School of Theology and Seminary Faculty Publications

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Biblical Studies | Christianity | Liturgy and Worship


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.