“What is striking is that these prayers do not at all pick up the theme from the synoptic gospels and Paul that the Lord’s Supper relates closely the crucifixion of Jesus. There is no mention of the bread being the broken body or the wine being poured out blood. There is no mention of anything related to the passion story.
“The Didache’s prayers say that the cup represents the vine of David and that the bread represents how grain growing in scattered places comes together to form one loaf just as the community has been gathered from the ends of the earth (the gentile mission) into God’s kingdom. There is what might seem like a spiritualistic or gnostic tendency. Eucharistic prayers thank God for ‘ life and knowledge’ revealed in Jesus and for ‘knowledge, faith, and immortality’ given through Jesus, the servant.”
I have to go back to the discussion of baptism in the Didache community that I covered in my last post about Aaron Milavec’s The Didache: Text, Translation, Analysis, and Commentary. He gives us a scenario where the community meets together after fasting for baptisms. My impression is that the community would be concentrated in a locality.
But the instructions about baptism imply that sometimes the community had a river or stream with running water nearby, sometimes a pool or bath with standing water, and sometimes very little water at all. This seems to me to count against the concentration of the community. Was the document used in widely scattered groups some of whom lived in cities, some in monastery-like compounds, and some in really primitive and arid places? I am not saying that this negates Milavec’s interpretation, but that it gives a different impression than I have gotten so…
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