Easter: How was the Holy Supper – 4/15/2022

According to biblical accounts, Jesus knew that he would be killed when he celebrated Easter with his followers. The Gospel of Matthew says: “You know that in two days the Passover will come, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.”

“On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus, saying, Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover? And he said: Go to the city for a man, and say to him: The Lord says: My time is near, and in your house I will celebrate the Passover with my disciples”, the text continues. .

And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them, and prepared the Passover. And in the evening he sat down with the twelve “.

After this, Jesus was breaking the bread and wine and, saying that what was there was his body and blood, he instructed his followers to continue to do so “in remembrance of me.”

Historically, what can we suppose that Jesus ate and drank with his friends at this dinner immortalized in the collective imagination?

The Bible talks about unleavened bread, a type of unleavened bread made from only flour and water. At that time, it was common to mix ground wheat with other grains, such as oats, barley, and rye, whatever was available.

According to tradition, if Passover was to commemorate the flight of ancient Jews from ancient Egypt, then unleavened bread became mandatory because it was the uneasy meal they could eat along the way. Given that Jesus was a poor Jew, as were his disciples, it is also assumed that these ingredients were available.

“On the Easter table there was bread, and unleavened bread, and wine. Not for drinking, because one would imagine it was not a table in abundance,” said BBC News Brasil historian André Leonardo Civitarez, author of Jesus of Nazareth: Another Story and Professor in the Graduate Program in Comparative History at the Institute of History at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

“It was not a large table in the sense of leftovers, but there was a trifle. Bread, wine, a few fruits. It was the celebration of Passover. At the table of the great majority of Jews, it was trifle. Only the elite had more. Individuals like Jesus and his band, no.”

“Anyway, the wine was there. Not imported wine, but low-quality, locally produced wine.”

Perhaps the fruits that made Jesus’ table were pomegranates, dates, and grapes.

A reinterpretation of bread from the time of Christ, made by baker Johannes Ross

Photo: Johannes Ross

ancestral wine

If there is a consensus that wine was invented about 6000 years ago, few would dare identify the form of wine that Jesus and his followers drank.

Research indicates that at that time, the drink – of poor quality and without established standards – was mixed with aromatic herbs, honey, and fruits. This served for several things. First, to give it more freshness. Also to mask the very unpalatable taste. Finally, to reduce the vinegar and oxidizing taste of wine that has not been properly preserved.

in your book Ancient Wine: The Search for the Origins of ViticultureArchaeologist Patrick Edward McGovern, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania in the United States, explains that it was customary to mix capers, saffron, pepper and all kinds of spices in the drink.

When drinking it was mixed with water.

Since there were no suitable bottles or receptacles for keeping wine, the idea was to save the grapes from being harvested so that wine could be made year-round.

This means that most of the time it was dried – not fresh – grapes that had ended up being used. Thus, it is assumed that wine was similar to that made today from raisins, resulting in drinks with a more intense alcohol, and a taste between sweet and sour.

The region’s hot, dry climate ensures that the grapes are produced with more sugar, which means that the wines have a higher alcohol content.

In Jesus’ time, drinking wine was also a matter of sanitation. Since there was no water treatment, alcohol was better – even for children – to avoid contamination issues.

With the expansion of the Roman Empire, the spread of vineyards was encouraged. The idea was to guarantee the supply to the soldiers who disposed of all the property.

There is no consensus among researchers about what type of grape was grown in the Jerusalem area – it is believed that the seedlings were transported from point to point and ended up being the ones most adapted to each climate and soil.

Most likely, the grapes from that region were an inherited type of what is now called sira.

German baker Johannes Ross believes Jesus ate leavened bread, not just the unleavened bread mentioned in the Bible - Johannes Ross - Johannes Ross

German baker Johannes Ross believes Jesus ate leavened bread, not just the unleavened bread mentioned in the Bible

Photo: Johan Ross

Our daily bread

in this book Six Thousand Years of Bread: Human Civilization Through Its Main Foodscholar Heinrich Eduard Jacob detailing how Jesus, and later Christianity, appropriated the semantic field of bread in his teachings.

From the Lord’s Prayer to reports of miracles, to parables and of course, the Holy Supper.

Brazilian national bakery team coach and director of the multinational Puratos Inspiration Center, German baker Johannes Ross believes Jesus ate leavened bread daily — not just the unleavened bread mentioned in the Bible.

“The bread eaten at that time was a whole thing, with a mixture of flour from different grains, wheat, sorghum… naturally leavened, slowly,” says the baker, in an interview with BBC News Brasil.

I think it would be darker bread with a coarse grind.”

Ross went further. Motivated by the report, he ended up creating a contemporary bread recipe that would be an existing reinterpretation of bread consumed in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago.

“It is the recipe for bread that I will prepare for Jesus at Holy Communion,” he comments.

The baker uses 400 grams of wheat flour, 200 grams of rye flour, 100 grams of spelled flour, 100 grams of corn flour, 200 grams of whole wheat flour, 200 grams of natural fermentation, 22 grams of dead sea , and 30 grams of wheat. Sesame seeds, 30g sunflower seeds, 30g flax seeds, 30g pumpkin seeds, 550g water.

To prepare it, “slowly knead all the ingredients, except for the cereal, until the dough is completely homogeneous.”

“Then let it rest for two hours, knead it for another 15 minutes and let it rest for another two hours. I divide each loaf into a 1.2 kilo size, and let it ferment for 16 hours,” he explains.

“I was baking in a wooden oven with fragrant woods for 50 minutes. Before that, I’d clean the oven with bush rosemary, a plant that leaves an incredible scent when used for sweeping,” he says.

Secret

There is no doubt among theologians and seekers of Christianity that bread and wine, laden with religious meanings, were the heroes of that last meal.

“We are talking about the celebration of Passover. It is a typical celebration of the Jew, a feast that has been held since ancient times, to indicate the hasty exodus from Egypt, when during the journey they fed on bitter herbs, broke bread, and ate the sacrificed lamb”, points out Pi BBC News Brazil Historian, philosopher and theologian Gerson Let de Moraes, professor at McKenzie Presbyterian University.

He adds: “This feast reminds of a moment of liberation. The unleavened bread remembers this exodus, this escape, because they were the bread of the poor, the hurried man, and with few resources.”

Wine was a popular drink, and it was part of everyone’s customs and habits.”

Even if some religious moralists were uncomfortable, Moraes says, it is a historical fact that Jesus often drank wine.

“This should be understood without any kind of scandal. At some point, Jesus ends up being accused of getting drunk, welcoming prostitutes, taking part in parties, hanging out with simple and poor people… Jesus was a party man and his last moment is the moment he is like a Jew The average person celebrates Easter,” explains the historian.

The important thing, the scholar understands, is how he ends up resigning from the gesture—and thus founding Christianity.

“He has modified the process [da Páscoa]. He took advantage of this whole situation to bring back the reference to the Supper, altering that meeting of a group of Jews, and establishing a new sacrament. And that is exactly what the Church is based on: the Eucharist, the Holy Supper,” he comments.

He adds, “From the Jewish Passover, he instituted a new sacrament. He made reference to bread and wine.”

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