Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Gospel Which Identified the Sacraments as 'Types' Necessarily was a Platonic Mystery Text

The Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus is another early document containing teaching on the relationship of the bread and wine to the body and blood of Christ. Within his description of the Eucharistic prayer at the celebration of baptism. Hippolytus writes:
And the offering shall be brought up by deacons to the bishop: and he shall give thanks over the bread for the representation, which the Greeks call “antitype,” of the body of Christ; and after the cup mixed with wine for the antitype, which the Greeks call “likeness,” of the blood which was shed for all who believed in him.(Ch. 22)
Here, we do not have a direct identification but a relationship of representation explained by the use of a philosophical category. Such adaptation of philosophical language and categories to theological purposes is another enduring theme of a theology of Eucharistic presence. Theologians employ whatever is the customary way to think of reality, especially the relationship between the visible and the invisible. In this case, Hippolytus is utilizing the Platonic relationship between type and antitype. Type is the real, while antitype represents the type and participates in its reality. The type is accessible through the antitype without separation and complete identification. The physical body and blood of Christ is the type and bread and wine become the antitype through the prayer of thanksgiving. [

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