do a lot of serious literary/language/history study, second, even within the realms of dogma, where you might question their axioms (as I do), they usually are well-trained in logic and able to deliver a hell of an argument. Not every religious scholar is a frothing at the mouth evangelical - that is pretty much an American phenomenon.

Re:"Scholars"? (1)

iPhr0stByt3 (1278060) | about 4 years ago | (#31586720)

While it is certainly more common to find protestants or baptists as opposed to catholics here, "frothing at the mouth evangelicals" are not "American". Besides, I know countless protestants today who are more scholarly in their pursuits (whether you agree with their presuppositions or not) than the average "expert scholar" we see talking on TV.
If you don't believe me, just consider how faith motivates people to the greatest extents. And it's no different when it comes to the study of theology/history/anthropology/language/etc.

Re:"Scholars"? (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | about 4 years ago | (#31586868)

Didn't mean to generalize over every protestant/baptist there - just saying that a certain, especially rabid and vocal brand is mostly an American phenomenon. No doubt that there is respectable, serious biblical scholar work done by members of all denominations.

Re:"Scholars"? (1)

SirLanse (625210) | about 4 years ago | (#31588300)

You seem to missing the towel headed bombers that foam at the mouth. The ones that deny the holocost and blame the US for the earthquake in Haiti. The Catholic church may not change dogma with each scientific discovery, but they are far from the biggest luddites on the planet.

Re:"Scholars"? (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | about 4 years ago | (#31588472)

Just been discussing Christianity here, to stay vaguely on the topic of "biblical scholarship". Of course there are other flavours of serious religious study that I can respect, and, as you mention, other flavours of batshit-crazy nuts. Those shall be discussed some other day, though.

Re:"Scholars"? (1)

tomhudson (43916) | about 4 years ago | (#31586910)

"Know thine enemy" - you pretty much have to study their stuff if you really want to debunk it properly.

Besides, it's expected that the portin size would grow - look at what happened to those loaves and fishes.

That's the origination for the expression "something's fishy".

Re:"Scholars"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31594654)

I thought it was Mary Magdalene's vajayjay.

They didn't have summer's eve in the old days.

Re:"Scholars"? (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | about 4 years ago | (#31588998)

are you implying he is not a specialist in a particular branch of study? Or are you just a dick.

Now, now. It could easily be both.

Re:"Scholars"? (5, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 4 years ago | (#31585546)

I'll call Harvard and have them disband the entire English Literature department.

Re:"Scholars"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31587320)

Please!

Re:"Scholars"? (2, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | about 4 years ago | (#31587954)

I'll call Harvard and have them disband the entire English Literature department.

It would be an improvement.

-- Yale

Yeah, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31585482)

But they drank Diet Coke!!!!

Re:Yeah, but... (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | about 4 years ago | (#31586124)

Actually, they might have. Sort of.

Does anyone know how the typical "table wine" of old compares to today's wines, as far as alcohol content goes? Same, more, less... just water it down?

I assume a lot of wine was used in lieu of a municipal water works, as far as making the water safe to drink.

Re:Yeah, but... (3, Interesting)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | about 4 years ago | (#31586506)

I only know a bit about the ancient greek habits - the strength was probably about the same as today, given that the winemaking techniques are not fundamentally different. It was, however, almost always watered down. There are different accounts on the amount of watering - during a symposion, one person, the symposiarch, was in duty of the watering. The mostly used ratio probably was 3 parts water on 2 parts wine. I think Plutarch discusses the matter in depth *somewhere*, but I'd have to dig deeper to find a quotation. Drinking the wine pure was often considered barbaric or even dangerous, apart from medical use.

The use for making the water safe is obvious, but there also was a huge culture surrounding wine, with ancient greek wine critics going into details just as the modern ones. It was also common to flavour the wines by adding honey, herbs or spices.

Re:Yeah, but... (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | about 4 years ago | (#31589430)

Drinking the wine pure was often considered barbaric or even dangerous, apart from medical use.

And today we have the French, proving the Greeks correct.

Worthless article (5, Insightful)

IICV (652597) | about 4 years ago | (#31585498)

That article was worthless. It's about a series of paintings, and yet the only picture is of some athlete in the side column.

If this is the current standard of quality in newspapers, no wonder they're a dying breed.

tl;dr: relevant pics or gtfo!

Re:Worthless article (2, Insightful)

Rei (128717) | about 4 years ago | (#31585648)

There were no pictures in the paper [mindlesseating.org], either.

Re:Worthless article (1)

IICV (652597) | about 4 years ago | (#31585872)

Yes, but that's a scientific paper printed in a black-and-white journal, where space is frequently at a premium. I would relevant expect pictures in a presentation poster (if they have one, I don't know how common that is in their field) or a website (and indeed, there are pictures on the mindlesseating.org website). It's all a matter of providing appropriate content for the context, something newspaper failed to do. I mean seriously, did nobody over there realize that having a couple hundred words about research in a purely visual media is a stupid idea?

Re:Worthless article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31586666)

Or newspaper articles about a website without a link

Re:Worthless article (1)

dunezone (899268) | about 4 years ago | (#31587680)

That article was worthless. It's about a series of paintings, and yet the only picture is of some athlete in the side column.

Damn you copyright laws!!!

Re:Worthless article (1)

IICV (652597) | about 4 years ago | (#31588254)

I know, those goddamn copyright laws that still apply over a thousand years after the painting was made! Damn them!

idiotic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31585578)

Did they ever think that over time people became more advances and better able to feed themselves. We no longer live on the verge of starvation!

Re:idiotic (1)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | about 4 years ago | (#31587092)

AC wins. I see painters modernizing the scenes because their own standard of living improves. Especially as they moved into the Reubenesque period, where fatness was attractive because it meant you could afford food without having to work 16 hour days growing it. They would have lacked insight such as it being a Passover Sedar, and instead made it a normal meal for the time.

I assume the intent is to show that people got fatter throughout time, especially since it was published in International Journal of Obesity. But it actually demonstrates advances in agriculture and availability of food.

Compare New York University nutrition researcher Lisa R. Young:

There is scant evidence that the body mass index of people in developed societies soared into unhealthy ranges for most of the 1,000 years studied, Young said.

with Brian Wansink, director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab and author of "Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think.":

Instead, they suggest, it's a natural consequence of "dramatic socio-historic increases in the production, availability, safety, abundance and affordability of food" over the millennium that started in the year 1000 A.D.

"The contemporary discovery of increasing food portions and availability may be little more than 1,000-year-old wine in a new bottle," the Wansinks wrote.

This is book publicity, only book publicity, and very bad book publicity at that.

Food matters! (1)

ThePangolino (1756190) | about 4 years ago | (#31585602)

This story proves tow things: The first is obviously that size matters when it comes to food. And the second which is slightly more deep: Slashdot is indeed about stuff that matters... sometimes. Food!

Dicks like Jesus (-1, Offtopic)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 4 years ago | (#31585614)

My dick so hot it's stolen; your dick look like Gary Coleman.

Re:Dicks like Jesus (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31585850)

PowerPig :)

Re:Dicks like Jesus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31590410)

That was actually a salute but whatever. We know who we are.

Sparrow food (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about 4 years ago | (#31585622)

Leonardo's Last Supper is not exactly what most of us would describe as a pig-out. We see about one bread roll for each disciple and two or three dishes of what looks like some undetermined Indian takeaway, washed down with a few glasses of red wine. Big deal.

Re:Sparrow food (5, Informative)

JustinKSU (517405) | about 4 years ago | (#31585876)

The last supper is thought to have been a Passover Sedar [wikipedia.org]. This would mean, if possible, there would have been many kinds of foods, but not in large quantities.

Re:Sparrow food (2, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about 4 years ago | (#31586508)

This would have been their idea of a feast. The fact that an Italian interpretation 1500 years later doesn't "get it" is not surprising. The fact that a scholar of any sort 2000 years later fixates on it is somewhat absurd.

Substitute "last supper" with "thanksgiving" and you will have something resembling a proper cultural context. Then contemplate your comparisons.

Re:Sparrow food (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about 4 years ago | (#31586520)

Yes, but the discussion is about "increasing" size of meals in artistic representations. Leonardo shows us very few dishes in his painting. Furthermore, he obviously has no interest in biblical scholarship, since the Passover Seder is supposed to involve unleavened bread. The bread rolls we see in his painting seem unusually (though not impossibly) plump for something produced without the assistance of yeast.

Re:Sparrow food (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31588158)

Biblical scholarship or not, the paintings would indicate that what we regard as a meal or a feast has increased in size over time (and such is natural given improvements in agriculture leading to improvements in diet over time). The fact that the poor are obese today would boggle the mind of anyone in Jesus' day. In fact, the many depictions of Christ as emaciated when on the cross are probably like Columbus' fake log, more accurate than intended through poor understanding.

Obligatory Monty Python (4, Funny)

Zumbs (1241138) | about 4 years ago | (#31585670)

...I wanted to give the impression of a real last supper. You know, not just any old last supper. Not like a last meal or a final snack. But you know, I wanted to give the impression of a real mother of a blow-out, you know?

Re:Obligatory Monty Python (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31586706)

Pope: Yes One! Now will you please tell me what in God's name possessed you to paint this with three Christs in it?

Michelangelo: It works, mate!

Pope: Works?

Michelangelo: Yeah! It looks great! The fat one balances the two skinny ones.

Heads (2, Funny)

Kell Bengal (711123) | about 4 years ago | (#31585738)

Using the size of the diners' heads as a basis for comparison, the Wansinks used computers to compare the sizes of the plates in front of the apostles, the food servings on those plates and the bread on the table.

Maybe people's heads have just been getting smaller? It would sure explain a lot.

Re:Heads (1)

delinear (991444) | about 4 years ago | (#31586614)

Actually, meant as a joke but perhaps not without a grain of truth. We know, for instance, that the renaissance period was when the trend to more realistic artistic interpretations really began to gain momentum. Can we automatically assume that the scale of the heads in paintings from the middle ages weren't slightly oversized?

Ignoble prize, anyone ? (1)

Laxator2 (973549) | about 4 years ago | (#31585822)

This looks to me like an attempt to win an ignoble prize. Just like this one, which was an actual winner: http://improbable.com/ig/2002/scrotal-asymmetry.pdf [improbable.com] "Scrotal Asymmetry in Man and in Ancient Scupture"

Re:Ignoble prize, anyone ? (1)

DIplomatic (1759914) | about 4 years ago | (#31586034)

This looks to me like an attempt to win an ignoble prize.

No it just looks like an attempt to get a scientific paper published with doing as little work as possible.

"My plan is to take a ruler to some old paintings and then publish the findings! Oh I can't get access to the works? Well then I'll just use google images and measure them with my com-pu-tor! Prize money please!"

Art reveals culture, news at 11. (2, Insightful)

clone53421 (1310749) | about 4 years ago | (#31586094)

It also depicts them as a bunch of white guys.

No, I’m not suggesting that Jesus was black. But he probably wasn’t white.

Re:Art reveals culture, news at 11. (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | about 4 years ago | (#31588070)

No, I'm not suggesting that Jesus was black. But he probably wasn't white.

Not black, nor white... then what's left? Are you saying Jesus was oriental?

Suddenly this legend [bbc.co.uk] starts to make sense!

Re:Art reveals culture, news at 11. (1)

westlake (615356) | about 4 years ago | (#31589346)

It also depicts them as a bunch of white guys.
No, I'm not suggesting that Jesus was black. But he probably wasn't white.

How many black guys would you have seen in a European congregation circa AD 1000?

Ecclesiastical art has two roots:

It illustrated and taught the Biblical narrative to an audience that could not read Hebrew, Latin or Greek. It engaged the laity even more directly by commissioning works from local artists and craftsman, whose work is most vital and appealing when it is closest to their own experience.

The faces aren't oriental - but neither are the costumes, landscapes, settings and props.

No Surprise (1)

kitsunewarlock (971818) | about 4 years ago | (#31586412)

The painting was made in the dining room of a monastery in the first place. Its not surprise that extra food would be added...

Two words: (1)

TheHawke (237817) | about 4 years ago | (#31586636)

Artistic License. The artists at the time were portraying this painting in their own eye, during times that when food was increasing in supply. Same deal with Rockwell and his work.

This is a riot that a obesity study group would try to connect the lines between historic and religious art with obesity. That is rather like trying to associate American League Football with blood sports.

This isn't Da Vinci's fault (3, Informative)

blair1q (305137) | about 4 years ago | (#31586842)

Beginning early in the 2d Millennium, the Catholic Church started burning many true ascetics (e.g., the Cathars) as heretics. (They of course then expanded the powers of the Inquisition to include, well, anyone their twisted logic could rationalize to oppress.)

No doubt this led to a change in the way people perceived heroes from religious history. Da Vinci may never have even considered the idea that an apostle was an ascetic. The Inquisition was in full force, and in charge of most of the governments and virtually all of the churches of Europe, when he painted that picture.

Re:This isn't Da Vinci's fault (2, Insightful)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | about 4 years ago | (#31587118)

I wouldn't say that the ascetic nature of the Cathars was the main factor for their prosecution - sure, the dualistic nature of their creed, damning everything material, which led to their rather ascetic lifestyle was a factor, but their excommunication and prosecution was mostly founded in the fact that they established the first serious counter-church. They called themselves the "True Christians" after all. The prime motivation was therefore political rather than dogmatic, at least in my opinion. The church still allowed asceticism - as long as it did not pose a political threat.

Re:This isn't Da Vinci's fault (2, Informative)

blair1q (305137) | about 4 years ago | (#31588126)

The church demonized the Cathars' practices. In doing so, they couldn't help but give asceticism a stigma, and to marginalize it. (NB for other readers: the Cathars were Christ worshippers who took any bodily pleasure as sinful, to the point that any sensation at all could be so. Eating food, even just touching another human being on the skin, was eschewed by the Perfecti, those who took on the ultimate rite of the Cathars. These people were, in a word, nuts. But the Catholics were more nuts, and paranoid of losing power to these super-pious beings, so they had the Cathars exterminated). Asceticism could otherwise have grown as a tenet of the church, given that its roots were with the apostles. It could certainly have been a popular feature of the monastic orders. Instead the image of the apostles drifted to popular tropes rather than dogmatic ones. They got fat, and colorful. I'm frankly surprised they aren't being repainted in the Vatican wearing Dockers and iPod earphones...maybe next year.

Re:This isn't Da Vinci's fault (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | about 4 years ago | (#31588406)

Oh, I completely agree that the prosecution of the Cathars left a stigma on ascetic practice - the tolerated ascetics after that were indeed mostly on the fringe of the church. How far asceticism really could have grown to become a core tenet of catholicism at this point is open for discussion in my opinion. Personally, I think the church was set on its way earlier. The strong ascetic lines of belief probably lost their chance to power in the early consolidation of dogma and canonical law up to the Council of Nicaea. I have to admit, though, that my recollection of early Christian heresies is flaky these days, so correct me should I be wrong.

Re:This isn't Da Vinci's fault (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 4 years ago | (#31594698)

I have to admit, though, that my recollection of early Christian heresies is flaky these days, so correct me should I be wrong.

Well it has been quite some time. Nice to see you're keeping active.

Re:This isn't Da Vinci's fault (1)

hey! (33014) | about 4 years ago | (#31588636)

Cathars? Oh, it gets worse. The actual last supper was a seder.

Re:This isn't Da Vinci's fault (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 4 years ago | (#31588666)

I think your facts about persecution are a little off; Thomas de Torquemada, the man responsible for the Spanish inquisition (bet you didn't expect that) was an ascetic, and was a contemporary of Leonardo. There may be different ideas about what exactly an ascetic was, but certainly St Francis of Assisi must be considered one, the guy walked barefoot everywhere, and he was certainly accepted by the catholic church.

It may be hard for someone who hasn't been involved in religion to understand, but not all of these persecutions were about power or control. If you've never seen how worked up people can get about certain doctrinal ideas, it can be hard to believe these people are sincere. But remember it's not just a matter of life or death, it's a matter of eternal salvation. It is something people are willing to die for.

My favorite example of this is a puritan John Williams (despite their reputation puritans were a feisty group: remember these were people who basically said 'fuck you' to the king). He thought that anyone who supported the church of England was 'contaminated,' and refused to worship with them. He later decided that those who worshiped with those who were contaminated were also contaminated, eventually coming to the conclusion that only him and his wife were not contaminated, and then discounting her as well. Finally he decided maybe he was too strict in his principles and reversed them (and lost a lot of respect: Puritans respected those who stood up for their principles to death; they were all willing to do so, after all).

It's crazy but it shows the length people are willing to go to for their sincerely held beliefs. Although pre-industrial Europe had a lot of power hungry people, it also had a lot of sincere believers. It is impossible to understand European history accurately if you just look at them all as power hungry.

Re:This isn't Da Vinci's fault (1)

kale77in (703316) | about 4 years ago | (#31591422)

Asceticism declined after Aquinas put Catholic theology on an Aristotelian basis (contra the more dualistic Platonism of Augustine). This revalued matter and nature in theology, which changed from being something generally inimical to the contemplative and spiritual life to something generally supportive of, and in cases conducive to it; this became the foundation for art and science moving forward. If we had a Slashdot poll, "What idea created western civilisation", this would get my vote. As a side-effect, within a hundred years the doctrine of the complete poverty of Christ and the apostles (a relic of monasticism) basically disappeared from the mainstream.

> Da Vinci may never have even considered the idea that an apostle was an ascetic.

But the deeper thinkers would be more prone to it, as it drew which took a lot of its support from the Greek philosophers. Or, like Pascal with Jansenism, they may have been attracted to movements and ideas outside of the mainstream; asceticism's marginalisation wouldn't have affected their evaluation of it.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31587732)

In the next years you will see a freaking burger on the last supper

no shit

Seriously (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31588116)

I wish I could sit around all day and do bullshit studies like this. Thank you sir, for providing absolutely not benefit to society.

There's something to this... (1)

hallux.sinister (1633067) | about 4 years ago | (#31588470)

The researchers are, I think onto something here, but not what everyone seems to think. I saw this story carried on another site originally, and so I am willing to give it more credit than I would a typical "Idle" story... having read TFA, I suggest this merits our attention. The implication of the article is that it has to do with obesity, and although there may exist a very distant relationship, I don't think the obesity connection is what we should consider.
No, I think it may be a function of the amount of food on, and the typical size of the average person's dinner plate at or around the time the painting was made. As people got progressively better at farming, and as governments became more proficient at ensuring political and/or economic stability for the masses, the amount of food available probably went WAY up. The size of the portions in the paintings doubtless reflects a bias on the part of the painter to presume that portion size historically is similar to what he experienced during his own lifetime. I think that is a better conclusion to draw than, "OMG, we've been getting progressively fatter for over a thousand years!"

Entrees? (1)

Alioth (221270) | about 4 years ago | (#31588498)

A probably OT point on etymology - but why is it that in the USA that the main course is called the "entrée"? The first time I had dinner in the USA it had me momentarily confused because you'd expect the "entrée" to be the starter, not the main course (in French, the "entrée" is the starter).

Why? (1)

ooshna (1654125) | about 4 years ago | (#31588582)

Why is this here? Is it that anything with a little math is considered worthy of /.? So if I made an article which compares breast implant trends from the 60's to now as long as I used math it would make it here?

Re:Why? (1)

The Wild Norseman (1404891) | about 4 years ago | (#31589722)

So if I made an article which compares breast implant trends from the 60's to now as long as I used math it would make it here?

Well, sure, as long as you posted your math.

And pictures. Lots of pictures.

This is, after all, Slashdot, where we simply could not just take your word for it and I, for one, would feel compelled to replicate your findings.

why the commotion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31591708)

It just means they hadn't eaten yet.

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