While speaking about the origin of the Lord’s Supper discussions prompted me to revisit the question of the integrity of our canonical texts and whether we can be confident they preserve what was originally written by Paul and the author of the Gospel of Mark.
Well, I’ve tracked down several studies on just that question and though I will have to wait a few weeks before a number of them arrive I can post the arguments of one critical scholar, Alfred Loisy. Loisy set out his reasons for believing that the passage in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians in which he claims to have received the instructions about the Lord’s Supper from the Lord himself is a later addition, and similarly for the passage in the Gospel of Mark narrating Jesus instituting a mystical rite the eve before his death. On the contrary, Loisy argues, before the ritual of the death of Jesus the Christian communities knew only of a celebratory fellowship meal that anticipated the imminent arrival of the Kingdom where they would all be feasting with Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 11:
20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper.
21 For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.
22 What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? what shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.
23 For I have received from [ἀπὸ] the Lord [τοῦ Κυρίου] that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:
24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.
Many of us who have read the above passage may at some time, especially when we first encountered it, have had some “back of our mind” sense that there was something slightly odd with it. But of course repetition when and where all around us evidently accept it as unproblematic dulled our curiosity. But Loisy revives and sharpens our early questions:
Direct revelation or from apostolic tradition?
35 There has been much dissertation about the meaning of the preposition από (before τον κυρίου in verse 23), which need not exclude intermediaries between Jesus and the author of the story. But on the hypothesis of intermediaries, as the matter concerns an act of the Christ and not a plain teaching, we should expect περί rather than από. The author places the case of the Supper among the other παραδόσεις which the Corinthians have received from him. Are all these to be transformed into Gospel traditions passed on by the Galilean apostles? Moreover, whether it be tradition or private vision, the story as here given is not in the primitive Gospel.
(Loisy, p. 399 – my heading)
Some strange features confront us in this passage.
- It is strange that Paul, if he had really told all this to the Corinthians before, should here be obliged to recall it;
- strange that he should present it as a revelation received by him from the Lord;35
- strange that a doctrine implying the theory of redemption by the blood of the Christ, and linked artificially to the benediction of bread and wine customary at Jewish meals, should see the light in the first generation, when Christians lived in expectation of an immediate parousia.
On the other hand it is significant that regard is here paid to that expectation. Evidently the vision of the institution of the Supper which Paul professes to have had is conceived in the framework of a story relating the last meal of Jesus with his disciples in which preoccupation with the Great Event was the dominant feature.
. . . .
In the economy of the Supper as a mystic rite this reference to the parousia, made at a time when it was no longer thought of as imminent, is out of place. The mention of it is due to an old and firmly established tradition. There is ground therefore for saying that mystic commemoration of the saving death, the mystic communion with the crucified Christ, is superposed on a form of the Supper as an anticipation of the banquet of the elect in the Kingdom of God, a form clearly indicated in a saying embedded in the oldest tradition of the synoptic Gospels:
Verily, verily, I tell you
that I will drink no more
of the fruit of the vine,
Until that day
when I drink it new
in the Kingdom of God.
The account of the mystic Supper, in First Corinthians, belongs to the evolution of the Christian Mystery at a stage in the development of that mystery earlier than Justin, earlier even than the canonical edition of the first three Gospels but notably later than Paul and the apostolic age. It must be dated in the period when the common meal was in process of transformation into a simple liturgical act. The passage in question is a conscious attempt to further the transformation by giving it the apostolical authority of Paul. . . .
(Loisy, pp. 244f, my formatting and bolding)
Loisy suggests that the transformation was made some time in the late first century or early second century, towards, say, the time of Marcion (who esteemed Paul as his sole apostolic authority) in 140 CE.
That makes sense to me. In my earlier post I referred to early traditions, clearly in tension with the one we read in 1 Cor 11: 23-26, that speak of a Lord’s Supper as a happy fellowship occasion for thanksgiving and with no connection at all with mystic symbolism of blood and flesh.
But what of the canonical gospels? If the mystical ritual in Paul’s letter was not part of what Paul himself wrote, and if the earliest canonical gospel that of Mark, was (as some argue – Tarazi, Dykstra, R.G.Price) indebted to Paul’s ideas, how do we explain the gospel account of Jesus instituting that ceremony?
Another look at the Gospel of Mark, 14:22-25, gives us a clue:
22 And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body.
23 And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it.
24 And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.
25 Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God.
That passage contains confusions that only familiarity can hide from view. What follows is the essence of Loisy’s discussion.
The narrative has Jesus telling them what it is they are about to drink after it is all gone, after they have drunk it all. There is no more “this”, as Loisy points out. Matthew saw this slip and fixed it. Matthew 26:27-28
And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
That’s better. Wait for Jesus to explain its significance before they have a chance to gulp it all down.
But further, in Mark’s narrative when Jesus says “I will not drink it again until…” it appears that Jesus himself has just joined his disciples in drinking the blood that he was shedding for others! That’s clearly not right.
But the mystic words “this is my body,” “this is my blood” are inconsistent with the supposition that Jesus himself partook of the bread and wine, which would be tantamount to saying that he was mystically nourished by his own flesh and his own blood.
(Loisy, p. 250)
These words in Mark’s narrative come from an author who is thinking of the ritual eucharist he is accustomed to and has little thought for how his insertion mars the story flow. For Jesus to be suddenly speaking of his own flesh and blood in connection of the bread and wine would have made no sense to the original story characters — unless, they, too, were familiar with the later eucharist.
The key is in Mark 14:25 which we would expect to be preceded by a fellowship meal anticipating a new time of togetherness in the kingdom.
The overlaying of an earlier by a later version which is so apparent in Mark has an interest for the history of the Supper as well as for the criticism of the second Gospel. The first evangelical account of the Supper was one in which the meal was conceived as foreshadowing the banquet of the elect in the coming Kingdom, and not as a mystic and symbolical participation in the body and blood of the Christ taking place there and then. It is an old conjecture that the original story contained, in the place now occupied by “this is my body,” words analogous to those spoken over the wine: “I will eat no more bread,” etc., words which seem to have been preserved, with the substitution of “passover” for bread, in canonical Luke (xxii, 15-16). In the original story of the Supper, Jesus was not represented as formally instituting a rite. The Supper was presented as a dutiful repetition of the last meal, in which was condensed, so to say, the memory of the many meals taken by Jesus with his disciples, together with a perpetual reminder of his death. This primitive Supper was no repetition of Jesus’ death, but the recall of it in commemoration, and dominated throughout, as in the thought of Jesus himself, by an outlook towards the Great Event—in other words, an anticipation of the festival awaiting the elect in the Kingdom of heaven, accompanied by a lively sense of the invisible presence of Jesus who has died and was alive again. This type of the Supper was not confined to Jewish Christianity, but must have been the type common to both Hellenic and Jewish Christians for quite a long time. Needless to say this eschatological Supper did not suddenly give way to the mystical type outlined in First Corinthians. The approximate date would coincide with that of the modifications introduced into the Gospel books, or, let us say, the date when the Sunday Easter was substituted for the quartodeciman usage, and when the community meal ceased to be a meal and became a liturgy. This was not till after the year 70 and probably towards the end of the first century or the beginning of the second.
(Loisy, pp. 250f. My bolded highlighting)
There are other publications presenting similar points. Winsome Munro sees the passage as part of a much larger insertion of a “pastoral stratum”; Robert M. Price indicates the same in his version of the original text of Romans. And I have other works cited as presenting more detailed analysis that I expect to arrive in a few weeks.
But meantime, we have here Alfred Loisy’s reasons for thinking that the mystical rite of the eucharist found its way into Paul’s letter and the earliest gospel long after the ink on the originals had dried.
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31 thoughts on “The Two Steps to move the Lord’s Celebratory Supper to a Memorial of his Death”
Hmm, I think there is a consensus nowadays that in the text of Mark there is originally no “new” testament or covenant, but that is a contamination probably stemming from Luke that pops up in most mss of Byzantine type.
“New testament” does not appear in Mark, though. It’s been a long time since I looked at the Luke-Corinthians 11 textual arguments and must do so again.
I have a clue about your answer but you quoted “new” testament in the article twice, you could just strike the new.
I think that many people have tried to push the dating of various elements back as far as possible in the view that the later the dating of various elements the “less credible” they are. I don’t take that view at all. I don’t think early dating does anything to increase the credibility of passages.
But when I look at 1 Cor 11 and the Last Supper in Mark, those look so similar to me that I think the best explanation is that Mark copied from Paul. Given that there are many other clear examples of borrowing, this case is strong.
In order for that to be the case it must mean that Paul wrote 1 Cor 11 originally. I also think its important to use the translation “that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was *delivered up* took bread”. With this, the passage makes complete sense in the epistle and fits with teh context of other Pauline letters.
By my reading, the text of Mark is more similar to Paul than the texts of Matthew or Luke. Not only that, but how do you account for the whole scene in Mark? By my reading, the passage from Paul is REQUIRED as the basis for the narrative in Mark.
And this is the thing about my analysis – it all fits together like a jigsaw-puzzle, or rather a Jenga tower. If you remove one piece it falls apart. But I think the case I put together makes sense and explains many things in totality that are otherwise unexplainable, or at least otherwise unexplained. I’m not addressing these issues as isolated studies of individual passages or rituals, I’m seeing how ti all fits together into the context of everything.
If Paul’s passage didn’t come first then it means the author of Mark would had to have invented the scene on his own, but as I show, most of the scenes in that story have a literary basis, either from scriptures of Paul’s letters, so where would this narrative have come from then if not from 1 Cor 11? And if 1 Cor 11 is a later interpolation then its a horrible one. Why would a later interpolator say this information came from revelation as opposed to from James or Peter or something? And why would a later interpolator have used a phrase from Jesus sacrifice that Paul had also used in Romans? Why wouldn’t the interpolatior how made reference to Passover? I don’t see evidence that the later interpolators were so well studied. They were quite messy, like with the passage in 1 Cor 15, which is an obvious interpolation.
I think that many people have been unable to resolve many of these problems without resorting to “interpolation” as a way to explain things away. But the claims of later interpolation are overplayed and way too abundant. For every inconvenient passage opponents cry interpolation. What my work shows is that if you actually look carefully, such claims are unwarranted and indeed not needed.
And claiming that all these things developed late doesn’t really solve major problems. What I show is that explaining these things in their early context shows how belief in a real human Jesus developed early on. I think the evidence is clear that people believed in a human Jesus by the late first century. We can’t claim that all of these various elements developed late, for how then do we explain why people believed in a human Jesus so early? By accepting these elements as early, it shows how these elements are the building blocks of the belief in a human Jesus. So many others try to have it that belief in a human Jesus came first, then the trappings were added. I’m saying no, these elements came first and CAUSED belief in a human Jesus.
So I see many things as causes that many other mythicists or minimalists try to claim didn’t arise until AFTER belief in a human Jesus developed. I see things the opposite way. These things didn’t arise after belief in a human Jesus developed, these things led to belief in a human Jesus.
But does not Loisy have sound reasons for at least seeing problems with the 1 Cor 11:23-26 being original to the letter? In particular the implications of “till he come” for the mystic rite? I don’t think Loisy is resorting to the interpolation card because of what he sees as an “inconvenient passage” at all. That’s far from Loisy’s style. Ditto for the textual flow/contradiction problems (noticed by Matthew) in the Mark passage.
Loisy is not denying the similarity between the gospel and letter but attributing it to the similarity to the same source.
I don’t see Loisy’s view as a problem or contradiction of your own overall thesis.
But I think we raise greater problems if we treat our canonical versions of Paul and the gospel as their original forms.
I see his point, but its base on assumptions IMO. But if this were a later addition, then why wouldn’t the later interpolator have said “until he returns”? That’s the problem. It seems to me that if this were added later then the later addition would have been more in line with post-Gospel views, i.e. the later interpolator wouldn’t have said this was a revelation, would have mentioned Passover, would have said that he told it to his disciples, would have said it would be done until he returns instead of comes.
Yes, Paul thought Jesus’s coming was imminent, but why does that preclude such a ritual in the mean time? I also see this ritual as being based on the idea of transforming the immaterial to the material and making more sense in that view than as transforming the flesh of Jesus to food.
I think Paul would have written this because Paul was trying to adopt rituals and practices that were popular among other cults. He was taking practices that we popular and infusing them with his particular theology.
Also, Paul having written it, Mark copied it, then Matthew and Luke copied it from Mark is a clean simple explanation. If Paul didn’t write it then multiple edits done in very precise ways are required to account for it, which seems unlikely, especially given how poor many modifications to the texts are, like John 21 for example and 1 Cor 15 and several such others.
My understanding was that the 1 Cor 11:20-26 passage is directed at a practice that was an eschatological thanksgiving meal, a celebration of feasting in anticipation of the imminent coming of Jesus. This was the fellowship meal that the author of Mark knew and explained in his Last Supper scene. At the time Jesus ate and drank with them but said he would no more celebrate it until his return. Mark creates a narrative around the practice.
Had Paul in fact given the mystical ritual to the Corinthians in the beginning we have to explain the difficulty of why and how they could have so completely overthrown the ritual. (To depart from Loisy for a moment and turn to Munro, Paul’s instruction comes as part of a chain of other instructions that are perhaps best understood as a “pastoral stratum”, as a series of instructions meant to tame the practices that Paul’s churches bequeathed, and that are in language and tone comparable to the instructions in the Pastoral letters.)
Is it not odd, though, that if Mark was copying the canonical passage in 1 Cor that he implies Jesus also drank the wine and that he explained it as if before him when it was not before him? Are not such awkward details often indications of a redactor’s hand? Matthew and Luke notice Mark’s oddities and do not copy them.
I don’t understand your point about “multiple edits” needing to be “done in very precise ways” to account for the interpolation view, sorry. Perhaps you can clarify.
You could be right, by the way, and I must confess I am not taking Loisy’s side out of any deep personal conviction, but I do have some sympathy with the logic and detail of his argument and for that reason am not dismissing it either.
I think Mark’s treatment of the passage, assuming he copied it from Paul, is not much different than other cases, where things get changed up a bit. Look at the example I gave for the greatest commandment as well. Paul says that “love your neighbor as yourself” is “the greatest” commandment, whereas in Mark Jesus says that its the second of the greatest commandments.
Maybe I’m being sloppy, but I simply see it as the author of Mark wasn’t trying to create a religion, he was telling s story, and thus he felt freedom to alter and use the material how he saw fit. He wasn’t trying to create doctrine. He used Paul’s letters as inspiration, but he wasn’t bound by them.
As for Matthew and Luke, they were trying to create doctrine, so they were much more particular. As for multiple edits, I’m saying that if someone is suggesting that both Paul and Mark are later modifications, that’s a lot of redacting. But even if just Paul was redacted, it was redacted in a way that is closest to Mark in wording, if not intent, which seems odd. If they were redacting it, it seems they would have made the wording closets to Matthew or Luke.
The scenario set out by Loisy (as I understand him) and, in part, Munro, is that there was a school or body or single person representing such a group who did indeed have the works of Paul (and gospel/s) in front of them and were indeed introducing that “Pastoral stratum” throughout the letters, and GMark, somewhere between the late first century and early second. The authors of Matthew and Luke did work on and remove the narrative inconsistency in that version of Mark.
Either way its retconning and fan fic – how do bible scholars who are believers compartmentalize so much obvious contradiction and fiction?
Oh, also, in Mark’s version he has Jesus drink the wine to setup the literary allusion to Amos 2 about not drinking wine, in Mark 14:25. So that’s why Mark has Jesus participate in the eating and drinking, because he’s setting up for the literary allusion regarding the nazirite vow.
Any thoughts on alternative translations per the Septuagint (LXX)?
Amos 2:12 καὶ ἐποτίζετε τοὺς ἡγιασμένους οἶνον
• και ποτίσει τους ηγουμενους οινον (watered/wined the wise ones)
• και ποτίζεις τους ηγουμενους οινον (water/wine the holy ones)
• και εποτιζετε τους ηγιασμενους οινον (watered [i.e. adulterated] the sanctified wine)
ἡγιασμένους (igiasménous) appears to be similar to Strong’s 6918. Qadosh —sacred, holy.
Cf. Kiddush —blessing recited over wine.
I agree with your view that Mark was alluding to Amos and remain open to the possibility of the nazirite connection but I also think that all of that is entirely consistent with (certainly not inconsistent with) Loisy’s thesis.
Loisy is not denying a meal of some sort in the original Mark. But it is an eschatological meal, an anticipation of the kingdom.
It’s a possibility the nazirite/nazarene hypothesis pays of(I held it for a while), but I am not so sure any more after I read some observations made by Wieland Willker in his “A Textual Commentary on the Greek Gospels Vol. 2 Mark”. He indicates a possible connection with Amos 8:2, because of at least 3 manuscripts that carry a variant text of 14:25.
Look for yourself at http://www.willker.de/wie/TCG/TC-Mark.pdf
You can find more interesting stuff about variant readings of bible texts there, I use it a lot.
If that allusion fits, the meaning of the sentence changes drastically into Jesus ending a covenant with the disciples telling them no more fruit of the wine from me after tonight.
It follows up on my satirical story about Jesus and his gang falling out better, so I’ll follow that lead further.
“…a story relating the last meal of Jesus with his disciples in which preoccupation with the Great Event was the dominant feature.”
Assuming he is here referring to Paul’s account of the Eucharist, Loisy appears to be reading Paul through Gospel-tinted glasses.
Paul’s account says nothing of disciples. In fact so far as I can remember he refers to “apostles” but never to “disciples” at all. (In 1 Cor 15 he refers cryptically to the Twelve, but without giving any hint as to who the Twelve were. It is only our own familiarity with the Gospels that lead us to identifying the Twelve with the disciples.)
The Gospel account of the Last Supper fit it into an explicitly historical context (mythical or otherwise). We know what events preceded and what followed. We read of the upper room, and the preparations for Passover. The attendees are identified, and a partial transcript of the conversation is provided. Jesus predicts his own betrayal, and passes the bread and wine around the table.
None of these elements is present in Paul’s version. It is not at all clear to whom Jesus is speaking, unless directly to Paul in a vision. If the Last Supper was historical, then Paul presumably wasn’t present, but he could have heard about it from others. Yet elsewhere Paul insists that “the gospel which was preached by me is not man’s[b] gospel. 12 For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 1:11-12, RSV)
It seems likely to me that Paul invented the Eucharist story (or adapted it from a similar Mithraic ritual or something) as a received vision, or a celestial event known through revelation. Later the Gospel authors placed the story in the human world and added various embellishments to the narrative.
The eucharist does not derive from the last supper story, but from the feeding miracles earlier in the gospels. Only after a long road of corruption.
Already Jean Magne reconstructed in Logique des Sacrements a logical development from an early last supper story without mention of the bread and taking place in the house of the leper of Bethany before prep day, to the diversity of canonical accounts (including the variety of manuscripts of Luke).
Oh Klaus, once again the dogmatic assertion with no argument to persuade us! 😉 Please give us an argument.
There is a fundamental discrepance between the stories of the supper and the practice of the Catholic mass.
The supper of the synoptics and 1 Corintians 11 prescribes the pronunciation of distinct actions of grace for bread and cup; however, the priest places both bread and wine onto the table, then pronounces one action of grace which is valid for both of them. Frequently, the wine is not even distributed to the attendants of the mass; if it is, both of them are distributed together, not one after the other as according to the story of the last supper. So the stories of the last supper distinguish seven actions: Four to the bread, three to the cup; while the priest only performs four actions, all concerned with the bread (taking, expressing thanks, breaking, distributing), three of them also valid for the wine.
Switching etiological myths for an existing ritual is much easier than modifying habits. This already suggests that the wine is a secondary addition which could not be integrated smoothly when “Paul” and ths synoptics enforced its usage. This has already been outlined by William Robertson Smith in Lectures on the Religion of the Semites, a classic work on the history of the religions of the levante.
Bread-breaking is used as synonymous for the eucharist in various places of the NT, such as several times in the Acts of the Apostles (2:42, 2:46, 20:7, 27:35) and the Emmaus-tale of Luke.
I have received a copy of Magne’s chapter, “Les Paroles sur la Coupe” and am still reading through it (with only my undergraduate French and google translate to help me). Will follow up more of his and other works, thanks.
The wine being a minor annoyance, the communion reduces to the four steps to be performed by the celebrating minister: Taking the bread, thanking God for it, breaking the bread, and distributing it to the participants of the celebration. The very same steps ccan be found, back to back without any annoyance, in Mark 8:6.
After the feeding, Jesus sends the masses away (Mark 8:9). This is reflected in the fabulous last words of the Catholic mass: Ite, missa est! The word “mass” — in the sense of a Catholic celebration — is derived from this command.
Traditionally, the Catholic mass was only permitted in the morning, terminating the nightly fast. Since the second concilium of the Vatican, there are also masses during theday; but a certain minum time of fasting beforehand is still prescribed. (not that anyone can control it except in monsasteries) This is reflected in 8:1, where the people was found left without food.
Further, morning believers are given the bread of communion as a provision for they could pass out on their way home. This is reflected in Mark 8:3.
The leftovers are collected according to Mark 8:8, which corresponds to the Catholic practice of the Holy reserve.
Still, the food story of Mark 8 is nothing original by any stretch of the word, but it smel;ls fishy for more than the literal sense. That is, however, another story for another time.
Now we arrive at the point of the evolution where the last supper is postponed to preparation day. Yet the only thing it contains is the words of thanks for the cup, which he states to be his last one till drinking it again in the kingdom come. Matthew would subsequently clarify that Jesus would drink the next cup together with the apostles (in the kingdom to come); which Mark shoiuld have done as well, as he had already told them in another place that they will drink the same cup as he will.
Then the line leading to Luke parts with the others. Corresponding words are added concerning the paschal meat. In addition, the eschatological banquet is not invoked. Yet the context between the impending death of Jesus and the salvation/coming kingdom is strengthened.
Klaus, you should not allow anything of Matthew’s fog into the story. Mark was first and his complete sequence tells all. The pericope about James and John asking for the seats of honour has all allusions to the last supper you need in Mark alone. The wine(cup) the bread(baptism= dipping the bread) and even the preparations are all covered in it. Please look also at my remark made earlier(scroll a little way up to catch it)there are some early mss of Mark that seem to allude to Amos 8:2, the meaning then implying Jesus will pass by the disciples when he drinks the new wine again.
Next we come to the interpolated passage of 1 Cor 11:23-26.
For the purpose of reuniting the institution of cup and bread upon one opportunity for the gentile Christians, and to reverse the order of cup and bread in the Jewish Christian celebrations (as per Didache), the interpolator takes the institution of the bread, hitherto performed in the feeding miracles of Mk 8 and Mk 6, and inserts them into the primitive plot of the last supper which only contained the eschatological cup.
Thereby, also the symbolic meaning of bread and cup (of the miracles and the Didache) have changed significantly. No longer is the bread-breaking a symbol for the sharing of gnosis (knowledge), i.e. correct interpretation of scripture. The cup is seen as a symbol for the new covenant in the blood of the Christ. The arrival of a new cov has already been anticipated in Jeremiah and is confirmed in Hebrews. Likewise, the bread symbolizes the community of the Christians and its solidarity with Christ, according to 1 Cor 10:16. They become as one body.
It is important to realize that it is not the body of Christ that is considered as broken, only the bread. The same goes for blood versus wine. This explains why in Lk 22:20, blood is in the dative case, as opposed to ‘poured’, which is in the nominative case. Otherwise Moses’ rule against breaking the bones of the paschal lamb would be violated.
The common source of Mark and Matthew changes “This cup is my blood …” to “This is my blood …”, in analogy to Pseudo-Paul’s formula for the bread. This yields a “new covenant in (Jesus’) blood”. Further, “for you” is generalized to “for many”. Matthew even goes as far as seeing a cauusal connexion between the drinking of the Lord’s blood and the remission of sin; whereas the other synoptics make believe that the baptize of John is the cause of the remission of sin.
You are way ahead of me on all of this! Thanks.
Next we come to the integration of 1 Cor 11:23-26 into the proto-gospels, specifically the line leading to Luke.
This involves the insertion of the institutional actions on the bread, as well as the redefinition of the cup.
Here, the manuscriupts of Luke differ significantly.
In a first step, the insertion of the bread was performed always after the eschatological words on the paschal meat, but either before or after the existing eschatological cup. Some manuscripts stayed at this stage, such as the Curetonian version, which inserted the bread before the eschatological cup; some other manuscripts who uinserted the bread after the cup, also stayed at that stage.
Next, many manuscript also introduced the bloody cup of Pseudo-Paul.
The syriac version of Sinaï, for example, is closest to Mark’s in that it inserts the bloody words between the action on the cup and the eschatological words. The syriac peshitta, on the other hand, entirely drops the eschatological words in favour of thoise of the covenant.
The received version inserts the bread after the eschatological cup; and it is distinguished by containing two cups, the eschatological cup (of the precursor story) and the cup of the covenant (of pseudo-Paul). The version of Syrsin, on the other hand, applies both the eschatoloigical and the bloody words to the very same cup.
Now it’s time for the modifications made in the common source of Mark and Matthews in order to accomodate the words of pseudo-Paul.
Three clumsy interpolation can be readily identified in the text of the last supper according to these gospels. The first concerns the announce of the brtrayal and is not our concern here. The second concerns trhe addition of words about the bread, while the third adds the bloody words to the already existing statement about the last cup.
This patchwork character of the story explains several absurdities and troubles:
Jesus pronounces a blessing for the bread, but an eucharist for the wine.
Jesus repeats the actions for the wine which also appear for nthe bread, as opposed to Pseudo-Paul’s “and the same for the cup”.
Bread should not appear at all during passover meals, but azymes.
Jesus says “This is my blood …” although the cup has already been drained by the apostles.
Jesus appears not to drink himself from the cup, which lessens the institutional value of the event.
The cup does not even seem to concern the apostles. (This is corrected in Matthew).
The differences between Mark and Matthew are rather instyle than in content.
Finally, Justin Marytyr simplifired the formular in his First Apology, 66. This prepares the way for the ultimative dogm of transsubstantiation.
Onward to Mark 14 and the interpolatedness of verses 10 till 24, barring the first half (the speech tag) of verses 22 and 23. (While eating, after having taken a cup, he said)
By this elimination, we arrive at an eschatological statement dated to the day before preparation day and a meal at the house of Simon the leprous in Bethany. The preceding statement about the work of the unspecified woman is a precise allusion to the impending death and burial, for which he was embalmed by the woman, according to the prescriptions made in the Book of Tobit. The envisioned interpolation breaks the immediacy between this allusion and the subsequent words on the last cup. The elimination of the interpolation makes the passion follow as fast as possible the act of embalming, as it should be.
Church tradition and the received gospels tried hard to break this context; as a consequence, the deed of the embalming woman (thought as one with a bad repudation) appears now–against the words of Mark 14:9–all but irrelevant. John lets the actual embalming be enacted upon Jesus by Nicodemus, at a much later point.
As a consequence of the dating of the eschatological cup before preparation day, the execution of Jesus can co-occur with the slaughter of the lambs; whence Jesus can be seen as the sacrificial lamb of God which nulls the sins of mankind, as seen in 1 Corinthians 5:7. It also stays compatible with Mark 15:42 f, where Joseph of Arimathea negotiates with the Roman admins on preparation day about the corpse of the moribund Christ.
Is the following correct?
• Jewish communal meals at which bread and wine were sanctified and shared were commonplace to some groups.
• Christian communal meals (with no theological elements of blood and flesh) at which bread and wine were sanctified and shared were commonplace to some groups.