Date: Sat, 8 Nov 1997 12:06:16 -0500 From: email@example.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org Cc: email@example.com Subject: earliest eucharist Dear Mark, The last few days I've tried to look up some background material dealing with the Eucharist in I Cor 11. Is it really the earliest version of Christian Eucharist we have, as you have stated? Or perhaps this passage is a later insertion? If so, then the case for the non-Apocalyptic earliest Eucharist, i.e. a meal of benediction quite in accordance with the Jewish tradition such as to be found in the Didache, is made much stronger. Well, now I've found plenty of material to support the view for the lateness of 1 Cor 11. Here's a very interesting publication: PEUT-ON RECONSTITUER LE TEXTE PRIMITIF DE LA C`ENE? by J. M. Van Cangh, on pp. 623-637 in TITLE: The Corinthian correspondence / edited by R. Bieringer. PUBLISHED: Leuven : Leuven University Press : Uitgeverij Peeters, 1996. PAGING: xxvii, 791 p. ; 25 cm. SERIES: Bibliotheca Ephemeridum theologicarum Lovaniensium. ; 125 NOTES: English, French, and German. "...the papers of the forty-third session of the Colloquium Biblicum Lovaniense (August 8-10, 1994)"--p. vii. Includes bibliographical references and indexes. What is Van Cangh saying in this article? He is basing his work in part on the research of S. Dockx, LE RE'CIT DU REPAS PASCAL: MARC 14, 17-26, in Biblica 46 (1965) 445-453, who demonstrated conclusively that there were two quite different communion cups in our earliest narratives of the Last Supper. ...une coupe eschatologique qui faisait partie du re'cit pascal (ou festif) primitif (Mc 14,25; Lc 22,18) et une coupe eucharistique, qui a e'te' ajoute'e sous l'influence de la liturgie, avec les paroles interpre'tatives sur le vin ("Ceci est mon sang" Mc 14,24...) (p. 623) So Dockx along with Van Cangh believes that the earliest Eucharist recitation that we have can be found in Mk 14:17-25, and that both Lk 22:14-18 and 1 Cor 11:22-26, which are closely related anyway, are later than Mk. Actually Van Cangh (after Dockx) considers only a small part of Mark 14:17-26 as early. This consists of Mk 17, 18a, 23, 24a, and 25. The rest are additions to the earliest Mk. Here are the earliest parts. When it was evening, he came with the Twelve. And as they reclined at table ... Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them... Amen, I say to you, I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God. He considers it quite impossible (p. 625) that Mk 14:24b, This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many. should have followed naturally after Mk 14:23 that ends in "and they all drank from it". Indeed, these Eucharistic words should have logically _preceded_ the drinking of the Eucharistic cup -- and they could have hardly followed upon the drinking in the original version. Van Cangh remarks that such words about drinking blood could not have been a part of the earliest Jewish-Christian celebration, since drinking of blood is one of the most un-Jewish things to do -- the concept is highly offensive to the believing Jews. Therefore, these words were most likely added at a much later stage when the Hellenistic elements were being added to the original Jewish-Christian rituals in a later more un-Jewish Hellenistic context. The text-critical research that places Mk 14 prior to 1 Cor 11 is actually not new at all, but is based quite solidly on the work of such scholars as Jeremias, Benoit, and R. Pesch. La tradition eucharistique repre'sente'e par Mc 14,22-25 (suivie par celle de Mt, 26,26-28) est ante'rieure `a celle repre'sente'e par 1 Co 11,23-26 et Lc 22,20-22. Cela a e'te' montre' maintes fois de mani`ere convaincante par des exe'g`etes travaillant de mani`ere inde'pendente les uns des autres. (p. 629) I translate the above roughly as follows, The Eucharistic tradition represented by Mk 14:22-25 (followed by Mt 26:26-28) is earlier than 1 Cor 11:23-26 and Lk 22:20-22. This has been shown rather convincingly on numerous occasions by several exegetes working independently of each other. Next in the article, Van Cangh adduces 7 brief arguments for why this is so. And he gives numerous citations for the more detailed arguments, including in his own previous publications on the subject. So here we go, Mark. What about all this? Perhaps now your opinion about the priority of 1 Cor 11 may change? In relation to your special area of interest, the Q research, the above authors I've consulted lend little support to your view that Lk based his passages on Mk and Mt. In fact, they generally incline to the view that 1 Cor/Lk Eucharistic tradition, while based partly on Mk, is generally a separate and rather unrelated tradition. Van Cangh argues that it most likely follows after the Hellenistic-Christian tradition that he opposes to the earlier more Jewish-Christian oriented tradition contained in Mk. Also, Van Cangh claims to explain the noted conundrum of why there seem to be two communion cups in Lk (Lk 22:17 and Lk 22:20). This explanation deals with the idea, mentioned in the beginning already, that there were generally two cups contained in early traditions, one eschatological (being the earlier one, and based on the invocations of the wholly traditional Jewish meal of thanksgiving), and one Eucharistic (added later). And, of course, let us not forget the original context of this discussion. This whole discussion started when Steve suggested that your determined questioning of modern Q research, even if _assumed_ as valid, really will not change all that much the way we understand early Christianity. Indeed, all the _generally supposed_ text of Q is in the Canon in any case. Any way you will choose to reshuffle it, it is still there, so all the ideas contained in it are there anyway. So your great work, even if accepted by a substantial number of researchers, which is hardly the case today, will really not amount to any major revisions of our understanding of tradition. It seems that, so far, your almost singlehanded current attempts to prove the whole academic exegetical world wrong have found only one strong adherent, our colourful correspondent in Sweden who currently seems to derive a special pleasure from attacking violently all modern liberal interpretations a Christian history. Oh well, it's a start, I suppose... Best regards, Yuri.Click here to go one level up in the directory.