Scholars have discovered a 1,500-year-old papyrus from ancient Egypt that contains a remarkable Christian confession, including an early description of Holy Communion. Reportedly, the writing was rolled up in an amulet, a Christian version of the amulets-with-protection-spells worn by pagan Egyptians.
The article on the find says that this is an example of Christian “magic,” but the text says nothing about protection or anything spell-like. The ancient Hebrews of the Bible would also wear little cases that contained Bible verses (Deuteronomy 11:18). The ignorance of the news story in saying that this is one of the “first” references to the Last Supper–the early Church Fathers, such as Irenaeus who died in 202 A.D., referred to it all the time–casts further doubt on the “magic” claim. This instead sounds like an example of Christians following a cultural practice while giving it a new meaning. Anyway, read the text after the jump.
‘Fear you all who rule over the earth.
‘Know you nations and peoples that Christ is our God.
‘For he spoke and they came to being, he commanded and they were created; he put everything under our feet and delivered us from the wish of our enemies.
‘Our God prepared a sacred table in the desert for the people and gave manna of the new covenant to eat, the Lord’s immortal body and the blood of Christ poured for us in remission of sins.’