Ep21: What Is Communion?

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4 thoughts on “Ep21: What Is Communion?

  1. I listened to the episode over the weekend. Early in the lesson you mention that the ancients thought that the symbol participated in the thing symbolized, which makes sense based on Paul’s use in 1 Cor 10:16. Are there sources that flesh this out more? I would like to do more reading on it.

    • Steve,

      On ancient views of symbol, I’d suggest the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy’s entry on the metaphysics of Platonism (https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/platonism/). More particularly, I recommend Alan Ross Anderson, “What Do Symbols Symbolize? Platonism”, Philosophica Mathematica 1-11, 1/2 (1974): 11-29. On the symbolic within early Christianity, see Frances Young, Biblical Exegesis and the Formation of Christian Culture (Baker, 2002), and Bernard Cooke and Gary Macy, Christian Symbol and Ritual: An Introduction (Oxford, 2005) (I don’t have either of these with me right now, otherwise I’d give more specific page numbers, sorry).

      If I didn’t mention this in the podcast, I say it here: talking about symbolism in this way is more a historical and cultural argument than anything specifically theological. That is, it’s an attempt to place ourselves back “into” the worldview of the ancient and understand how they would have interpreted what to our minds is symbolic.

      I hope that’s helpful. Thanks, JJP

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