Bread from Heaven: An Introduction to the Theology of the Eucharist
by Bernhard Blankenhorn
Catholic University of America Press, 2021
eISBN: 978-0-8132-3395-6 | Paper: 978-0-8132-3394-9

ABOUT THIS BOOK
ABOUT THIS BOOK
Bread from Heaven offers a contemporary theological synthesis on the Eucharist that brings together classical and critical biblical exegesis, debates on the early history of the Christian liturgy, patristic doctrine, the teachings offered by the Councils of Florence, Trent and Vatican II, and the Church’s lex orandi, all within a framework provided by the Eucharistic theology of Thomas Aquinas.

The volume begins with Christ’s Bread of Life discourse in John 6, in light of the Old Testament theme of the manna, and the Synoptic accounts of the Last Supper. These biblical texts offer solid foundation for a theology of Eucharistic sacrifice, presence and Communion. It then continues with a historical and systematic study of the institution of the Eucharist by Christ, with special attention given to the emergence of the first Eucharistic prayers. Then follows a survey of key Christological and ecclesiological themes which undergird Eucharistic theology. The chapters on Eucharistic sacrifice and presence form the heart of the work. Here, the focus moves to key conciliar, patristic and Thomistic insights on these themes. Bread from Heaven clarifies misunderstandings of Eucharistic sacrifice and renders transubstantiation accessible to beginners.

Blankenhorn concludes with a study of the consecration, the minister of the Eucharist and the fruits of communion. The chapter on the debate over the words of institution and the epiclesis gives a fresh perspective that integrates both eastern and western tradition. The study of the Eucharistic celebrant strikes a balance between a spirituality of the priest as acting in persona Christi and of the priest as praying in persona ecclesiae. The concluding chapter centers on the Eucharist’s unitive, mystical fruits in the Church.

This textbook is ideal for an advanced undergraduate or graduate course on Eucharistic theology. It also seeks to advance the debate on several controversial historical and speculative issues in sacramental theology.

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