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The Father William Most Collection

Bruce Chilton: Bible Review, Dec. 1994, p. 4

In the "First glance" review of articles:

Bruce Chilton: "Just hours after the Last Supper, Jesus was arrested and brought before the high priest Caiaphas as a criminal. Religious authorities could have seized Jesus even earlier, after he attempted to throw the merchants out of the Jerusalem Temple. They were spurred to act only later, however, apparently by something that happened at the Last supper. What did Jesus say, do or eat at this meal to make it his last? The answer lies in one of the best-known speeches of the New Testament, "Take, Eat, this is my body....This is my blood." Jesus' words have been invoked over the centuries during the Christian Eucharist, the ritual meal of bread and wine that symbolizes unity with Jesus. But despite their familiarity, these words have been misunderstood for nearly 2,000 years,writes Bruce Chilton, in 'The Eucharist: Exploring Its Origins', p.36. Most Christians believe that the words refer to Jesus' own body and blood. Not so, says Chilton. Unable to reform the Jerusalem Temple sacifices, Jesus used his meal as a substitute offering, thereby undermining Temple practices and jeopardizing his life."

COMMENTS: How could the high priest have known what Jesus aid at the Last supper? Judas had made up his mind to betray long before, and the pharisees had planned long before to kill him. Chilton discards all of the Gospel narrative. He offers no evidence for his fancy that this is what Jesus meant.

The follow-up article by Bernhard Lang agrees with Chilton: "When Jesus adopted bread and wine as substitutes for the flesh and blood of Temple sacrifices, he incorporated a presentation formula that had been long uttered by priests performing sacrifices at the Temple, argues Bernhad Lang, in 'The Eucharist - a Sacrificial Formula preserved.' p.44." - He means the priest said in effect: This is the body, or animal, of so-and so, who has given it for sacrifice.

Lang wants to cite Lev 1.4 and 3.2-- but neither has any such "presentation formula". Lang also invokes Mishnah Zebahim 2.1 and Mishnah Pesahim 5.5.

END

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