Religious Studies

Clemens Leonhard

Establishing Short-Term Communities in Eucharistic Celebrations of Antiquity

Volume 3 () / Issue 1, pp. 66-86 (21)

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Despite traces of their self-conceptualisation as long-term groups, Christian community meetings established groups with a presumably small and stable long-term core group and with a certainly instable group of other participants. In this respect, Christian groups abided by group-styles of other social bodies in their cities. Gatherings of Christians were as stable and unstable as other fellowships at a banquet or as the group of clients who met a certain patron in a morning salutatio. In the fourth century, the celebration of Eucharists becomes embedded in a performance sui generis, which contemporary preachers cannot explain by analogies to contemporary institutions. They have recourse to far-fetched and highly metaphorical notions in order to describe and legitimise these performances. Current sociological studies about the developments of groups thus provide important analytical categories for the reconstruction of the early history of Christian liturgies.

Clemens Leonhard Born 1967; studied theology, Near Eastern languages and Jewish; 1999 PhD; 2005 habilitation; since 2006 professor for liturgical studies at the faculty for catholic theology of the University of Münster; since 2008 also a member of the Cluster of Excellence »Religion and Politics".