Buchempfehlung: Eucharistie und Letztes Abendmahl

Veröffentlicht auf von Markus Tymister

Buchempfehlung: Eucharistie und Letztes Abendmahl

Eine der beachtenswertesten Studien zur Eucharistie der neuesten Zeit wurde erstellt von P. F. Bradshaw und M. E. Johnson, The Eucharistic Liturgies. Their evolution and interpretation, SPCK, Collegeville, Minnesota 2012.

Beide Autoren lehren Liturgie an der University of Notre Dame, USA. Paul Bradshaw ist Ehrenkanoniker der Episkopalen Diözese von Northern Indiana und Vikar an Westminster Abbey. Maxwell Johnson ist Pastor der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Kirche in Amerika. Die Studie stellt die Ursprünge der Eucharistie und ihre Entwicklung bis zum heutigen Tag dar. Im Gegensatz zu vielen ähnlichen Publikationen dieser Art, umfasst sie auch eine Einführung in die Liturgien des christlichen Ostens und eine zusammenfassende Darstellung ihrer Entwicklung und untersucht zudem die unterschiedlichen westlichen Riten (die ambrosianische, gallikanische und altspanische Liturgie). Unter den verschiedenen aufgegriffenen Themen behandeln die Autoren auch die Fragestellungen, die seit der Reformation des 16. Jahrhunderts immer wieder im Mittelpunkt der ökumenischen Auseinandersetzungen stehen: die Realpräsenz (einschließlich der Konsekration von Brot und Wein) und das eucharistische Opfer.

Im dem hier zitierten Kapitel legen die Autoren neueste Überlegungen zu der seit G. Dix (1945) angenommenen These von der Existenz eines einzigen apostolischen Archetypus der Eucharistie, von der spätere eucharistische Liturgien abstammten, vor (Quelle: Bradshaw - Johnson, The Eucharistic Liturgies, 19-24):


The pioneers of modern liturgical Scholarship in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries generally presumed that Jesus would have left precise instructions to his disciples as to what they were to say and do when they continued the practice established by him at the Last Supper, and so by comparing ancient liturgies with one another it ought to be possible to discover from what was common to them all the core elements that went back to apostolic times. This was never an easy task, because these ancient rites varied so much from one another, and it became increasingly difficult to maintain the thesis as more evidence for early Eucharistic practices emerged in the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It began to seem as if there had never been a single apostolic archetype from which later Eucharistic rites, and especially their prayers, had descended. Some scholars dealt with this difficulty by admitting that there might have been two or more distinct traditions, others by denying that some primitive texts, especially the Didache, were genuine Eucharistic rites at all, and others by a combination of both lines of argument.

It was the Anglican Benedictine scholar Gregory Dix who—in his fat volume The Shape of the Liturgy, first published in 1945—enabled the traditional theory of a single origin for all later mainstream Eucharistic practice to survive, albeit in a modified form. He argued that what went back to the Last Supper was not a form of prayer as such but a pattern of ritual action that was faithfully followed by subsequent generations of Christians:

"The New Testament accounts of that supper as they stand in the received text present us with what may be called a “seven-action scheme” of the rite then inaugurated. Our Lord (1) took bread; (2) “gave thanks” over it; (3) broke it; (4) distributed it, saying certain words. Later He (5) took a cup; (6) “gave thanks” over that; (7) handed it to His disciples, saying certain words. […] With absolute unanimity, the liturgical tradition reproduces these seven actions as four: (1) The offertory; bread and wine are “taken” and placed on the table together. (2) The prayer; the president gives thanks to God over bread and wine together. (3) The fraction; the bread is broken. (4) The communion; the bread and wine are distributed together. In that form and in that order these four actions constituted the absolutely invariable nucleus of every Eucharistic rite known to us throughout antiquity from the Euphrates to Gaul." (G. Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy, 48)

Today, Dix’s theory would be challenged by a good number of scholars, not only for tying the origin of the Eucharist too closely to the Last Supper—a view he shared with almost every earlier liturgical historian—but also because it simply is not the case that all early Eucharistic meals followed either a sevenfold or a fourfold shape, a view that can be sustained only by refusing to accept any testimony to the contrary.[1] As we have seen, for a proper understanding of the roots of Christian Eucharistic practice, the Last Supper needs to be set within the broader context both of the conventional meal patterns of the culture of the time and also of the other meals that Jesus and his first followers seem to have shared, including of his miraculous feeding of large crowds. It is also important to note that, like the Didache, by no means all of the other early references to Christian meals link them to his sayings about bread and cup being his body (or flesh) and blood, and that even of those that do so, most make no explicit reference to the occasion of the Last Supper and view the Eucharistic elements as life-giving and spiritually nourishing rather than in sacrificial terms, as we shall see in more detail in the next chapter. Indeed, the Fourth Gospel itself locates Jesus’ saying about bread being his flesh in connection with one of the miraculous feedings and not in connection with the Last Supper or his death, and so speaks of it primarily in terms of life and nourishment: “the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world. […] I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. […] I am the living bread that came down from heaven; if any eat of this bread, they will live for ever” (John 6:33, 35, 51).[2] It looks, therefore, as though the association with the Last Supper that is made by Paul and the writers of the Synoptic Gospels did not become widely established for some time. This in turn helps explain why many Christian meals bore no resemblance to the pattern of the Last Supper and were weekly rather than annual events with their celebration unrelated to the day of the week on which that supper was said to have occurred.

Even in the Synoptic accounts of the Last Supper there are signs that the sayings over bread and cup have been grafted onto an earlier Version of the narrative of a final Passover meal of which they formed no part and which had previously centered on a conversation about betrayal and the eschatological saying, “I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine.” Clues that the words over bread and cup may be an Insertion are provided in Mark 14 by the repetition of “as they were eating” (vv. 18 and 22) and also of the cup being drunk before the interpretative words about it are said (subsequently amended in Matthew’s Version from the narrative statement, “they all drank of it,” to the command, “Drink of it, all of you”; Matt 26:27). If the interpretative sayings are bracketed, as here, a perfectly intelligible narrative is left:

17And when it was evening, he came with the twelve. 18And as they were at table eating, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” 19They began to be sorrowful, and to say to him one after another,”ls it I?” 20He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread in the same dish with me. 21For the Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” [22And as they were eating, he took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.”] 23And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. 24And he said to them, “[This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.] 25Truly, I say to you, I shall not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”

Something similar also seems to have been the case in the independent account of the Passover meal in Luke 22, which, though the order is different, follows a similar line in focusing on the eschatological theme and the conversation about betrayal. […]

Thus, the Last Supper version of the Eucharistic sayings of Jesus may not have been as dominant in first-century Christianity as the existence of four accounts of it in the New Testament books may tempt us to suppose. Paul in I Corinthians ii may even have been the originator of the tradition of associating Jesus’ sayings about the bread and cup being his body and blood with the Last Supper and consequently giving them a sacrificial Interpretation, which was later taken up in Mark’s gospel and through that in Matthew and Luke. He is certainly the first witness we have to the idea that the Christian meal is therefore a commemoration of Christ’s passio: “as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (I Cor 11:26). Ali this, Paul claims, is something that he “received from the Lord” (I Cor 11:23), but it is also part of his wider understanding of the Christian meal as, in some sense, constituting a communion-sacrifice:

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. Consider Israel according to the flesh: are not those who eat the sacrifices sharing in the altar? […] You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. (I Cor 10:16-18, 21)

Although, as we shall see, the concept of sacrifice came to play an increasingly significant part in the Interpretation of the Eucharist among Christians, this particular Old Testament model soon faded away, with the result that in later centuries the need to receive communion ceased to be thought as an essential part of the rite.

[1] See, for example, Bryan D. Spinks, “Miss-shapen: Gregory Dix and the Four-Action Shape of the Liturgy”, Lutheran Quarterly 4 (1990): 161-77.

[2] Many scholars judge the material that follows this extract, which refers also to the blood of Christ, to be a later interpolation. For a summary of the debate, see Francis J. Moloney, The Johannine Son of Man, 2nd ed. (Rome: Libreria Ateneo Salesiano, 1978), 93ff.; and also Margaret Daly-Denton, “Water in the Eucharistic Cup: A Feature of the Eucharist in Johannine Trajectories through Early Christianity”, Irish Theological Quarterly 72 (2007): 356-70.

Veröffentlicht in Eucharistie, Buchempfehlung

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