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Ascetic Eucharists – Food and Drink in Early Christian Ritual Meals - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Ascetic Eucharists: Food and Drink in Early Christian Ritual Meals

Andrew McGowan


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 also involved rejection of ... More

Keywords: early Eucharist, bread, wine, Jesus, diversity, cheese, milk, salt, vegetables, pagan sacrifice

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 1999 Print ISBN-13: 9780198269724
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198269724.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Andrew McGowan, author
Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, Massachusetts