LaVerdiere, Eugene. "Chapter One: Before Ever There Was a Name: Our Daily Bread." The Eucharist in the New Testament and the Early Church. Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press (Pueblo), 1996, 1-11.
LaVerdiere observes that in the institution narratives of the New Testament we have an apparent point of origin for the Eucharist, and that the first clear point of arrival is in the Eucharistic traditions of Antioch (LaVerdiere 1996, 1). Filling the gap between the two is a challenge to our understanding. The blessings in Didache 9 may help in our discernment. It is significant to him that the term "eucharist" is used there and seems to refer to the meal (LaVerdiere 1996, 2). In the Corinthian community it was known as "the Lord's Supper" by the early fifties. LaVerdiere suggests that before it was known by that name, it may have been referred to in the term translated from the Lord's Prayer as "daily bread," "epiousios," which doesn't really translate to "daily" very well (LaVerdiere 1996, 3).
In the Eucharist, LaVerdiere observes, we recognize that Jesus gave his life into death, so we could all live. It is inseparable from Jesus' death and resurrection (LaVerdiere 1996, 3). Central to the idea of the resurrection is Jesus' appearing to His disciples. LaVerdiere observes the idea as expressed in the New Testament and passed along before the composition of the New Testament is that Jesus causes himself to be seen (ophthe) (LaVerdiere 1996, 4). In the eucharistic meal, Jesus also causes himself to be seen. Eucharist is inextricable from resurrection.
In Jesus' resurrection appearances, eating bread was a typical occurence. LaVerdiere notes that "breaking bread" could easily be recognized as the normal term for eating, and that bread was the basic food of the culture (LaVerdiere 1996, 6). The breaking of bread in the earliest Christian community would no doubt evoke memories of the meal Jesus and his disciples shared on the night he was betrayed.
Because of the communal nature of eating within the culture, it would be very unusual for someone to eat alone. People break bread together. Hence, the concept of breaking bread is not merely that of receiving nourishment but of sharing in a sort of community (LaVerdiere 1996, 7). LaVerdiere sees this as easily applied within the Christian community to the particular meal in which Jesus causes himself to be seen. For this reason, when there is reference to "epiousios" bread, it can well be seen as a coinage referring to the particular breaking of bread which came to be known as the eucharist (LaVerdiere 1996, 8-9). The word does not appear in secular Greek literature. It is only used in regard to the Lord's Prayer. The term "daily" comes from a Latin transation, "quotidianus," which does mean "daily" (LaVerdiere 1996, 9). LaVerdiere takes it to refer tirectly to the Eucharistic meal, not to any other usage (LaVerdiere 1996, 10).