A couple of days ago a reader asked me a question in connection with something I had said about the early second-century Christian text, the Didache, and its instructions about how the Lord’s supper was supposed to be celebrated. Here is what I said:
“When they celebrate the Eucharist they are first to bless the cup with a prayer that the author provides and then to bless the broken bread, with another set prayer (9:1–4). This way of celebrating the Lord’s Supper by starting with the cup and ending with the bread has long puzzled scholars, since the typical practice of the early Christians appears to be reflected in the New Testament accounts of the Last Supper, where Jesus distributes first the bread and then the cup”
This led a reader to ask:
Does this relate to Luke 22:17-20 where the author has Jesus take the cup, then take the bread, then take the cup again?
Ah, it is a good question. Many readers will not know that there is a major textual variant in Luke 22:19-20, Luke’s account of the Lord’s Supper. By way of background, there are four accounts of Jesus’ institution of the Lord’s Supper: it can be found in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians (11:22-24). Of these four accounts, Matthew and Mark are very similar to each other; so too Luke and Paul are similar to each other (and are different from the accounts of Matthew and Mark).
You can read the accounts for yourself to get a sense of them. None of them is …
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