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This Blog is named after an ancient gnoseological riddle which hints hidden, disseminated, omnipresent wisdom.
I invite you to search, listen and observe with me for "the word of tree, whisper of stone, and humming together of the abyss and stars."


Maundy Thursday Theology

Juan Masip (often named as Joan de Joanes) "La Santa Cena" 1562
What is wrong with this pious picture?
      Allow me a short excursion to some very basic biblical theology. According to the New Testament, Jesus of Nazareth ate a final meal with his disciples on the night before his death (1 Cor 11:23-25; Mark 14:22-25; Matt 26:26-29; Luke 22:15-20; cf. John 6:51 and John 13-17).
     Unfortunately these individual biblical testimonies are mutually incompatible. What actually happened at the "Last Supper"? We do not know. We do not have anything with which we could compare it. Well-known rituals of a Jewish Seder (Passover meal) date many centuries later (from early medieval times). Even the testimonies preserved in the Talmud are decades, and in some parts centuries removed from the time of Jesus.
       Was the "Last Supper" a celebration of a Passover meal at all? Most likely  not! Even individual biblical testimonies show substantial differences which were influenced by the theological interests of their authors. Gospel of John is prime example.
       The evangelist John on purpose leaves out any hints of “the Last Supper Liturgy” and replaces it with the ritual of foot washing with poignant departure from emerging superstitious and thus superficial sacramentalism.
       Combination of the foot washing ritual with celebration of the Holy Communion, as widespread as it might be in the lives of many churches, and as it is depicted on this painting, betrays an elemental misunderstanding of and disrespect to John’s theological intentions. Clearly it is easier to engage in sacramentalism rather than to take seriously "to love one another as Jesus loved us." the very commandment (in Latin MANDATUM) which gave this day its name.

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