Date: Sun, 30 Nov 1997 12:16:44 -0500
To: Thomas Kopecek 
Subject: Re: Lietzmann on the eucharist

On Fri, 28 Nov 1997, Thomas Kopecek wrote:

> > 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).
> Yes, Yuri, Lietzmann IS important, as you have said. Therefore it is
> important not to misrepresent his position, which, I fear, you have
> done. 

Now, now, Tom. Nobody is trying to "misrepresent" anything here on
purpose. I may have been wrong in my assessment, but this is because I'm
trying to figure out these very difficult connections as I go along. 

> L is hardly "basing" his theory on Acts of John and Acts of Thomas.

He's trying to do this in part.

> I'll
> quote some of what he says in chapter 15 BEFORE he speaks about those
> gospels:
>         "In the ACTS OF THE APOSTLES the eucharistic service of the
> Church is
> called simply KLASIS TOU ARTOU, "the breaking of bread" (ii.42; xx.11;
> cf. ii.46 KLWNTES KAT'OIKON ARTON); and that this is not an a parte
> portiore description, but that actually on this occasion *only bread was
> broken*, and no wine drunk, is clear from chap. xx.11 (cf. xxvii.35)

The question that you're interested in seems to be if the bread-only
eucharist is very early. But I don't see how the Acts should be decisive
in proving this. The Acts is not a very really early document.

> and
> above all from the description of the breaking of bread by Jesus at
> Emmaus in the presence of the disciples (Luke xxiv.30; cf. verse 35).

Again, this is not early. This part of Lk seems like a late addition, and
it echoes strongly the miracles of the feeding of the multitudes. If you
really wish to make bread-only eucharist very early, perhaps this is where
you should really look?

>         But also we meet traces of this conception elsewhere. In the
> HOMILIES xiv.1, it is related of Peter that he "broke the bread with
> thanksgiving and, placing salt on it, gave it first to his mother and
> then to us, her sons. And thus we ate together with her, praising God.
> As this act follows immediately upon his mother's baptism, we cannot
> doubt its strictly eucharistic character. (footnote 2 here: cf. in the
> same Clementine Homil. Diamartyria iv: KAI META TOUTO ARTOU KAI hALATOS
> Only after these references to the quite canonical Acts of the Apostles,
> which may preserve sources older than any of the gospels and maybe even
> Paul,

"May" is the key here, isn't it?

> and to the Pseudo-Clementina does Lietmann go on to apocryphal
> Acts and Gospels, beginning with the Acts of Peter and only then citing
> the Acts of John.

Fine with me, Tom. Perhaps I did not present Lietzmann's argument in the
correct manner. Thanks for the corrections. 

But have you ever considered that the reason why bread-only eucharist is
so prominent in the sources that Lietzmann supplies (and the dating of
which is open to interpretation, in any case) may be something else?
Namely, what about the theme of the secrecy of the eucharist? We have
indications that outsiders were not to be told about the "real eucharist"
at early stages in the tradition. 

> Now, the work of Hans-Joachim Schoeps and Georg Strecker on the
> Pseudo-Clementina has established, I think, that such passages as the
> above go back to a Grundschrift and, beyond that, to Ebionite sources
> that may be very, very old (my Strecker is in my office, so I can't
> check his careful source critical work on this issue). Moreover,
> Lietzmann could also have cited two Fathers on the Ebionites, Irenaeus
> and Epiphanius.
> Irenaeus, Adv.Haer. 5:1:3
> "Vain are also the Ebionites who do not receive by faith into their soul
> the union of God and man, but who remain in the old leaven of the
> (natural) birth; and who do not wish to understand that the Holy Spirit
> came in Mary, and the power of the Most High did overshadow her [that
> is, their gospel, a version of Mt did not have the first two chapters
> that Catholic Mt had, nor anything like the first two chapters of
> Catholic Lk] . . . . Therefore do these men reject the commixture of the
> heavenly wine AND WISH IT TO BE WATER OF THE WORLD ONLY (reprobant
> itaque hi commixtionem vini caelestis, ET SOLAM AQAM SAECULAREM VOLUNT
> ESSE), not receiving God so as to have union with him."
> Epiphanius, Panarion 30:16:1
> "Apart from their daily purifications they also accept the baptism. They
> . . . have an annual celebration of the Eucharist, imitating the holy
> ones in the church, with unleavened bread AND THE OTHER PART OF THE
> Given that the passages in Irenaeus and Epiphanius support the stream of
> tradition that goes back through the apocryphal gospels and the sources
> of the Pseudo-Clementina to the Acts of the Apostles, Lietzmann's case
> cannot be dismissed as summarily as you dismiss it.

I did not dismiss it. To the contrary, I think all of these indications
are very important in so far as they tell us that the Jewish-Christians
had real problems about the wine communion, probably because in was
connected with consuming blood. 

What needs to be explained now is how this wine communion originated. That
it is found in Mk needs to be explained. The work of van Cangh, and of S. 
Dockx, which seems quite valid to me, needs to be integrated somehow with
Lietzmann. And this is what I'm trying to do. 

Lietzmann believed that the bread-only communion was the original
Echt communion. I do not take this as gospel truth. This thesis needs to
be proven, and I don't think you have done this. And I don't even know if
you're really trying to do this? Are you?

> But I thought this whole discussion began with your claiming that there
> was an original non-apocalyptic eucharist.

I made no such claim.

> Certainly Lietzmann gives
> no support for that, writing as he does in his chapter 16 of the "first
> disciples in Jerusalem" eating their meals as follows:
> "The food was simple; they drank water, possibly very occasionally wine

Somehow, I have my doubts about this. Are we talking here about Joshua the
"wine-bibber" whose first miracle was turning water into wine? 

> --for those journeyings through the land they had learnt from the Master
> to be content with little. Not even a "cup of blessing" was passed
> around at the conclusion of the meal.

Why not?

> Thus it had been formerly, when
> the Lord had presided at the table in the flesh.

Don't see it.

> Now he was with his
> disiciples "in the spirit," for where two or three of them were gathered
> together in his name there was he in the midst of them . . . . And SOON,

This much is probably true.

> This belief made them joyful; the meal was celebrated "with
> gladness"; and in answer to the "Maranatha", the "Come, Lord Jesus", of
> their leader, the company at table hailed the longed-for Lord with glad
> hosannas."
> I will quote your words of November 8 once again:
> >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.
> Lietzmann's talk about the coming Son of Man like Daniel's sounds pretty
> apocalyptic to me, and Lietzmann thinks the same of the Didache, but we
> needn't go into that, since you have been appealing to him in some way
> or other to support a case for a "non-Apocalyptic earliest Eucharist."
> Or are you willing to admit defeat on that point?

Oh well... My case for "non-Apocalyptic earliest Eucharist" is obviously
now in trouble? 

Well, Tom, actually, my words above should be seen in their proper
context. All I've been trying to say recently is that the earliest
eucharist should be seen as something very close to the traditional Jewish
meal. And I think this is provable. 

Can we say that the traditional Jewish Seder is non-apocalyptic? If so,
then the early eucharist was non-apocalyptic. If not so, then the earliest
eucharist was apocalyptic in approximately the same measure. This is where
I stand now.

I will post further with more clarifications of my position on this and
related matters.



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