December 6, 2005

From Bread to Wine 1

Category: Theology - Liturgical :: Permalink

Recently, I started reading James Jordan‘s From Bread to Wine: Toward a More Biblical Liturgical Theology. Many books on liturgical theology focus on the structure and elements of the liturgy, which is great, but Jordan’s project is even broader in scope. He’s interested in seeing the connections between liturgy and the rest of life:

The fundamental thesis that underlies these studies is that Biblical rituals are not something strange or different from the pattern of human life, but that those rituals move through the same steps as human life and thus are designed to key us in to God’s ways, His paths in this world. Sin has distorted the rhythm of human life, but the rituals in the Bible help restore our rhythm by duplicating human life in a small, short, compact, and stylized way. Just as the Tabernacle is a small, or microcosmic, replica of the whole cosmos, so Biblical rituals are short, or microchronic, replicas of (macrochronic) human history and of human biography. Comparing Biblical rituals with Biblical history and Biblical biographies should provide us with a better vision of how we can live our lives under God’s guiding hand (p. 2).


The thing that interests me most about this thesis is that Jordan doesn’t assume, for instance, that the Old Covenant sacrificial rituals are irrelevant to our lives today or that they were simply arbitrary or as if they were always just something weird, something unlike anything else in life. If anything, we’re the ones who are weird (Romans 1: all of us, by nature, because of sin, are crazy) and the rituals are normal and normalizing.

Even if one doesn’t end up convinced by everything Jordan says in working out this thesis, the thesis itself is worth a lot of meditation.

Posted by John Barach @ 4:30 pm | Discuss (0)

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