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Bread That Is Broken—And Unbroken

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Chapter Summary

In 1998, at the annual Biblical Conference at Leuven, in Belgium, the author gave a paper on the breaking of bread in the New Testament and related texts, notably in the Didache. This chapter briefly presents on that occasion and then continues with some new material, especially on bread that is not broken. The gesture of breaking bread is clearly attested in the New Testament: the multiplication(s) of the loaves and fishes; the Last Supper; the supper at Emmaus; the practice of the Church; Paul at Troas; Paul at sea. It is commonly said that Did. 9.13 is simply a spiritualisation or Christianisation of the Jewish table prayers already referred to and supposed to have been already in general use at the time.

Keywords: breaking bread; Didache; Jewish table prayer; New Testament

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