The Gospel according to John 6: 55-58
(Poet's title: Evangelium Johannis 6, Vers 55-58)
Set by Schubert:
In der Zeit sprach der Herr Jesus
zu den Scharen der Juden:
Mein Fleisch ist wahrhaftig eine Speis,
mein Blut ist wahrhaftig ein Trank!
Wer mein Fleisch isset,
und trinket mein Blut,
der bleibt in mir, und ich in ihm.
Wie mich gesandt hat der lebendige Vater,
und ich lebe um des Vaters willen:
Also wer mich isset
wird auch leben um meinetwillen.
Dieses ist das Brot, das vom Himmel kommen ist.
Nicht wie eure Väter haben Himmelbrot gegessen
und sind gestorben.
Wer von diesem Brot isst,
der wird leben in Ewigkeit.
At that time the Lord Jesus spoke
to the crowd of Jews:
My flesh is truly food,
my blood is truly a drink.
Anyone who eats my flesh
and drinks my blood
remains in me and I in him.
As the living father has sent me,
and I live for the sake of the father:
Thus anyone who eats me
will also live for my sake.
This is the bread that has come from heaven.
Not like your forefathers, who ate manna from heaven
Anyone who eats of this bread
will live for ever.
All translations into English that appear on this website, unless otherwise stated, are by Malcolm Wren. You are free to use them on condition that you acknowledge Malcolm Wren as the translator and schubertsong.uk as the source. Unless otherwise stated, the comments and essays that appear after the texts and translations are by Malcolm Wren and are © Copyright.
Themes and images in this text:
Blood  Bread  Eternity  Father and child  Food, feeding and nursing  Heaven, the sky  Wine and vines
Peter Rastl has identified Aegidius Albertinus as the author of the introduction to the extract from John’s Gospel. This is the gospel pericope for the Mass for the Feast of Corpus Christi (first published in 1616 at the high point of the Counter-Reformation). Corpus Christi, the Catholic feast honouring the Eucharist (in which believers in some way eat and drink the body and blood of Christ in the form of bread and wine), was celebrated on the first Thursday after Trinity Sunday (the Eucharist was instituted on a Thursday, before Jesus’s arrest). However, Protestants avoided the festival. Even Lutherans (who tended to believe in the real presence of Christ’s body and blood in the sacrament) were wary of the seeming idolatry of venerating outward forms (the host was often displayed and carried in procession in enormous and costly monstrances on the Feast of Corpus Christi). For Catholics, though, the idea that eating the bread in the act of communion was a way of sharing physically (as well as symbolically) in the body of Christ remained an essential part of the faith. Christ’s discourse on ‘eating his body’ from John Chapter 6 was basic to all theological commentary on the nature of the Eucharist.
Verses 55 – 58 only make sense in the wider context of the discourse following the feeding of the multitude, which is based on the difference between the ‘manna from heaven’, which was given to the Jews during their wandering in the desert after the Exodus from Egypt, and the new bread which was on offer through faith in Christ (and which would lead to immortality).
John 6 King James Version (KJV) 1 After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias. 2 And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased. 3 And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. 4 And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh. 5 When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? 6 And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. 7 Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. 8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, saith unto him, 9 There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? 10 And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 11 And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. 12 When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. 13 Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten. 14 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world. 15 When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone. 16 And when even was now come, his disciples went down unto the sea, 17 And entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them. 18 And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew. 19 So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid. 20 But he saith unto them, It is I; be not afraid. 21 Then they willingly received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went. 22 The day following, when the people which stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was none other boat there, save that one whereinto his disciples were entered, and that Jesus went not with his disciples into the boat, but that his disciples were gone away alone; 23 (Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks:) 24 When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus. 25 And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither? 26 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. 27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. 28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. 30 They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? 31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. 32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. 34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. 35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. 36 But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. 37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. 41 The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. 42 And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? 43 Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. 44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. 46 Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. 47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. 48 I am that bread of life. 49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. 52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? 53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. 54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. 58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. 59 These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.
Original Spelling Evangelium Johannis In der Zeit: Sprach der Herr Jesus zu den Schaaren der Juden: Mein Fleisch ist wahrhaftig eine Speiß, mein Blut ist wahrhaftig ein Trank. Wer mein Fleisch isset, und trinket mein Blut, der bleibt in mir, und ich in ihm. Wie mich gesandt <i>hat</i> der lebendige Vater, und ich lebe um des Vaters willen: Also, wer mich isset wird auch leben um meinet willen. Dieses ist das Brod, das vom Himmel kommen ist. Nicht wie eure Väter haben Himmelbrot gegessen und sind gestorben. Wer von diesem Brot isst, der wird leben in Ewigkeit.
Confirmed by Peter Rastl with Evangelien, sammt den Episteln oder Lectionen auf alle Sonn- und Feyertage des ganzen Jahres. […] Linz, gedruckt und verlegt bey Joseph Kastner, k. k. privil. Buchdrucker und Buchhändler. 1817, pages 358-359.
To see an early edition of the text, go to page 358 [372 von 668] here: http://digital.onb.ac.at/OnbViewer/viewer.faces?doc=ABO_%2BZ220551309