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Why does the Didache Conceive of the Eucharist as a Holy Meal?

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In the institution accounts of the New Testament Jesus declares the bread to be his body and the wine his blood. In the passages of the Didache referring to the eucharistic ritual (Did 9-10 and 14) the words of institution are lacking. Wine is not related to Jesus’ blood and bread is in no way linked to his physical body. If the Didache does not even suggest that the eucharistic ritual is related in any way to the tradition of the Last Supper, why then is the communal meal in the Didache considered holy? This paper argues that the meal was conceived in terms of holiness in order to show that it related as much to the Divine as did the temple service. Since a temple setting was generally seen as the natural context for religious rites, temple concepts and temple thinking were used to describe and define non-temple ritual settings.

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Humanities, Department of Religious Studies Postbus 90153, 5000 LE Tilburg The Netherlands, Email:


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