Scholar Mazza explores and examines the four texts available to him in order to decipher the structure and content of the First Eucharistic Prayer: (1) Jewish festive meal, (2) Luke’s Last Supper, (3) Didache, and (4) the First Letter to the Corinthians. The “texts” that describe the rituals characterized in the Jewish festive meal and the Didache were written anonymously since both texts are oral tradition; this implies that the two texts were made by the people who practiced them -- there was no particular author who wrote them. In Luke’s document, it is assumed that the writer is Luke who was one of the disciples of Jesus. And the author of the Letter to the Corinthians is none other than St. Paul himself. In his rigorous research, Mazza uncovers the nature of this Eucharistic Prayer and how it shapes the study of Christology and Ecclesiology.
According to Mazza (1999, p.20), Luke’s description of the Last Supper has similarity or “analogous” to the Jewish festive meal. Monti (1993, p.117) says that the Last Supper instituted by Jesus of Nazareth is considered by many Christians as the “most important aspects of this liturgy (i.e., eucharistic prayer).” And Mazza attempts to find a connection or relationship between the Last Supper and the Jewish festive meal; after all, Jesus was fundamentally a Jew. There are three basic stages of the Jewish festive meal: first, the rite of the Qiddush as an introduction to the festive celebration; second, the meal proper; and third, the rite of the cup accompanied by Birkat ha-Mazon (Mazza, 1999). In the Qiddush rite, it begins with the rite of the cup and the reading taken from the passage in the Book of Genesis. Afterwards, a short blessing is performed. At the concluding part of the Qiddush is the rite of bread. After the rite of the Qiddush and the meal proper is the recitation of the Birkat ha-Mazon; Birkat ha-Mazon is a ritual characterized by thanksgiving to God, usually
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