Is this how Christ celebrated the Passover?

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012 at 7:05 am

Last week, when I posted the second part in my series on the Four Cups of the Haggadah, Barbara commented:

I had wondered how they got to four cups when that wasn’t mentioned in Exodus at the Passover and whether that was Jewish tradition that was added later. I also wondered if the four cups would have been used in Christ’s day.

I thought I would address this further since the codification of the Haggadah as we know it today has only recently been a topic that I’ve looked into much. Initially, like many Haggadah enthusiasts, I was fond of thinking “If the symbolism fits, wear it.”

Then I started critiquing Haggadah in order to write my own–which made me question some of the conclusions of the Messianic Haggadah I was reading. For instance, I’ve seen Messianic Haggadah that impart ritual meaning to the roasted egg that is traditionally placed on the Haggadah platter. This struck me as odd since this particular ritual was clearly initiated after the time of Christ because it did not begin until after the destruction of the temple in AD 70.

This made me particularly conscious of making sure that I had Scriptural support for how I interpreted the symbols of the Haggadah.

Nevertheless, I still worked at my Haggadah for years before I bothered to check out some of the critical scholarship on the origins of the Haggadah.

What I found disappointed me temporarily.

Apparently, the best scholarship says that the Haggadah as we know it today was written around AD 200-400.

Yes, that would be after the time of Christ.

My heart was broken. All this work, wasted. All this beautiful symbolism ultimately worthless.

And then I realized that the written Haggadah isn’t the be-all-end-all for the Seder. Just because the Haggadah (literally the “telling”) wasn’t written down until AD 200-400 doesn’t mean that the form (the symbols and traditions) of the Haggadah wasn’t in place before then.

In fact, I have good reason to believe that many of the symbols and traditions of the Haggadah were in place at the time of Christ.

And…thanks to my explanation getting close to 1000 words, my “side note” post has been split into a “side note” series–further emphasizing, perhaps, how very excited I get about the Passover.

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Reader Comments (1):

  1. Barbara H. says:

    Thanks for researching this out! I’ll be interested to hear more.

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