Beyond the Body: An Antitheology of the Eucharist
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- salvation theory; theology; Christianity; philosophy; anti-theology; antitheology; History of Christianity; Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion
The Eucharist has become the central act of Christian life and worship. Unresolved disagreements about it, however, remain as obstacles to religious unity, and to developing a eucharistic spirituality adapted to the unpredictable standards of a deconstructed, critically driven, postmodern age. Beginning with a reassessment of medieval "realist" doctrines of the Eucharist, Beyond the Body argues that the real meaning of the Words of Institution is their use in fulfilling the Last Supper command of Jesus to be remembered. Where traditional doctrines of the Eucharist and their corresponding forms of piety dead-end in intellectual conundrum or disembodied symbolism, that command evokes a world of transformative events with the historical Jesus of the Last Supper as real and constant partner. As an "antitheology" the task of this book is to sketch the intellectual footprint of a nonmetaphysical eucharistic faith. Setting aside traditional approaches, however, will have been worth it only if this enables a eucharistic belief that meets the needs of and is fruitful for religious life in general. Its ultimate goal is to refocus eucharistic piety on the liturgical act itself as a transformative event united in time with the person of Jesus in both remembrance and thanksgiving.