The Early Church Fathers & the Mystery of John 6:53

November 3, 2015

Msgr. Frank Lane uses early Christian documents and historical context to understand how the first Christians interpreted Scripture.

“If in fact Jesus Christ was truly human and truly divine, and if in fact he enters into us as persons, then our full humanity must be engaged in our response to the Lord” – Msgr. Frank Lane

Msgr. Frank Lane

  • Jeanne

    I have a question for Msgr. Lane: Msgr mentioned in his talk that the meaning of the word symbol was different in ancient times than in Luther’s day and because of this different meaning the Protestants believe that the Real Presence in only a symbol. Can you tell me where can I find this difference in the meaning of the word?
    I really enjoyed this talk. It re-enforced my belief in the Real Presence.

    • OnlyOne001

      Jeanne, in ancient times, Neoplatonic philosophy was the dominant thought paradigm among Christians. Plato envisioned abstractions and symbols as a part of concrete reality, with their own separate existence apart from what they represented. This paradigm was denied, beginning in the 14th century, by the Nominalists. Avocates of this new approach to philosophy rethought abstraction and symbols and decided that they had no reality of their own; they were, in effect, “just words” — nomina — hence the name of the new system. Nominalism was the system of philosophy adopted by Martin Luther, and the Reformation popularized it. The spread of Nominalism, therefore, changed how people understand the idea of a symbol: instead of being something concrete, as before, it became ephimeral and “not real.”