Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online

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The term mensa (pl. mensae) refers in its most basic meaning to a table. In some of the earliest Latin texts about the early Christian church, the term mensa is used to designate tables mentioned in the New Testament (Aug. Ep. 10), or, more generally, tables for food (Jer. Ep. 22). When referring to the eucharistic table, some early authors tend to use altaria (neutrum plurale) or, in later texts only altare (singular), which is an adapted form of the classical altaria. The term ara (pl. ar-ae) is avoided due to its …

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Cassis, Marica, “Mensa”, in: Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online, General Editor David G. Hunter, Paul J.J. van Geest, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte. Consulted online on 02 March 2024 <>
First published online: 2018

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