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IMC 2016: Sessions

Session 725: Eating in the Early Christian Community

Tuesday 5 July 2016, 14.15-15.45

Moderator/Chair:Giles E. M. Gasper, Department of History, Durham University
Paper 725-aThe Eucharist as Spiritual Food in Gregory of Nyssa
(Language: English)
Ilaria Ramelli, Angelicum, Graduate School of Theology, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit / Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford
Index terms: Ecclesiastical History, Theology
Paper 725-aFood and Drink, Feeding and Drinking in Augustine's Confessions
(Language: English)
Augustine Reisenauer, Department of Theology, University of Notre Dame, Indiana
Index terms: Language and Literature - Latin, Liturgy, Pagan Religions, Theology
Paper 725-c'gustaui et esurio et sitio': Augustine and the Spiritual Taste
(Language: English)
Georgiana Huian, New Europe College, Bucharest / Institut de Théologie Orthodoxe Saint-Serge, Paris
Index terms: Philosophy, Religious Life, Theology

Paper -a:
The Eucharist was conceived as spiritual food by Gregory Nysen in the late 4th century. This food worked in his view as a preparation for the eschatological restoration of all (apokatastasis) and deificaton (theōsis). This preparation takes place by means of the participation in the body of Christ. This paper will analyse Gregory's syllogism, which demonstrates that the spiritual food of the Eucharist makes humanity immortal. Gregory deploys two philosophical ideas here: the metaphysical form of the body and the notion of mixture. These will both be discussed, along with further elements such as the resurrective power of Christ's body and the double notion (bodily and spiritual) of the resurrection-restoration. These are related to the notion of the Eucharist as both physical and spiritual food.

Paper -b:
In his 'Confessions', Augustine frequently describes the abyssal appetite of the human person and its satisfaction or dissatisfaction in terms of food and drink. This paper investigates the various types and episodes of feeding and drinking, both of the body and of the soul, whether healthy or unhealthy. By focusing on pagan, Manichaean, and Catholic feeding and drinking practices, it examines how they contribute to the formation of either a community of sharing or a horde of taking.

Paper -c:
My paper proposes an interpretation of a passage from Augustine's Confessions, which speaks of the experience of God felt through the spiritual senses or senses of the heart (Conf. X, 27, 38). I will try to prove that for Augustine the natural disposition of the spiritual taste is being hungry and being thirsty of the divine sweetness, as he confesses: 'gustaui et esurio et sitio'. I will compare this passage to other passages from Augustine's works, which mention the condition of being hungry as expressing the human longing for the divine presence, or which speak of spiritual nourishment.