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Session 3 Anglican Eucharistic Theology. Some case studies. Thomas Cranmer - 1489-1556.

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Session 3 anglican eucharistic theology
Session 3Anglican Eucharistic Theology

  • Some case studies

Thomas cranmer 1489 1556
Thomas Cranmer - 1489-1556

  • ‘The force, the grace, the virtue, the benefit of Christ’s body that was crucified for us, and of his blood that was shed for us, be really and effectually present with them that duly receive the sacraments: but all this understand of his spiritual presence ... Nor no more is he corporally or really present in the due ministration of the Lord’s Supper’ (Answer, 1844: 3)

Thomas cranmer
thomas cranmer

  • ‘As we see with our eyes and eat with our mouths very bread, and see also and drink very wine, so we lift our hearts unto heaven, and with our faith we see Christ crucified with our spiritual eyes, and his flesh thrust through with the spear, and drink his blood springing out of his side with our spiritual eyes of faith’ (Answer, 1844: 317)

  • In Cranmer’s scheme Christ can only be present (physically) in heaven and really present nowhere else in no other way - such an empirical view prevents any real presence on earth in the Eucharist

Thomas cranmer1
thomas cranmer

  • ‘So that although we see and eat sensibly very bread and very wine, and spiritually eat and drink Christ’s flesh and blood, yet may we not rest there, but lift our minds to the deity, without the which his flesh availeth nothing, as he said himself’ (Answer, 1844: 317)

  • Earthly eating and drinking and heavenly communion are two self-enclosed activities - no realism - sign and signified separated

Nicholas ridley c 1500 1555
Nicholas Ridley c.1500-1555

  • ‘The Lamb is in heaven, according to the verity of the body: and here he is with is in a mystery, according to this power; not corporally’ (Works, 1841: 248)

  • ‘The heavenly Lamb is, as I confess, on the Table, but by a spiritual presence by grace, and not after any corporal substance of His flesh taken of the Virgin Mary’ (249)

Nicholas ridley
Nicholas Ridley

  • ‘I grant that the priest holdeth the same thing, but after another manner. She [Mary holding Christ in her womb] did hold the natural body; the priest holdeth the mystery of the body’ (251) - sophisticated philosophical reflection - instantiation of a universal nature? Reconsider Ridley?

  • In the Eucharist ‘we eat life and drink life’ receiving ‘the virtue of the very flesh of Christ’ (Examination, 1966: 314)

Richard hooker c 1554 1600
Richard Hooker c.1554-1600

  • Sacraments are ‘the medicine that does cure the world’ (V, lvii, 5)

  • ‘The grace of the sacrament is here as food which we eat and drink’ (V, lxvii, 1)

  • For Hooker sacraments no mere signs but confer grace by participation in reality

The 1549 book of common prayer
the 1549 book of common Prayer

  • Retained much Catholic flavour - words, canon, ornaments

  • epiclesis and anamnesis suggestive of realism

  • ‘bl+esse and sanc+tifie these thy giftes and creatures of bread and wyne, that they may be unto us the bodye and bloude of thy most dearly beloved Sonne Jesus Christ’

  • NB ‘may be unto us’ not ‘become’ as in Sarum Missal

But in 1549 bcp
BUT in 1549 BCP

  • ‘partaking’ of Holy Communion not bread/wine

  • ‘offering’ related to prayers not gifts

  • Sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving only

  • Oblation qualified with once offered

  • However - memorial of Christ made ‘with these holy gifts’ of bread and wine

1552 book of common prayer
1552 Book of common prayer

  • Traditional aspects mostly removed - more Reformed theology

  • Canon broken up - no epiclesis

  • Offering of thanks and praise for a completed event emphasised

1552 bcp
1552 BCP

  • Institution narrative becomes central with bread and wine consumed immediately - ministration becomes focus of a faithful, heavenly and spiritual reception

  • Words of administration less definite - ‘Take eat/drink this’ without defining ‘this’

  • Thankful remembrance central rather than presence, sacrifice, change

1559 book of common prayer
1559 book of common prayer

  • Words of administration combine 1549 and 1552

  • Ornaments Rubric restored: ‘And the chancels shall remain as they have done in times past ... such ornaments of the Church, and of the Ministers ... shall be retained, and be in use, as were in this Church of England by the Authority of Parliament, in the Second Year of the Reign of King Edward the Sixth’ i.e. 1549

John and charles wesley
John and charles wesley

  • 1745 - published a collection of hymns called ‘Hymns on the Lord’s Supper’ - some excerpts are useful

  • ‘The tokens of thy dying love

  • O let us all receive

  • And feel the quickening Spirit move,

  • And sensibly believe’ (Hymn 30)

John and charles wesley1
john and charles wesley

  • ‘Draw near ye blood-bespeckled race,

  • And take what vouchsafes to give

  • The outward sign of inward grace,

  • Ordain’d by Christ Himself, receive:

  • The sign transmits the signified,

  • The grace is by the means applied’ (Hymn 71)

John and charles wesley2
John and charles wesley

  • ‘Come Holy Ghost, Thine influence shed

  • And realise the sign

  • Thy life infuse into the bread;

  • Thy power into the wine’ (Hymn 72)

John and charles wesley3
John and charles wesley

  • ‘We need not now go up to heaven,

  • to bring the long-sought Saviour down;

  • Thou art to all already given,

  • Thou dost even now Thy banquet crown:

  • And show Thy real presence here!’ (Hymn 116)

John and charles wesley4
john and charles wesley

  • ‘To Thee thy passion we present,

  • Who for our ransom dies

  • We reach by this great Instrument

  • Th’ eternal sacrifice.

  • The Lamb as crucified afresh

  • Is held out to Men,

  • The tokens of Blood and Flesh

  • Are on this Table seen’ (Hymn 126)

Edward pusey 1800 1882
Edward pusey - 1800-1882

  • In his Lectures on Types and Prophecies (1836) he argued for types (particular signs) and archetypes (signified universals) in a realist framework saying:

  • ‘God has appointed, as it were, a sort of sacramental union between the type and the archetype, so that the type were nothing, except in so far as it represents, and is the medium of conveying the archetype to the mind, so neither can the archetype be conveyed except through the type’ (Lectures, 1836: 23)

Edward pusey1
edward pusey

  • ‘God has joined them together [type and archetype], and man may not and cannot put them asunder. We think ourselves in no danger of the fleshy system [immoderate realism] which clung to the type, without looking to the archetype; but in truth, in looking to separate the archetype from the type by this pseudo-spiritual system we are adding this error to that which is more peculiarly our own’ (Lectures, 1836: 23)

Incarnation central
incarnation central

  • ‘For whereas the type never did exist for itself but always bearing the character of the Archetype impressed upon it, we by separating it therefrom, do as thoroughly empty it of its meaning, as they who saw nothing in it beyond its outward form. The pseudo-spiritualist and the carnal man alike see in the water, the bread and the wine nothing but the bare element, and thereby each alike deprives himself of the benefit intended for him: the carnal would live on bread alone, the pseudo-spiritual without it’ (Lectures, 1836: 23)

Paul zahl
paul zahl

  • Works from a position denying realism and what he calls ‘objectification’

  • ‘Bible religion knows nothing about a God who can be found out or made out from our side of things’ (A Short Systematic Theology, 2000: 5)

Paul zahl1
paul zahl

  • Describes the idea that ‘Christ is objectively present in the “elements” of the eucharist’ as ‘thinking equivalent to magical thinking’ (26) and comparable to voodoo!

  • Reject sacramental principle in relation to sacraments and idea that Christ is present through words of the Bible (27-30)

  • Linguistic and sacramental objectification is a human activity which God does not use

Paul zahl2
paul zahl

  • Christ is present in tangible manner of not at all - ‘we live, rather, in the presence of his absence’ (35)

  • ‘We are required to give up all ideas of sacred time and space’ (30)

  • ‘Objectification is out! God has never existed in forms, save during a short period of time from roughly 4 B.C. to A.D. 29. That period is unique and cannot be repeated’ (33)

  • Christ known only by works of love

Catherine pickstock
Catherine Pickstock

  • Rejects nominalist assumptions which only look back to a dead body in memory or text - ‘textual calculus of the real’ (1998: 3)

  • Reject immoderate realism (or what she calls ‘identical repetition’) looking back to a dead body - she calls this necrophilia - love of dead body (1998: xv)

Catherine pickstock1
Catherine Pickstock

  • Argues for ‘non-identical repetition’ (moderate realism) where there is life in the present such that there is ‘mediation of the transcendent in and through the immanent’ (1998: 25)

  • Identical repetition (immoderate realism) rejected - operates on ‘the assumption that by reifying a quality one obtains access to its true nature’ (1998: 104)

Catherine pickstock2
Catherine pickstock

  • True nature of quality only found in non-identical repetition - not dependent on a particular but rather ‘the presence of the infinite in the finite’ where ‘infinity does paradoxically invade the finite’ (1998: 66)

  • Western preference for writing over speech she argues creates a ‘textual spacialization’ and a corresponding ‘suppression of eternity’ (1998: 118)

Catherine pickstock3
catherine pickstock

  • Rejects both the immoderate realist drift in Catholicism of the Middle Ages and the drift towards nominalism in Reformation

  • Argues for balance between 3 foci of:

    • historical body

    • sacramental body

    • ecclesial body

  • Too closely associating historical and sacramental leads to immoderate realism where emphasis on dead body at the expense of presence of Christ with people

  • Reformed theology in reaction lost the balance and emphasised a nominalist separation with a merely thankful looking back to a past and completed event, that is, the death of Christ at a point in time - resulting in textual spacialization and love of dead body

  • Catherine pickstock4
    catherine pickstock

    • So she argues for ‘a collapsing together of sense and reference’ where there is ‘a faithful trust in the bread and wine as disclosing an invisible depth of Body and Blood’ (1999: 54)

    • Too much emphasis on ‘sense’ results in immoderate realism

    • Too much emphasis on ‘reference’ results in nominalism

    Robert doyle
    Robert doyle

    • Rejects sacramental principle

    • ‘Christ does not work in the world by way of sacraments or signs, but ... works directly, by his word’ (1998: 2)

    • ‘We only participate in Christ in a real and substantial way, by faith, for he does not offer himself either sacramentally or as a sacrament but directly by his promise’ (1996: 14)

    Robert doyle1
    robert doyle

    • Doyle therefore denies what he calls ‘sacramental ontology’ and asserts a ‘word ontology’ (1996: 12)

    • This subordinates sacrament to word by assuming that word is God’s only way or working in the world and sacraments function merely to remind us of that

    Rowan williams
    Rowan williams

    • ‘Jesus “passes over” into the symbolic forms of his own word and gestures, a transition into the vulnerable and inactive forms of the inanimate world’ (2000: 215)

    • Jesus also ‘passes over’ into the ecclesial community so that the community becomes a new creation (2000: 218)

    Rowan williams1
    rowan williams

    • ‘The eucharist hints at the paradox that material things carry their fullest meaning for human minds and bodies - the measuring of God’s grace and of the common life thus formed - when they are the medium of gift, not instruments of control or objects of accumulation’ (2000: 218)


    • ‘No adequate “catholic” sacramental vision can be centred on and sustained by anything but the living Word of God, and no adequate “reformed” theology of the Word can rest content without acknowledging and proclaiming the sacramental embodiment in that word’ (Cowdell, 1996: 21)

    • The recognition of multiformity and the need for dialogue within that multiformity is vital if the AET is to have and maintain integrity