Date: Fri, 28 Nov 1997 17:17:19 -0500
Subject: Lietzmann on the eucharist

The work of Hans Lietzmann on the eucharist is quite important.
So I'm posting here a summary of his work as provided by Robert
Douglas Richardson in 

       AUTHOR: Lietzmann, Hans, 1875-1942.  
UNIFORM TITLE: Messe und Herrenmahl. English                        
        TITLE: Mass and Lord's Supper : a study in the history of the
                   liturgy / by Hans Lietzmann ; translation with    
                   appendices by Dorothea H. G. Reeve ; with introd. 
                   and further inquiry by Robert Douglas Richardson. 
    PUBLISHED: Leiden : E. J. Brill, 1979.                           
       PAGING: xxvi, 753 p.                                          
        NOTES: "Part I (pp. xxv-xxvi, 1-215) was originally published
                   in 1926 under the title of Messe und Herrenmahl:  
                   eine Studie zur Geschichte der Liturgie."         

Of course scholarship moved forward since that time. So we must also
try to see how Lietzmann's work may be seen now in light of the
more recent research by van Cangh, and S. Dockx some of which
I already summarized. More about this later.

Here's one summary by Richardson of Lietzmann's key ideas about the

     ... Lietzmann's examination of all the associated liturgies for
     the purpose of discovering their oldest strata results in his
     ultimately classifying them into two main types -- an early
     Egyptian and a "Western", Sarapion being the main
     representative of the first and Hippolytus of the second. Each
     of these two types he traces to its ultimate characteristic
     source, Sarapion's in Didache 9-10 

Tom, please note that it is assumed here that the Didache contains
the earliest version of the eucharist, what Lietzmann calls "the
Jerusalem type of eucharist" (e.g on p. 252 in the German text).

     and Hippolytus' in 1 Cor 10--11. Finally, behind Didache he
     claims to show the "Breaking of Bread" of the first disciples
     with the risen Lord -- which continued the table-fellowship of
     Jesus' _haburah_ in His lifetime; and behind 1 Cor 11 the last
     such fellowship-supper only -- whose re-enactment as a
     different kind of rite he attributes to St. Paul. Thus the roots of
     an irreconcilable duality between the conception of the
     Agape, or Lord's Supper, and that of the Mass, are found by
     Lietzmann within the NT itself. (p. XIII)

Here's a clarification about the two types of Jewish ritual meals:

     ...the agape is not founded on the Sabbath meal with its
     wine-_kiddush_ but on the meal invested with religious
     solemnity which might be held at any time by a company of
     friends (_haburah_).  (p. XVII)

And here's a summary of Lietzmann's very important Chapter 16,
as provided by Richardson:

     The development of the Lord's Supper can now be
     reconstructed. The table-fellowship of Jesus' haburah in his
     lifetime was continued with him as the risen Lord. Ideas of
     Hellenistic origin were quickly added and the celebration was
     regarded as a sacrifice indwelt by the "Name" or "Power" of
     the Lord, thus conferring spiritual benefits upon "holy"
     participants. There was also, from the earliest days of the
     Church, a second development, connected with only the last
     haburah-meal of Jesus; it proclaimed His covenant-death;
     also his resurrection and parousia. The memorial meals to
     founders of religious communities customary in the hellenistic
     world affected its practice, and it too developed sacrificially;
     so the _corpus mysticum_ of the Church came into being and
     the symbolic words of Jesus at the Last Supper were taken to
     describe spiritual realities. This [is the] second type [of
     eucharist] ... 1 Cor 11 shows [this second] type to be almost
     as primitive as that of the original disciples. The creator of
     this type was Paul; and the idea of it came to him "by
     revelation". The first type survived only in Jewish spheres and
     in Egypt, which Paul never visited.  (p. XIX)

The basic thing that I think remains valid in this account is that
there are two basic types of eucharistic liturgy. But Lietzmann
assumed there was only one cup of wine in the early NT accounts.
This analysis can now be improved upon, and van Cangh has
done this by pointing to the second cup of the eucharist that is still
discernable in our NT sources. 

Also, Lietzmann believed that the earliest version of all was the
meal without wine, where the bread provided the most important
symbol -- something similar to a ritual based on the miracles of
feeding of the multitudes by Jesus, preserved in various gospel
accounts. This is the "water instead of wine eucharist". Actually,
the use of water did not have a special meaning, as far as I can
see. Since bread was the key symbol in this type of a ritual, other
things could be added, including water, milk, and even cheese. 

But there's no reason we should accept this theory of Lietzmann
as unquestionably proven. Lietzmann is basing this theory on his
analysis of rather late apocryphal gospels where this type of ritual
is commonly found. (ACTS OF JOHN, 109-110; ACTS OF
THOMAS, 133, etc.; discussed in Lietzmann's text in Ch. 15.) I
think the question remains open if this ritual based on bread alone
(plus other things added at will) is really the earliest version.
Certainly I don't see why we should privilege the apocryphal
gospels at the expense of the canonicals, where such other rituals
are not in evidence (as far as I know).

So now, let's come back to van Cangh, and S. Dockx. They
demonstrate that there are in fact two very different cups that are
found in our NT accounts of the Lord's Supper. I already quoted
this by van Cangh before:

     ...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.

"Eschatological cup", is the one that was a part of the earliest
narrative, while the "eucharistic cup" is the one that came later
under the influence of the liturgy, according to van Cangh.

Since there are two cups in the earliest accounts of the eucharist,
this indicates to me that these accounts were based on the
traditional Jewish Passover meal that contains in all 4 cups of

Van Cangh actually believes that the earliest eucharist was based
on the actual Passover meal Jesus had with his disciples prior to
his arrest,

     La tradition d'un repas pris par Je'sus le soir pre'ce'dant sa
     Passion a toutes les chances d'e^tre historique. (pp. 626-7)

Van Cangh continues, saying this was a typical Jewish meal, in
which Jesus broke the bread for his disciples, as it is done in
typical Jewish meals by the person at the head of the table who is
administering the Seder,

     Ce repas est un repas typiquement juif, o`u Je'sus be'nit le
     pain et le rompit pour ses disciples (Mc 14,22 par.). (p. 627)

There are also other ways in which the latest research by van
Cangh, and S. Dockx can be integrated with the findings of
Lietzmann that were, after all, arrived at quite some time ago. This
new research can certainly clarify and add to the theories
Lietzmann was formulating, and improve them further.

I must say that right now I'm quite busy trying to integrate all this
material and research it further. This eucharist research goes to
the very heart of the history of early Christianity. It bears on great
many very important matters, and the more one looks into this, the
more new relevant matters are getting involved. 

In particular, I'm currently looking at the martyrdom of Stephen, and the
events associated with this: the split betwen the Hellenists and the more
orthodox Jewish-Christians. Also, the Historical Paul looms large in all
of this. While I don't think he really contributed to the martyrdom of
Stephen, as the Book of Acts would have it, he was clearly directly
involved in this Hellenist controversy at a later stage, and his epistles
are just about the only reasonably trustworthy source we have on what
really happened... All this, and much more of course, is raised by this
eucharist investigation. This is a big project indeed... 

Best regards,


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