Ascetic Eucharists: Food and Drink in Early Christian Ritual Meals

Hardcover | June 3, 1999

byAndrew McGowan

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The early Eucharist has usually been seen as sacramental eating of token bread and wine in careful or even slavish imitation of Jesus and his earliest disciples. In fact the evidence suggests great diversity in its conduct, including the use of foods, in the first few hundred years.Eucharistic meals involving cheese, milk, salt, oil, and vegetables are attested, and some have argued that even fish was used. The most significant exception to using bread and wine, however, was a `bread-and-water' Christian meal, an ancient ascetic form of the Eucharist. This tradition alsoinvolved rejection of meat from general diet, and reflected the concern of dissident communities to avoid the cuisine - meat and wine - characteristic of pagan sacrifice. This study describes and discusses these practices fully for the first time, and provides important new insights into theliturgical and social history of early Christianity.

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The early Eucharist has usually been seen as sacramental eating of token bread and wine in careful or even slavish imitation of Jesus and his earliest disciples. In fact the evidence suggests great diversity in its conduct, including the use of foods, in the first few hundred years.Eucharistic meals involving cheese, milk, salt, oil, a...

Andrew McGowan is at University of Notre Dame, Australia

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Format:HardcoverPublished:June 3, 1999Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198269722

ISBN - 13:9780198269724

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`This study... is a fascinating contribution to the study of eucharistic developments. The book... is a useful catalogue of a wide range of early Christian and collateral material... this resource for taking a new and more differentiated look at early eucharistic development makes an importantcontribution.'Jeffrey Gros, Worship, May 2000