Theophagy is a word of Ancient Greek origin that means "the feeding on a god" or "eating/devouring god", from θεός (Theós, “god”) and the suffix -phagy (to feed on, to eat/devour).
In fertility rituals, the harvested grain may itself be the reborn god of vegetation. This practice has origins in ancient religions: Dionysus and many examples are documented in The Golden Bough by Sir James George Frazer (1854–1941).
"Zeus himself was sacrificed at Athens in the form of a bull. At this feast, called the buphonia, near the summer solstice, an ox was killed, eaten and restored to life in pantomime. It is interesting to note that the feast became a personified divinity, just as the Roman church, in instituting the feast of Corpus Christi day, near midsummer, has presented the mystery of the mass as an object to the adoration of the people. At Delphi also a bull, called Hosiater, or the Consecrator, and Isodaitos, 'He of the equal feast,' was immolated. Plato doubtless had in mind one of these ceremonies when he describes the killing of a bull in Atlantis, and the drinking of his blood mingled with wine. This was accompanied by an oath to deal justly, reminding us of the oath (sacramentum) that Pliny says the Christians took at their sacred meal. [p.37]"
"But of all the "mysteries" known to us, that of Dionysus bears the closest resemblance to that of Christ. The god of wine died a violent death and was brought to life again; his "passion," as the Greeks called it, and his resurrection were enacted in his sacred rites. [p.37]"
The Eucharist and the drinking of the Blood of Christ can be traced back to the pagan practice of theophagy. With "incense and chanted liturgy, the [Christian] priest sacrifices a God to himself and distributes his flesh to be eaten by his worshippers. The Divine Son is offered to the Father (..) and his holy body and blood become the food of the faithful. [p.23]"
- life-death-rebirth deity
- descent to the underworld
- human sacrifice
- Last Supper - Eucharist
- Smith, Preserved, PH. D (1922). A short history of Christian theophagy. Princeton: Princeton Theological Seminary Library. p. 23,26,32,39,etc.pp.
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