Thursday, April 27, 2006

Summary Paper

This chapter depicts the last supper and the topic of the Christian eucharist. Apart from the Reformed Churches, the theological tradition always understood Jesus' words of inspiration in the sense of a real presence of Christ. However, Strauss found symbolic interpretation of Jesus' last supper with a historical foundation. Strauss's interpretation suggests it is not the death of Jesus but entry into the imminent kingdom of God which now becomes the central meaning of the eucharist. Eichorn suggests that the report of the Last Supper is so influenced by the 'dogma and the cult' of the community that the historical course of events remains unclear. The Pauline and the primitive Christian view that the body and blood of Christ were eaten in the supper is to be explained in terms of the history of religion: the supper is a variant of the universally widespread "theophagy", the primitive belief that one could appropriate the powers of a deity by eating and drinking. The Jewish analogies offer a separate explanation of the Lord's supper. For instance, most accept that Jesus' last meal was a Passover meal at which Jesus interpreted two parabolic actions by parabolic words: he interrupted the torn loaf of bred in terms of his death, and the juice of the grape in terms of his blood. Essentially, the fact is that the eucharist was celebrated in many forms in primitive Christianity and interpreted in different ways.


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