The Eucharist: Origins and Contemporary Understandings
A constructive theology of the Eucharist, overcoming current divisions by bringing insights of historical research into the systematic-theological discourse.
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Description of this Book
Theological reflection upon the Eucharist is dominated by two paradigms: One approach interprets the Eucharist almost exclusively in theological terms, shaped by Scholasticism and the Reformation. Most discussions about the nature of the Eucharist, eucharistic presence or the role of the priest follow these categories, even if they come in modern disguise. The other reads the Eucharist as an event which can be explored empirically. O'Loughlin develops a new understanding of the Eucharist. This can be done by looking afresh at the historical evidence and bringing it in dialogue with modern theology. In the past decades, historical research and new discoveries have changed our view of the origins and the development of the Eucharist. By bringing history into a fruitful dialogue with sacramental and liturgical theology, he shows not only ways how theology and practice can be brought closer together again, but also how current ecumenical divisions can be overcome. His book makes an important contribution to eucharistic theology, both for individual church traditions as well as for ecumenical dialogues.
Awards, Reviews & Star Ratings
||In this thought-provoking book, O'Loughlin challenges us to re-calibrate our inherited presuppositions about the Eucharist so that we prioritise it first and foremost as a meal among Jesus' friends at which thanks is given to the Father. This, he suggests, will correct the theological and ritual impasse in which the churches find themselves and will be closer to the intentions expressed in the earliest evidence for Christian Eucharistic practice. As usual, O'Loughlin argues his case with a freshness and mastery of the sources which will encourage thoughtful reflection by scholars and church people alike. Juliette J. Day, University of Helsinki, Finland O'Loughlin's ability to juxtapose elements harvested from his wide-ranging knowledge and to reflect profoundly on their implications for the understanding and practice of the Eucharist today means that virtually every page of this work is deeply thought-provoking, even in those places where a reader might disagree with him. Paul Bradshaw, University of Notre Dame, USA
Thomas O'Loughlin is professor of historical theology in the University of Nottingham, UK. His research has focused on the theology of the early medieval period, and on the works of insular writers in particular.