This article explores Irenaeus of Lyon’s 2nd century understanding of Eucharist in relation to a historical and theological reading of Mark’s Gospel, specifically the feeding narrative cycles (Mark 6:30-52; 8:1-21). Irenaeus contends, most particularly in books IV and V of Adversus haereses, that the union of divine spirit and flesh in the humanity of Jesus and its replication in the Eucharistic bread serves as primary refutation of docetic heretics. Jesus was, and his Eucharistic body is, fully a part of creation in contrast to only a spiritual entity. Similarly Mark’s understanding of Eucharist linked to the body of Christ and its instantiation in the Christian ritual gathering (Mark 6:52; 8:21) is perhaps the controlling theology of his narrative presentation of Jesus.
Bobertz, Charles A. 2013. "'Our Opinion Is in Accordance with the Eucharist': Irenaeus and the Sitz im Leben of Mark's Gospel." In Papers presented at the Sixteenth International Conference on Patristic Studies held In Oxford 2011, edited by Markus Vinzent, 13:79-85. Leuven: Peeters.