Does the Christian Eucharist need to be re-thought for the 21st century? Both New Testament scholarship and our understanding of the modern world have left the traditional ideas of Eucharist largely untouched. Four particular elements in the Eucharist - the meaning of the death of Jesus, the remembrance of him, his presence associated with the bread and wine and the action of the Holy Spirit - are looked at in this book from a historical understanding of these ideas as they emerged through the centuries. The author argues that traditional interpretations of these ideas cannot be accepted without modification today; but that there must be taken into account a belief in God that can be accepted in the 21st century and also an acceptance of the change that has come about in our understanding of ourselves and the world since the 16th century. The book, in very accessible prose, points to ways in which we can recover a more reasonable understanding of Eucharist for today.
Aelred Arnesen read theology at Queens’ College, Cambridge. After ordination he served in a parish in Newcastle upon Tyne. In 1955 he joined the Society of St Francis, an Anglican community of friars, and made his life profession with them. In 1966, with the support of the Society of St Francis, he founded Ewell Monastery, the Anglican Cistercian community at West Malling in Kent, to which he was transferred as a monk in life vows. When the monastery was closed in 2004 he moved to Cambridge where he is able to read and write.