Tradition has assumed that the Lord's Supper was "instituted" by Jesus on the night of Holy Thursday as a memorial of his impending death on Good Friday. Recent scholarship tells us, however, that this assumption must be carefully qualified. The way in which Jesus taught the church to celebrate his Supper was actually far more complex. This investigation reveals that the earliest celebrations of the Lord's Supper were memorials of Jesus' Resurrection, not his death. Only later, because of an urgent pastoral problem, did the early church decide to join the memory of Jesus' death to her original celebration of his Resurrection. In the final chapter, Perry answers specific questions raised by the contemporary understanding of the Lord's Supper.
About the Author
John Michael Perry is a professor of Religious Studies at Stritch College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.