Mazza, Enrico. "Chapter Two: Old Testament Sacrifices and Ritual Meals." The Celebration of the Eucharist: The Origin of the Rite and the Development of Its Interpretation. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press/Pueblo, 1999, 9-17.
Mazza recognizes that there are two basic ways we can understand the Old Testament as informing our concept of the eucharist. It may be read in terms of typology or in terms of history (Mazza 1999, 9). From a typological perspective we would see the significance of events and characters in the Old Testament as foreshadowing what happens in the eucharist. From an historical perspective we would interpret rituals and meals which actually serve as antecedents to the eucharist.
To evaluate the origin of the eucharist, Mazza first goes to Jewish meal rituals, which led to the Last Supper (Mazza 1999, 9). Since ritual meals may be tied to sacrifice, Mazza moves to Deuteronomy 12. In this part of Deuteronomy Mazza finds an adjustment of some civil laws so as to fit the more settled, permanently organized nature of Israel among the nations (Mazza 1999, 10). The central sanctuary became more prominent, increasing in its status until the time of Hezekaih (Mazza 1999, 11).
The sacrifice which Mazza ties to the ritual meal he calls the "communion sacrifice" (Mazza 1999, 11). In this ritual, an animal is killed, some is burned, other parts go to priests and to the family that made the offering to be eaten at a joyful meal.
Mazza takes Deuteronomy 12:13-15 to instruct the people that not all slaughter of animals should be seen as a sacrifice, but only those made at the central location (Mazza 1999, 12). From this conclusion, he extrapolates earlier slaughter for food procurement to be a ritual sacrifice (Mazza 1999, 13). If all slaughter is a ritual activity, we expect that the meals would be as well (Mazza 1999, 14). With the greater centralization of the place of worship, the meal could still retain a liturgical and ritual significance, though it might not have to. Mazza sees Jewish meals retaining that element, consistent with Deuteronomy 8:10 which speaks of blessing God at meals. He concludes that the meal retained liturgical, but not sacrificial, character (Mazza 1999, 15).
Mazza notes the use of a Birkat ha-Mazon prayer at any substantial meal (Mazza 1999, 15). The ritual is retained.