Don’t Drop the Body of Christ (Janelle Peters)

Can we use Mountain Dew and Doritos for communion, or must the elements be bread and wine? Communion is one of the most prominent Christian rituals. Although celebrated differently by different traditions, from sharing loaves of bread and a common cup to distributing oyster crackers and little plastic cups of grape juice, the practice is meant to remind us of and transform us into the body of Christ. We might wonder what the earliest Christians did to celebrate communion, and what the boundaries are within which we might improvise this ritual in various times and places.

In this episode, Dr. Dru Johnson talks to Dr. Janelle Peters, author of the forthcoming Paul and the Citizen Body, about communion, Paul’s intellectual influences, and Bible literacy. They examine the traditions associated with communion and its connection to the rituals of the ancient Hebrews. From there, they consider Paul’s usage of the Torah in his letters and his appropriation of Greco-Roman literary tropes and ideas. They conclude with a discussion of Paul’s views on rituals and practices such as communion and wearing head coverings, and the state of Bible literacy in the rising generations.

Show notes:

  • 0:00 What elements can we use for the blood and body of Christ?
  • 4:56 Participating in the body of Christ
  • 7:41 Communion and Israelite rituals
  • 11:40 Paul, 1 Clement, and the Hebrew Bible
  • 14:38 How Paul adapts the Torah into the Greco-Roman world
  • 18:35 Embodying the words of Jesus in communion
  • 25:42 Head coverings in church
  • 29:14 Teaching biblical literacy

Show notes by Micah Long.

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