Bread and Water and the New Testament

Andrew McGowan

in Ascetic Eucharists

Published in print May 1999 | ISBN: 9780198269724
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191683770 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Early Christian Studies

Bread and Water and the New Testament

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This chapter considers the New Testament as a source for the bread-and-water tradition in two senses: first as a possible repository of earlier evidence for similar ascetic and ritual meal practices in Christian circles; second, as providing models or other bases for meal practice in the bread-and-water tradition as attested in the following two centuries or so. It argues that while the bread-and-water tradition presents itself in terms that invite some analysis in terms of duality of meal traditions, with the ascetic refusal of the cuisine of sacrifice representing a stance that can be contrasted not only with the meat and wine of pagan sacrifice, but also with the more clearly sacrificial meal of the eventually normative tradition and its generous use of Jesus' body and blood, this is not the same duality suggested by theorists of eucharistic origins earlier this century. In fact, evidence of this tradition presents some specific problems for theories of dual eucharistic origins.

Keywords: New Testament; early Christianity; food; drink; Christian meals; bread; water; ascetic meal

Chapter.  14805 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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