Date: Tue, 25 Nov 1997 16:09:23 -0500
Subject: Re: earliest eucharist

On Tue, 25 Nov 1997, Thomas Kopecek wrote:


> > Mark, the only thing I've not spelled out here _as yet_ is that the early
> > Mk eucharist material is very much in line with the early Didache
> > material. But this is pretty obviously so. Both are the rituals of the
> > early Jewish-Christians -- as opposed to the Hellenists' traditions found
> > in Lk/1 Cor.
> Let me just toss in the observation that those who defend Yuri's basic
> position don't normally do it with any reference whatsoever to Mark.

This is interesting to know, Tom.

> They rather argue that the earliest stratum of the Didache is 10:2-5,
> which is seen to be parallel to the Jewish Birkat ha-Mazon (the two
> Christological comments, "through Jesus your servant," are seen to be
> later insertions). Note below:

	[omit very interesting comparison]

> On this account, the earliest stratum of Didache 9-10 amounts to  a
> Christianized berakah without Christological references (see the final
> form of Didache 9-10 I reproduced in an earlier post for the supposed
> Christological "insertions"). And it is an eschatological table sharing
> that, it is alleged, has changed Jesus' own table practice little.
> Presumably the reference to the "church" is the only significant
> addition.

I accept the above Tom. This is a very valuable comparison. But we have to
keep in mind that the main argument here is precisely for the strong link
with the Jewish tradition. And I would like to remind that the arguments I
presented for Mk eucharistic text being early ALSO indicate the strong
link with the Jewish tradition. Thus these arguments are really

> BUT the result is still eschatological, at least as I see it.
> This Christian berakah accords with the Lord's Prayer; no matter how one
> reconstructs the prayer, doesn't "Thy kingdom come" stay in?

I can see that the word "eschatological" is likely to keep causing us a
lot of confusion. I would like to remind that the Jewish tradition of
Passover is eschatological. Thus, all the versions of the eucharist we've
been discussing so far are clearly eschatological. So we'll need to begin
to differentiate between different _types_ of eschatology.

> According to this theory of eucharistic origins, the next stage then
> bifurcates between (1) Didache 9:2-4 for the Jewish Christian community,
> modelled on the Kiddush and the 'Amidah and with  no reference to the
> death of Jesus and (2) Paul in I Cor 11, who does refer to the death of
> Jesus in an eschatological way: "For as often as you eat this bread and
> drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes."

I agree with the above. And yet (1) is also eschatological, as well as
(2). The difference in eschatology is important here. The death of the
Lord is not prominent in (1). The eschatology of (1) is the typical Jewish
eschatology of redemption through the Kindgdom that is to come.

> I THINK this is roughly the way it usually goes. The account in Mark
> then represents later practice, if I remember correctly.

The account in Mk is composed of a number of elements. According to van
Cangh, the earliest stratum is typically Jewish, and thus generally in
line with Didache.

And also,

On Tue, 25 Nov 1997, Thomas Kopecek wrote:

> wrote:
> > It was good of Tom to mention Lietzmann's work on the eucharist, because
> > this work seems very important to me. Lietzmann outlined very persuasively
> > that there were basically two key eucharist traditions in the early
> > movement. Van Cangh, whom I summarized recently, more or less accepts
> > Lietzmann, and builds on his work, although he doesn't mention him in his
> > article directly. Lietzmann associates one eucharist tradition with the
> > early Jerusalem Jewish-Christian Church (this is what Van Cangh means by
> > the earliest tradition as found in Mk). Lietzmann calls this the Agape
> > tradition. The other key tradition, Lietzmann associates with the early
> > Hellenistic Christians who were later based in Antioch, and this happens
> > to be the tradition of Paul (or his editor?) in 1 Cor 11, also reflected
> > in Lk. Lietzmann calls it the Mass tradition. So it is the Agape vs. the
> > Mass. Lietzmann, Van Cangh, and many others see this division between the
> > Jerusalem "pillars of the Church" and the Hellenizers as the first basic
> > division in the movement that can explain quite a lot about post-Easter
> > Jesus movement politics as reflected throughout the NT.
> My memory may be failing me, but this does not seem to be an accurate
> account of Lietzmann's views.

Well, this is as accurate as I could make such a very brief summary. I can
provide more details later. I have L.'s book here. I may be wrong, of
course, and I'll try to improve this presentation in the future.

> His first tradition, the Jewish Christian
> one, I think he based on the "breaking of bread" according to Acts 2:42
> and saw it to be a continuation of the meals Jesus shared with his
> disciples during his earthly life,


> and it was not related to the Last Supper: 

Well, it was related to Passover meals generally, to the last Passover
period meal of Jesus, most likely, and also more generally to other
pre-Easter Jesus community meals. At least this is how I understand it. 

> it had no institution narrative, originally didn't even involve
> wine,

But Jewish Passover meals _always_ involve wine.

> and was intensely eschatological, including an anticipation of the
> messianic banquet.

Agreed, as I noted already.

> The second tradition according to L developed in Paul's churches and was
> dominated by the theme of the remembrance or memorial of Jesus' death.


> For L, it was influenced by Hellenistic sacrificial concepts. Eventually
> this tradition supplanted the former one.


> Didache 9, according to L (again if I recall him correctly), evolved
> from the former tradition, but it added wine, though no reference to
> Jesus' death.

I have my doubts as to the wine part.

> I think L put Mark in the Pauline tradition, but I'd have
> to check that out.

This is precisely the key, Tom. Van Cangh puts _early Mk_ squarely in the
Jewish Passover tradition. 

And also,

On Tue, 25 Nov 1997 wrote:

> Regarding Lietzmann on Eucharistic origins, I happen to have the facsimile
> English trans of his Mass and Lord's Supper in my office and have found the
> following statement which concerns the Didache:
> "... there is no question of a memorial of the death of Jesus, of his body and
> the blood of the covenant, or of a remembrance of the Last Supper on the night

Tom, all this is relevant. Lietzmann held these views -- way back when. 
But now we have newer research by van Cangh that tries to look closely at
the text of Mk and to separate later accretions from the original text.
And this demonstrates conclusively that a) Mk contains the earliest
tradition we have, and b) that this tradition is based on the
Jewish-Christian Agape meals. Also, which is more or less the same thing,
on Jewish Passover meals that are still, even in our time, very festive
and involve plenty of drinking.

Best wishes,


Yuri Kuchinsky in Toronto -=O=-

JÚsus annonša le Royaume et c'est l'Eglise qui est 
venue -=O=- Alfred Loisy

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