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The vast majority of movements and theologians in Christian history would affirm what has been said so far. The twin dangers all of them face are reducing Christ’s presence to either the material or the spiritual dimension. Differences arise because faithfulness to Christ’s promise of his presence at the breaking of bread was shaped by larger theological and pastoral controversy and the geographic and philosophic contexts in which they were played out. My goal in this inquiry is to probe parallel ways of describing Christ’s presence in the Eucharist. In the fourth century, the Eucharistic theologies of Ambrose and Augustine were held to be complementary. In the ninth century, their rearticulation in the writings of Radbertus and Ratramnus were seen as incompatible. But affirming the former and negating the latter did not end the debate concerning the Lord’s Supper. It still left the church with a burning question: By what criteria must the adequacy of parallel Eucharistic theologies be measured? I want to begin by sketching the development of eucharistic theologies in the patristic, medieval, and reformation eras, with attention to Pilgram Marpeck, an Anabaptist theologian. Then again, in outline form, I want to look at three twentieth-century sacramental theologians, F. J. Leenhardt, Edward Schillebeeckx, and George Hunsinger, as well as the 1982 ecumenical breakthrough consensus text, Baptism, Eucharist, and Ministry. Before I proceed, I want to ask a preliminary question prompted by a recent encounter. I had recently invited my Anglican colleague at the Toronto School of Theology, Ephraim Radner, to lecture to my seminar on Eucharist/Lord’s Supper in Ecumenical Perspective. In the discussion afterward a student raised the question of what constituted a faithful Supper. “Doing what Jesus did,” was Radner’s answer. We pushed him on what he meant. He said that taking bread and wine and praying with the words of institution, in the power of the Spirit for the presence of Jesus, then giving the meal to those gathered for it. We pushed him again. Isn’t a theological description of what is being done necessary? He said “No,” adding, of course, that theological teaching on the nature of the Eucharist is essential for the church. But what unites us as the body of Christ is simply doing what Jesus did. My methodology for this inquiry is primarily theological and only secondarily concerned with the enactment of ritual but I will carry Radner’s challenge with me into my work.

Motifs from Church History As early as the Gospel of John, the apostolic church struggled with spiritualistic and physicalist interpretations of Jesus as the bread of life (chapter 6). As Christian reflection more fully entered the world of Greek thought, it turned to philosophical concepts to describe the relationship between the meal of bread and wine and the body and blood of Christ. The most famous of the Fathers in the West to do so were Ambrose and Augustine. William Crockett is struck by two aspects of their eucharistic thought. One is that their language is significantly different, Ambrose being a “metabolic realist” and Augustine being a “symbolic realist.”1 Yet both of them were based on a similar belief about the incarnation. The other noteworthy aspect is that we have no record of contention between these two approaches. 110 NAAL Proceedings

North American Academy of Liturgy Proceedings 2014  

The North American Academy of Liturgy (NAAL) (http://www.naal-liturgy.org/) is an ecumenical and interreligious association of liturgical sc...

North American Academy of Liturgy Proceedings 2014  

The North American Academy of Liturgy (NAAL) (http://www.naal-liturgy.org/) is an ecumenical and interreligious association of liturgical sc...