The Eucharist Problem: John versus Paul

It will be my suggestion that John, writing about a half-century after Paul, preserved a pre-Pauline form of the Eucharist teaching and that Paul’s revelation is a radical reinterpretation and explanation of what Jesus must have meant when he delivered the version preserved by John.

By Gary Greenberg
President of the Biblical Archaeology Society of New York
June 2019

In 1 Corinthians 11:23–26, Paul introduces a puzzling problem about the Eucharist ceremony. He begins by saying, “For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread…” and then describes what has become the traditional understanding of the Eucharist ceremony. Before drilling down into that teaching, let me explain the initial difficulty.

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