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Sacrament Of Bread And Water In Shepherd Of Hermas?


consiglieri

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Latter-day Saints are known for (and sometimes mocked because of) their use of water in the sacrament instead of wine. LDS claim revelatory authority for using water instead of wine in this ordinance.

Interestingly, it appears that a similar practice is referenced in The Shepherd of Hermas, an early second century book considered by many early proto-orthodox scriptures to be on a par with scripture.

In the book of Similitudes, V.30, we find the following:

30. Thus therefore do. Having performed what is before written, that day on which thou fastest thou shalt taste nothing at all but bread and water.

This is a curious passage, inasmuch as it speaks of a day of fasting, on which nothing is to be tasted but "bread and water." How could this be a day of fasting if "bread and water" are tasted? It would seem reasonable to understand this as a reference to a sacramental commemoration of the Lord's Supper. But then, shouldn't we expect it to say "bread and wine"?

Nevertheless the text is clear: "bread and water."

If this is indeed a reference to the Lord's Supper, or what is referred to by the LDS as "the sacrament," then we have an early Christian document referencing that early Christians were using water instead of wine in their commemoration of the Lord's Supper.

Any thoughts on this?

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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consiglieri,

Nevertheless the text is clear: "bread and water."

The Bible is clear it is not water, but is wine:

Luke.22

[17] And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves:

[18] For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.

we have an early Christian document referencing that early Christians were using water instead of wine in their commemoration of the Lord's Supper.

Early Christian documents are clear it is not water, but is wine:

Clement of Alexandria,The Instructor,2(ante A.D. 202),in ANF,II:242

"For the blood of the grape--that is, the Word--desired to be mixed with water, as His blood is mingled with salvation. And the blood of the Lord is twofold. For there is the blood of His flesh, by which we are redeemed from corruption; and the spiritual, that by which we are anointed. And to drink the blood of Jesus, is to become partaker of the Lord's immortality; the Spirit being the energetic principle of the Word, as blood is of flesh. Accordingly, as wine is blended with water, so is the Spirit with man. And the one, the mixture of wine and water, nourishes to faith; while the other, the Spirit, conducts to immortality. And the mixture of both--of the water and of the Word--is called Eucharist, renowned and glorious grace; and they who by faith partake of it are sanctified both in body and soul."

Tertullian,Against Marcion,40(A.D. 212),in ANF,III:418-419

"Then, having taken the bread and given it to His disciples, He made it His own body, by saying, 'This is my body,' that is, the figure of my body. A figure, however, there could not have been, unless there were first a veritable body. An empty thing, or phantom, is incapable of a figure. If, however, (as Marcion might say,) He pretended the bread was His body, because He lacked the truth of bodily substance, it follows that He must have given bread for us. It would contribute very well to the support of Marcion's theory of a phantom body, that bread should have been crucified! But why call His body bread, and not rather (some other edible thing, say) a melon, which Marcion must have had in lieu of a heart! He did not understand how ancient was this figure of the body of Christ, who said Himself by Jeremiah: 'I was like a lamb or an ox that is brought to the slaughter, and I knew not that they devised a device against me, saying, Let us cast the tree upon His bread,' which means, of course, the cross upon His body. And thus, casting light, as He always did, upon the ancient prophecies, He declared plainly enough what He meant by the bread, when He called the bread His own body. He likewise, when mentioning the cup and making the new testament to be sealed 'in His blood,' affirms the reality of His body. For no blood can belong to a body which is not a body of flesh. If any sort of body were presented to our view, which is not one of flesh, not being fleshly, it would not possess blood. Thus, from the evidence of the flesh, we get a proof of the body, and a proof of the flesh from the evidence of the blood. In order, however, that you may discover how anciently wine is used as a figure for blood, turn to Isaiah, who asks, 'Who is this that cometh from Edom, from Bosor with garments dyed in red, so glorious in His apparel, in the greatness of his might? Why are thy garments red, and thy raiment as his who cometh from the treading of the full winepress?' The prophetic Spirit contemplates the Lord as if He were already on His way to His passion, clad in His fleshly nature; and as He was to suffer therein, He represents the bleeding condition of His flesh under the metaphor of garments dyed in red, as if reddened in the treading and crushing process of the wine-press, from which the labourers descend reddened with the wine-juice, like men stained in blood. Much more clearly still does the book of Genesis foretell this, when (in the blessing of Judah, out of whose tribe Christ was to come according to the flesh) it even then delineated Christ in the person of that patriarch, saying, 'He washed His garments in wine, and His clothes in the blood of grapes'--in His garments and clothes the prophecy pointed out his flesh, and His blood in the wine. Thus did He now consecrate His blood in wine, who then (by the patriarch) used the figure of wine to describe His blood."

Cyprian,To Caeilius,Epistle 62(63):13(A.D. 253),in ANF,V:362

"For because Christ bore us all, in that He also bore our sins, we see that in the water is understood the people, but in the wine is showed the blood of Christ. But when the water is mingled in the cup with wine, the people is made one with Christ, and the assembly of believers is associated and conjoined with Him on whom it believes; which association and conjunction of water and wine is so mingled in the Lord's cup, that that mixture cannot any more be separated. Whence, moreover, nothing can separate the Church--that is, the people established in the Church, faithfully and firmly persevering in that which they have believed--from Christ, in such a way as to prevent their undivided love from always abiding and adhering. Thus, therefore, in consecrating the cup of the Lord, water alone cannot be offered, even as wine alone cannot be offered. For if any one offer wine only, the blood of Christ is dissociated from us; but if the water be alone, the people are dissociated from Christ; but when both are mingled, and are joined with one another by a close union, there is completed a spiritual and heavenly sacrament. Thus the cup of the Lord is not indeed water alone, nor wine alone, unless each be mingled with the other; just as, on the other hand, the body of the Lord cannot be flour alone or water alone, unless both should be united and joined together and compacted in the mass of one bread; in which very sacrament our people are shown to be made one, so that in like manner as many grains, collected, and ground, and mixed together into one mass, make one bread; so in Christ, who is the heavenly bread, we may know that there is one body, with which our number is joined and united."

Any thoughts on this?

The LDS church is not following the Lord and not following what was delivered to Paul

1Cor.11

[23] For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:

[24] And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.

[25] After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

[26] For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.

[27] Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

[28] But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

[29] For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

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Thank you for the references, Johnny. That was interesting, though I will confess to being familiar with the ones you quoted from the Bible. But that is why I think my question is intriguing.

It is usually the passages you quoted from the Bible which are brought up to challenge the Latter-day Saint usage of water instead of wine in the sacrament.

But now we come upon a very early Christian document, The Shepherd of Hermas, which indicates that there were early proto-orthodox (i.e., proto-Catholic) Christians, who made the same substitution of water for wine.

Were these early Christians also not "following the Lord," as you say about the LDS? At what point do you think the ability to substitute water for wine was lost from the Christian church?

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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Interestingly, it appears that a similar practice is referenced in The Shepherd of Hermas, an early second century book considered by many early proto-orthodox scriptures to be on a par with scripture.

You keep making this claim, 'to be on a par with scripture".

Can you document that claim, please?

In the book of Similitudes, V.30, we find the following:

30. Thus therefore do. Having performed what is before written, that day on which thou fastest thou shalt taste nothing at all but bread and water.

This is a curious passage, inasmuch as it speaks of a day of fasting, on which nothing is to be tasted but "bread and water."

You seem to be forcing an "LDS" version of fasting onto that text (to my knowledge, Hermas was not LDS), in assuming that the period of fasting was only one day (as LDS do currently). It was common in the early church to fast for many days, so "that day on which thou fastest" would simply be referring to the beginning of the fast.

How could this be a day of fasting if "bread and water" are tasted?

If one fasts for many days (as Jesus did when He fasted 40 days and nights in the wilderness), if one doesn't even have bread and water (basic sustenance), one dies.

It would seem reasonable to understand this as a reference to a sacramental commemoration of the Lord's Supper. But then, shouldn't we expect it to say "bread and wine"?

It would not "seem reasonable to understand this as a reference to...the Lord's Supper". As you yourself observe (and Johnny confirms), the Lord's Supper is with wine, not water. Indeed, there is no contextual reason (except an inappropriate desire to force LDS beliefs eisegetically into the text) to interpret it as a reference to the "Lord's supper".

When prisoners were in prison anciently, they were given "bread and water". Would you similarly interpret that as "the Lord's Supper"?

Nevertheless the text is clear: "bread and water."

Yep... Too bad it's not equally clear in (allegedly) claiming, "Lord's Supper".

Any thoughts on this?

Yes, stop trying to force the early church to being LDS.

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Happy to oblige with the documentation, Theo ol' pal! Though I admit surprise that you aren't aware of this.

A. D. Howell-Smith writes concerning the Shepherd of Hermas (Jesus Not a Myth, pp. 120-121):

The Shepherd of Hermas, a strange allegory written sometime in the second century, had a great vogue in orthodox circles and was even included in some copies of the New Testament (it is found in the Sinaitic Codex). The theology of the Church must have been very elastic at a time when such a book could enjoy popularity and implicit, if not explicit, ecclesiastical sanction, for its Christology does not seem to square with any of the Christologies of the New Testament, or with those of contemporary theologians whose occasional documents have reached us.

And I see, Theo, that you apply the same eisegetical method of interpreting The Shepherd of Hermas as you do to the Bible. Well, at least you are consistent.

In another thread, you interpreted "all men" as something other than "all men" in 1 Timothy.

Now, you want to interpret "on the day that you fast" as "on the dayS that you fast" in The Shepherd of Hermas.

And all, apparently, because you are completely unwilling to admit that there might just be some interesting comparisons between early Christians and Mormonism. Why are you so defensive on this point?

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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Happy to oblige with the documentation, Theo ol' pal!

Consiglieri,

I am not your "pal". I am not your "ol' pal".

I ask that you do me the courtesy of addressing me respectfully.

Though I admit surprise that you aren't aware of this.

A. D. Howell-Smith writes concerning the Shepherd of Hermas (Jesus Not a Myth, pp. 120-121):

The Shepherd of Hermas, a strange allegory written sometime in the second century, had a great vogue in orthodox circles and was even included in some copies of the New Testament (it is found in the Sinaitic Codex). The theology of the Church must have been very elastic at a time when such a book could enjoy popularity and implicit, if not explicit, ecclesiastical sanction, for its Christology does not seem to square with any of the Christologies of the New Testament, or with those of contemporary theologians whose occasional documents have reached us.

Why should I care about the opinion of A.D. Howell-Smith, Consig?

Was he a first-century Christian?

Did he accept the Shepherd "on par" with the Bible?

Do you believe everything you read?

If Howell-Smith has good, objective factual reasons for (your) assertion, then please document them.

And I see, Theo, that you apply the same eisegetical method of interpreting The Shepherd of Hermas as you do to the Bible. Well, at least you are consistent.

You assume (without basis, I might add) that Hermas is referring to "the Lord's Supper", and you claim I'm the one engaging in "eisegesis"?! Give me a break.

In another thread, you interpreted "all men" as something other than "all men" in 1 Timothy.

I did no such thing, of course, and I've explained this to you repeatedly.

I don't deny "all men". I simply deny your interpretation of what "all men" means.

Are you truly unable to recognize the distinction?

Now, you want to interpret "on the day that you fast" as "on the dayS that you fast" in The Shepherd of Hermas.

Are you denying that fasting in that period was often for many days at a time?!

And all, apparently, because you are completely unwilling to admit that there might just be some interesting comparisons between early Christians and Mormonism. Why are you so defensive on this point?

Personally, while I am a purist, and believe that the Lord's Supper should be with wine, I don't think it's a fundamental issue whether one uses wine, grape juice, or water. The only reason I'm responding in this thread is because of the much more important issue of hermeneutical interpretation and exegesis, in which you display your willingness (or dare I say eagerness?) to strain out a gnat ("day" vs. "days") while you swallow a camel (assuming "Lord's Supper" without basis).

Theophilus

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consiglieri,

The book of Hermas is concerned with the Christian virtues and their exercise. It is an ethical, not a theological, work. The intention is above all to preach repentance.

Your point being that since the "intention above all is to preach repentance," we can be forgiven if we fudge the meaning of passages not dealing with repentance?

While I would agree with you that the middle section of The Shepherd of Hermas, titled "Commandments," is concerned primarily with ethical virtues, I believe your point misses the fact that the first and third sections of Hermas, titled respectively "Visions" and "Similitudes," are primarily theological, and not ethical.

You will note that the passage we are discussing comes from Similitudes.

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

Consiglieri,

I am not your "pal". I am not your "ol' pal".

I ask that you do me the courtesy of addressing me respectfully.

Why should I care about the opinion of A.D. Howell-Smith, Consig?

Was he a first-century Christian?

Did he accept the Shepherd "on par" with the Bible?

Do you believe everything you read?

If Howell-Smith has good, objective factual reasons for (your) assertion, then please document them.

You assume (without basis, I might add) that Hermas is referring to "the Lord's Supper", and you claim I'm the one engaging in "eisegesis"?! Give me a break.

I did no such thing, of course, and I've explained this to you repeatedly.

I don't deny "all men". I simply deny your interpretation of what "all men" means.

Are you truly unable to recognize the distinction?

Are you denying that fasting in that period was often for many days at a time?!

Personally, while I am a purist, and believe that the Lord's Supper should be with wine, I don't think it's a fundamental issue whether one uses wine, grape juice, or water. The only reason I'm responding in this thread is because of the much more important issue of hermeneutical interpretation and exegesis, in which you display your willingness (or dare I say eagerness?) to strain out a gnat ("day" vs. "days") while you swallow a camel (assuming "Lord's Supper" without basis).

Theophilus

Dear Most Honorable and Excellent Theophilus,

I hope that is respectful enough for ya!

I have to defer a more substantive response at the moment due to my attention being needed under the kitchen sink. But I will only ask, before I go, if anyone has ever told you, Theo, that you are one big button just begging to be pushed?

All the Best!

--Consiglieri (your ol' pal)

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consiglieri,

While I would agree with you that the middle section of The Shepherd of Hermas, titled "Commandments," is concerned primarily with ethical virtues, I believe your point misses the fact that the first and third sections of Hermas, titled respectively "Visions" and "Similitudes," are primarily theological, and not ethical.

Maybe the following link will help you better understand the points of Hermas:

The Shepherd of Hermas

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0201.htm

FIRST VISION -- AGAINST FILTHY AND PROUD THOUGHTS, AND THE CARELESSNESS OF HERMAS IN CHASTISING HIS SONS.

SECOND VISION -- AGAIN, OF HIS NEGLECT IN CHASTISING HIS TALKATIVE WIFE AND HIS LUSTFUL SONS, AND OF HIS CHARACTER.

THIRD VISION -- CONCERNING THE BUILDING OF THE TRIUMPHANT CHURCH, AND THE VARIOUS CLASSES OF REPROBATE MEN.

FOURTH VISION -- CONCERNING THE TRIAL AND TRIBULATION THAT ARE TO COME UPON MEN.

FIFTH VISION -- CONCERNING THE COMMANDMENTS.

SECOND BOOK: COMMANDMENTS

FIRST COMMANDMENT -- ON FAITH IN GOD.

SECOND COMMANDMENT -- ON AVOIDING EVIL-SPEAKING, AND ON GIVING ALMS IN SIMPLICITY.

THIRD COMMANDMENT -- ON AVOIDING FALSEHOOD, AND ON THE REPENTANCE OF HERMAS FOR HIS DISSIMULATION.

FOURTH COMMANDMENT -- ON PUTTING ONE'S WIFE AWAY FOR ADULTERY.

FIFTH COMMANDMENT -- OF SADNESS OF HEART, AND OF PATIENCE.

SIXTH COMMANDMENT -- HOW TO RECOGNISE THE TWO SPIRITS ATTENDANT ON EACH MAN, AND HOW TO DISTINGUISH THE SUGGESTIONS OF THE ONE FROM THOSE OF THE OTHER.

SEVENTH COMMANDMENT -- ON FEARING GOD, AND NOT FEARING THE DEVIL.

EIGHTH COMMANDMENT -- WE OUGHT TO SHUN THAT WHICH IS EVIL, AND DO THAT WHICH IS GOOD.

NINTH COMMANDMENT -- PRAYER MUST BE MADE TO GOD WITHOUT CEASING AND WITH UNWAVERING CONFIDENCE.

TENTH COMMANDMENT -- OF GRIEF, AND NOT GRIEVING THE SPIRIT OF GOD WHICH IS IN US.

ELEVENTH COMMANDMENT -- THE SPIRIT AND PROPHETS TO BE TRIED BY THEIR WORKS; ALSO OF THE TWO KINDS OF SPIRIT.

TWELFTH COMMANDMENT -- ON THE TWOFOLD DESIRE. THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD CAN BE KEPT, AND BELIEVERS OUGHT NOT TO FEAR THE DEVIL.

THIRD BOOK: SIMILITUDES

FIRST SIMILITUDE -- AS IN THIS WORLD WE HAVE NO ABIDING CITY, WE OUGHT TO SEEK ONE TO COME.

SECOND SIMILITUDE -- AS THE VINE IS SUPPORTED BY THE ELM, SO IS THE RICH MAN HELPER BY THE PRAYER OF THE POOR.

THIRD SIMILITUDE -- AS IN WINTER GREEN TREES CANNOT BE DISTINGUISHED FROM WITHERED, SO IN THIS WORLD NEITHER CAN THE JUST FROM THE UNJUST.

FOURTH SIMILITUDE -- AS IN SUMMER LIVING TREES ARE DISTINGUISHED FROM WITHERED BY FRUIT AND LIVING LEAVES, SO IN THE WORLD TO COME THE JUST DIFFER FROM THE UNJUST IN HAPPINESS.

FIFTH SIMILITUDE -- OF TRUE FASTING AND ITS REWARD: ALSO OF PURITY OF BODY.

SIXTH SIMILITUDE -- OF THE TWO CLASSES OF VOLUPTUOUS MEN, AND OF THEIR DEATH, FALLING AWAY, AND THE DURATION OF THEIR PUNISHMENT.

SEVENTH SIMILITUDE -- THEY WHO REPENT MUST BRING FORTH FRUITS WORTHY OF REPENTANCE.

EIGHTH SIMILITUDE -- THE SINS OF THE ELECT AND OF THE PENITENT ARE OF MANY KINDS, BUT ALL WILL BE REWARDED ACCORDING TO THE MEASURE OF THEIR REPENTANCE AND GOOD WORKS.

NINTH SIMILITUDE -- THE GREAT MYSTERIES IN THE BUILDING OF THE MILITANT AND TRIUMPHANT CHURCH,

TENTH SIMILITUDE -- CONCERNING REPENTANCE AND ALMS-GIVING.

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Latter-day Saints are known for (and sometimes mocked because of) their use of water in the sacrament instead of wine. LDS claim revelatory authority for using water instead of wine in this ordinance.

Interestingly, it appears that a similar practice is referenced in The Shepherd of Hermas, an early second century book considered by many early proto-orthodox scriptures to be on a par with scripture.

In the book of Similitudes, V.30, we find the following:

30. Thus therefore do. Having performed what is before written, that day on which thou fastest thou shalt taste nothing at all but bread and water.

This is a curious passage, inasmuch as it speaks of a day of fasting, on which nothing is to be tasted but "bread and water." How could this be a day of fasting if "bread and water" are tasted? It would seem reasonable to understand this as a reference to a sacramental commemoration of the Lord's Supper. But then, shouldn't we expect it to say "bread and wine"?

Nevertheless the text is clear: "bread and water."

If this is indeed a reference to the Lord's Supper, or what is referred to by the LDS as "the sacrament," then we have an early Christian document referencing that early Christians were using water instead of wine in their commemoration of the Lord's Supper.

Any thoughts on this?

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

Consiglieri,

Let's look at the passage in the context in which Hermas intended it with the explanation in his own words:

"Thus, then, shall you observe the fasting which you intend to keep. First of all, be on your guard against every evil word, and every evil desire, and purify your heart from all the vanities of this world. If you guard against these things, your fasting will be perfect. And you will do also as follows. Having fulfilled what is written, in the day on which you fast you will taste nothing but bread and water; and having reckoned up the price of the dishes of that day which you intended to have eaten, you will give it to a widow, or an orphan, or to some person in want, and thus you will exhibit humility of mind, so that he who has received benefit from your humility may fill his own soul, and pray for you to the Lord. If you observe fasting, as I have commanded you, your sacrifice will be acceptable to God, and this fasting will be written down; and the service thus performed is noble, and sacred, and acceptable to the Lord. These things, therefore, shall you thus observe with your children, and all your house, and in observing them you will be blessed; and as many as hear these words and observe them shall be blessed; and whatsoever they ask of the Lord they shall receive."

Now all of us "pretzel eating mackerel snappers" :P will understand right away what this section is about, but for those who do not observe the Lenten fast with alms giving to the needy with the food we do not eat or the money we did not spend on this food, could easily confuse this with a "Fast and Testimony" parallel.

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Consiglieri,

Let's look at the passage in the context in which Hermas intended it with the explanation in his own words:

"Thus, then, shall you observe the fasting which you intend to keep. First of all, be on your guard against every evil word, and every evil desire, and purify your heart from all the vanities of this world. If you guard against these things, your fasting will be perfect. And you will do also as follows. Having fulfilled what is written, in the day on which you fast you will taste nothing but bread and water; and having reckoned up the price of the dishes of that day which you intended to have eaten, you will give it to a widow, or an orphan, or to some person in want, and thus you will exhibit humility of mind, so that he who has received benefit from your humility may fill his own soul, and pray for you to the Lord. If you observe fasting, as I have commanded you, your sacrifice will be acceptable to God, and this fasting will be written down; and the service thus performed is noble, and sacred, and acceptable to the Lord. These things, therefore, shall you thus observe with your children, and all your house, and in observing them you will be blessed; and as many as hear these words and observe them shall be blessed; and whatsoever they ask of the Lord they shall receive."

Now all of us "pretzel eating mackerel snappers" :P will understand right away what this section is about, but for those who do not observe the Lenten fast with alms giving to the needy with the food we do not eat or the money we did not spend on this food, could easily confuse this with a "Fast and Testimony" parallel.

Cool, Catholic Guy. I must be the one who is confused. When did Lent go from one day to forty? That must of been after The Shepherd of Hermas, huh?

Your Snickers-eating bubble-gum snapper,

--Consiglieri

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Sheesh, Consig, don't you know it's Doctor Ol' Pal to you?

Another fine pot and kettle moment by Theophilus... Of course I simply deny his interpretation of Connsigs remarks as disrespectful. Any good FAIRboard member can obviously see that the meaning of his remarks from the text were congenial and friendly. I don't understand why Theophilus must continually misrepresent the statements made by Consigliari. etc... :P

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Wow! Theophilus, johnny, and consiglieri--I feel so... hesitant to jump in.

It was common in the early church to fast for many days, so "that day on which thou fastest" would simply be referring to the beginning of the fast.

References? And I guess no one back then ever fasted for JUST one day? Were you there?

I was thinking that repentance was theological?

of that day

Interesting--another seeming reference to "one" day. Of course, this can't refer to a many-day fast, then. But that is "to strain out a gnat ("day" vs. "days")". Of course, the argument is about the Lord's supper; which, which rests on "day" vs. "days"--that's one important little gnat for some.

So much more, but I'll let consiglieri get back to pushing buttons, if he wants...

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I think that Grego's post pretty much sums up what I would have added. Not once, but twice in the brief passage quoted from the Shepherd of Hermas, the reference is to a "day," and never to "days." Inasmuch as the counterexplanation being put forward depends upon a plural that is not manifested in the text, but explicitly contradicted twice, it would appear that the counterexplanation relies upon a misunderstanding of the singular versus the plural.

To force the text to read "days" instead of "day" seems to be the tail wagging the dog on this one.

Why is it that I should accept an interpretation that is contradicted by the text, Dr. Theo?

Reasonably yours,

--Consiglieri (Italian for "button-pusher")

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Consiglieri,

Let's look at the passage in the context in which Hermas intended it with the explanation in his own words:

"Thus, then, shall you observe the fasting which you intend to keep. First of all, be on your guard against every evil word, and every evil desire, and purify your heart from all the vanities of this world. If you guard against these things, your fasting will be perfect. And you will do also as follows. Having fulfilled what is written, in the day on which you fast you will taste nothing but bread and water; and having reckoned up the price of the dishes of that day which you intended to have eaten, you will give it to a widow, or an orphan, or to some person in want, and thus you will exhibit humility of mind, so that he who has received benefit from your humility may fill his own soul, and pray for you to the Lord. If you observe fasting, as I have commanded you, your sacrifice will be acceptable to God, and this fasting will be written down; and the service thus performed is noble, and sacred, and acceptable to the Lord. These things, therefore, shall you thus observe with your children, and all your house, and in observing them you will be blessed; and as many as hear these words and observe them shall be blessed; and whatsoever they ask of the Lord they shall receive."

Now all of us "pretzel eating mackerel snappers" :P will understand right away what this section is about, but for those who do not observe the Lenten fast with alms giving to the needy with the food we do not eat or the money we did not spend on this food, could easily confuse this with a "Fast and Testimony" parallel.

I will grant that Consiglieri's speculation about the Lord's Supper cannot be conclusively established from the text, which is "interesting" rather than compelling. Note also that we have no theological objection to sacramental wine, which is specifically permitted by the Word of Wisdom, and that we use water only as a substitute for it; for the which substitution we had to get direct divine permission.

However, on the subject of parallels between 2nd century Christian practice and current Latter-day Saint practice, you've given us a beautiful one. I'm glad you guys give alms during Lent, but the specific formula Hermas describes is exactly the basis for our fast offerings.

Interesting, isn't it?

Regards,

Pahoran

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Thank you for that, Pahoran.

I agree with your point here. It is interesting that, of my three threads relating to LDS doctrine and the Shepherd of Hermas, I was careful to couch the idea of "bread and water" in tentative language, as anyone can see by checking out the original post.

It sort of morphed after that, as those who disagreed with the proposition attempted to make it look like I was being dogmatic on the subject that the "water and bread" must be the Lord's Supper. All the better to eviscerate the argument with, I suppose. I agree it is definitely a point of interest.

So far, it appears that nobody who is non-LDS wants to even grant that it is a point of interest, and certainly nobody who is non-LDS will agree that there is a striking similarity in the fasting method described!

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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I will grant that Consiglieri's speculation about the Lord's Supper cannot be conclusively established from the text, which is "interesting" rather than compelling. Note also that we have no theological objection to sacramental wine, which is specifically permitted by the Word of Wisdom, and that we use water only as a substitute for it; for the which substitution we had to get direct divine permission.

However, on the subject of parallels between 2nd century Christian practice and current Latter-day Saint practice, you've given us a beautiful one. I'm glad you guys give alms during Lent, but the specific formula Hermas describes is exactly the basis for our fast offerings.

Interesting, isn't it?

Regards,

Pahoran

Hermas' description of almsgiving may describe the basis for the LDS fast offerings and it is interesting that you can find an "exact" parallel from a second century source, but that does not exclude the Catholic church from that exact formula. Lent is only one season of fasting and almsgiving, in the Catholic Church. This formula from Hermas has been in place from the first century on every Friday in memory of the death of the Lord in preparation of the Eucharistic meal on Sunday to celebrate his resurrection. This is still observed today.

From the Catechism;

1434 The interior penance of the Christian can be expressed in many and various ways. Scripture and the Fathers insist above all on three forms, fasting, prayer, and almsgiving, which express conversion in relation to oneself, to God, and to others. Alongside the radical purification brought about by Baptism or martyrdom they cite as means of obtaining forgiveness of sins: efforts at reconciliation with one's neighbor, tears of repentance, concern for the salvation of one's neighbor, the intercession of the saints, and the practice of charity "which covers a multitude of sins."

and

1438 The seasons and days of penance in the course of the liturgical year (Lent, and each Friday in memory of the death of the Lord) are intense moments of the Church's penitential practice. These times are particularly appropriate for spiritual exercises, penitential liturgies, pilgrimages as signs of penance, voluntary self-denial such as fasting and almsgiving, and fraternal sharing (charitable and missionary works).

We should look at the text again;

Thus, then, shall you observe the fasting which you intend to keep. First of all, be on your guard against every evil word, and every evil desire, and purify your heart from all the vanities of this world. If you guard against these things, your fasting will be perfect. And you will do also as follows. Having fulfilled what is written, in the day on which you fast you will taste nothing but bread and water; and having reckoned up the price of the dishes of that day which you intended to have eaten, you will give it to a widow, or an orphan, or to some person in want, and thus you will exhibit humility of mind, so that he who has received benefit from your humility may fill his own soul, and pray for you to the Lord. If you observe fasting, as I have commanded you, your sacrifice will be acceptable to God, and this fasting will be written down; and the service thus performed is noble, and sacred, and acceptable to the Lord. These things, therefore, shall you thus observe with your children, and all your house, and in observing them you will be blessed; and as many as hear these words and observe them shall be blessed; and whatsoever they ask of the Lord they shall receive."

Here we have "the practice of charity "which covers a multitude of sins."". Even though the LDS practice of the "fast offering" is a wonderful observance of our Lords commandments. I would have to say it is not exclusive to the LDS Church, as I have shown you that the Catholic Church has been doing this since the beginning. Out of curiosity when did the LDS Church institute this practice?

In Christ,

Catholic Guy

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