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A revelatory exploration of the Jewish roots of the Last Supper that seeks to understand exactly what happened at Jesus' final Passover. "Clear, profound and practical--you do not want to miss this book."--Dr. Scott Hahn, author of The Lamb's Supper and The Fourth Cup Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist shines fresh light on the Last Supper by looking at it throug A revelatory exploration of the Jewish roots of the Last Supper that seeks to understand exactly what happened at Jesus' final Passover. "Clear, profound and practical--you do not want to miss this book."--Dr. Scott Hahn, author of The Lamb's Supper and The Fourth Cup Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist shines fresh light on the Last Supper by looking at it through Jewish eyes. Using his in-depth knowledge of the Bible and ancient Judaism, Dr. Brant Pitre answers questions such as: What was the Passover like at the time of Jesus? What were the Jewish hopes for the Messiah? What was Jesus' purpose in instituting the Eucharist during the feast of Passover? And, most important of all, what did Jesus mean when he said, "This is my body... This is my blood"? To answer these questions, Pitre explores ancient Jewish beliefs about the Passover of the Messiah, the miraculous Manna from heaven, and the mysterious Bread of the Presence. As he shows, these three keys--the Passover, the Manna, and the Bread of the Presence--have the power to unlock the original meaning of the Eucharistic words of Jesus. Along the way, Pitre also explains how Jesus united the Last Supper to his death on Good Friday and his Resurrection on Easter Sunday. Inspiring and informative, Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist is a groundbreaking work that is sure to illuminate one of the greatest mysteries of the Christian faith: the mystery of Jesus' presence in "the breaking of the bread."


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A revelatory exploration of the Jewish roots of the Last Supper that seeks to understand exactly what happened at Jesus' final Passover. "Clear, profound and practical--you do not want to miss this book."--Dr. Scott Hahn, author of The Lamb's Supper and The Fourth Cup Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist shines fresh light on the Last Supper by looking at it throug A revelatory exploration of the Jewish roots of the Last Supper that seeks to understand exactly what happened at Jesus' final Passover. "Clear, profound and practical--you do not want to miss this book."--Dr. Scott Hahn, author of The Lamb's Supper and The Fourth Cup Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist shines fresh light on the Last Supper by looking at it through Jewish eyes. Using his in-depth knowledge of the Bible and ancient Judaism, Dr. Brant Pitre answers questions such as: What was the Passover like at the time of Jesus? What were the Jewish hopes for the Messiah? What was Jesus' purpose in instituting the Eucharist during the feast of Passover? And, most important of all, what did Jesus mean when he said, "This is my body... This is my blood"? To answer these questions, Pitre explores ancient Jewish beliefs about the Passover of the Messiah, the miraculous Manna from heaven, and the mysterious Bread of the Presence. As he shows, these three keys--the Passover, the Manna, and the Bread of the Presence--have the power to unlock the original meaning of the Eucharistic words of Jesus. Along the way, Pitre also explains how Jesus united the Last Supper to his death on Good Friday and his Resurrection on Easter Sunday. Inspiring and informative, Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist is a groundbreaking work that is sure to illuminate one of the greatest mysteries of the Christian faith: the mystery of Jesus' presence in "the breaking of the bread."

30 review for Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Miller

    Thankfully much of the silly season when it comes to Catholic scripture scholars is over and the new breed of Catholic scripture scholars are not likely to get their views displayed on the History or Discovery Channel. This comes to mind after reading Brant Pitre's new book Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper. When it comes to the Eucharist, the better understanding that we have of the Eucharist in the Jewish context the better understanding we ha Thankfully much of the silly season when it comes to Catholic scripture scholars is over and the new breed of Catholic scripture scholars are not likely to get their views displayed on the History or Discovery Channel. This comes to mind after reading Brant Pitre's new book Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper. When it comes to the Eucharist, the better understanding that we have of the Eucharist in the Jewish context the better understanding we have of the Eucharist itself. It was a fulfillment of the Old Testament and gave in that what came before became fully realized. The God-given manna which nourished the Israelites physically when brought to the fullness nourishes us spiritually as the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ. Brant Pitre has focused on the Old Testament along with several non-scriptural sources of Jewish writing to fully give us an understanding of the Eucharist from its Jewish roots. He starts by looking at the Last Supper and how Jesus' words must have gone beyond surprising from a Jewish point of view. We so often hear the words of institution at Mass and have accepted them that it is so easy to forget what they meant to the Jews of that time when it came to eating his body and blood. Even if you saw the blood as pure symbolism it would still be upsetting to Jewish ears and the commandment not to eat the blood of the sacrifice. He goes on to discuss what was the idea the people had of the coming Messiah. We have often heard that they expected a political Messiah and like so many common facts it isn't exactly true. Some expected a more political Messiah, but the majority expected a new Moses with all that entails. A new Exodus, Passover, and a Manna that was something more and given perpetually. He spends chapters discussing the Exodus and a new Passover along with the Manna. There is much information passed on here and all of it worthwhile. While I have read many of the ideas presented before in other books, I found the chapter the on Bread of the Presence most interesting in that I haven't seen much on this topic before other than just passing information. There is a much deeper connection with the Bread of the Presence and the Eucharist that I had suspected and the Eucharist is much more than just a fulfillment of the Manna. Much of this information comes together on the Last Supper as the new Passover and a discussion of the Four Cups. The tying of the drinking of the Four Cups of wine in a Passover mean and Jesus' institution of the new Passover and his sacrifice is not new information and as the author admits is is speculative. This idea as popularized by Scott Hahn and supported by earlier Protestant scripture scholars has the ring to it of truth along with the beauty of it pointing to the truth. Brant Pitre makes a thorough explanation for it here as the presentation he agrees with and certainly one that I also believe to be correct. As I said this chapter really brings the book together in the understanding of the Eucharist via Jewish eyes. He goes on to explain how the information in the book is nothing new and then gives information from the Catechism and the Church Fathers in how they also saw this. He also relates a story about how he thought he had found something new in the Our Father in a Eucharistic tone that later he found exactly the same idea expressed in the Catechism. Well he is in good company since Dr. Scott Hahn has also expressed finding the same thing himself in that what he thought was original was already known by the Church. Often though a theological understanding once known gets lost or at least not focused on and so good books bringing these truths to our eyes are well worthwhile. Brant Pitre has certainly done a good and thorough job here of a scholarly presentation written for every Catholic.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    "Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist" sets out to prove that the bread and wine in the Eucharist/Communion are literally Jesus' flesh and blood. The author stated that he would use the Bible and ancient Jewish sources to prove that's how the Jews would have understood it. There was some cultural background information, but it wasn't very comprehensive as the author tended to ignore anything that didn't directly support his argument. The first part of chapter 6 did do a good job of giving "Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist" sets out to prove that the bread and wine in the Eucharist/Communion are literally Jesus' flesh and blood. The author stated that he would use the Bible and ancient Jewish sources to prove that's how the Jews would have understood it. There was some cultural background information, but it wasn't very comprehensive as the author tended to ignore anything that didn't directly support his argument. The first part of chapter 6 did do a good job of giving details about the "order of service" for the Passover at the time of Jesus, but "Christ in the Passover" by Ceil Rosen and Moishe Rosen covers the same information and more if you're mainly interested in that. If you're looking for a book that explains or proves the Catholic beliefs about the Eucharist, then I wouldn't recommend this book. Despite all the quotes, the author's core arguments used his assumptions about the Eucharist to "prove" his assumptions. For example, one core argument was that eating the Passover lamb was necessary during the original Passover or the firstborn son would have died even if the lamb's blood was on the doorpost. To quote from page 56, "If they took the lamb, sacrificed the lamb, spread the blood of the lamb, but did not eat the lamb, what would have been the result? Well, the Book of Exodus does not say. But it's a good guess that when they awoke the next morning, their firstborn son would be dead." So he admits he can't prove this idea using the Bible. (In fact, Exodus 12:13, 22-23 makes it clear that the only requirement for having the house "passed over" was the blood on the door frame and staying inside that house.) He also didn't quote a single ancient source that said if someone in the family--or even just the firstborn--didn't eat the lamb, then the firstborn would die. So he bases his core argument on what he calls "a good guess" but which actually contradicts Scripture. Many of his arguments had this same flaw. One of his stronger arguments could have been John 6:55. His argument (from page 101) is, "It is widely recognized by New Testament scholars--Protestant and Catholic alike--that Jesus is speaking here [in John 6:48-59] about the Eucharistic food and drink that he will give the disciples at the Last Supper....any attempt to insist that Jesus was not speaking about what he would do at the Last Supper here is a weak case of special pleading." So his argument is "don't question what I'm saying, the authorities back me up." He didn't even quote an ancient source that supported his view. But read the chapter for yourself. In John 6:32-59 and during the Last Supper, Jesus is talking about his death and resurrection. It's a minor but important difference. Yes, Jesus' words in both places have similarities, but that's because they refer to the same event. The author gave no evidence that Jesus meant his speech in John 6:48-59 as a commentary on how to understand the yet-to-happen Last Supper. The author's claim that Protestant scholars agree with his claim is untrue. After studying the passage for myself, I looked up what a few scholars had to say and it was easy to find scholars that disagree with Pitre. For example, from "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible" by Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, commenting on John 6:51, "...our Lord explicitly introduces His sacrificial death--for only rationalists can doubt this not only as that which constitutes Him the Bread of life to men, but as THAT very element IN HIM WHICH POSSESSES THE LIFE-GIVING VIRTUE." And commenting on John 6:53-58, "He says they must not only 'eat His flesh' but 'drink His blood,' which could not but suggest the idea of His death--implied in the separation of one's flesh from his blood. And as He had already hinted that it was to be something very different from a natural death, saying, 'My flesh I will give for the life of the world' ( John 6:51 ), it must have been pretty plain to candid hearers that He meant something above the gross idea which the bare terms expressed. And farther, when He added that they 'had no life in them unless they thus ate and drank,' it was impossible they should think He meant that the temporal life they were then living was dependent on their eating and drinking, in this gross sense, His flesh and blood." Finally, some of the information Pitre used to support his position could equally support the Protestant view. This is true for the Scripture he quoted, especially when it's read in full context or along with other verses that he failed to quoted. So, overall, I wouldn't even recommend this book to Catholics since his arguments weren't properly supported. I received this book as a review copy from the publisher.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mimi

    A lovely friend (thanks!) recommended this well-written and interesting exploration of eucharistic theology and the roots in the Old Testament. I'd heard some of this before in a wonderful Podcast series, and it was good to read and confirm. Pitre is Roman Catholic and doesn't address Orthodox theology, which was the only small quibble I had with the book. However, it was an excellent, faith-affirming, and interesting book. He has written others that I am planning to, and have, looked for. A lovely friend (thanks!) recommended this well-written and interesting exploration of eucharistic theology and the roots in the Old Testament. I'd heard some of this before in a wonderful Podcast series, and it was good to read and confirm. Pitre is Roman Catholic and doesn't address Orthodox theology, which was the only small quibble I had with the book. However, it was an excellent, faith-affirming, and interesting book. He has written others that I am planning to, and have, looked for.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ruth

    I heard Dr. Pitre speak at my church several years ago and was impressed with what he had to say, so I grabbed this book when First Wildcard made it available. It is an absolutely fascinating look at how the Eucharist, as understood by Catholics, truly has its roots in Judaism, and not just in the Passover story. Pitre talks about the Passover (and brings out details I've never heard elsewhere) but also talks about the sacrificial worship of the Jews in the Temple. He compares the Eucharist to I heard Dr. Pitre speak at my church several years ago and was impressed with what he had to say, so I grabbed this book when First Wildcard made it available. It is an absolutely fascinating look at how the Eucharist, as understood by Catholics, truly has its roots in Judaism, and not just in the Passover story. Pitre talks about the Passover (and brings out details I've never heard elsewhere) but also talks about the sacrificial worship of the Jews in the Temple. He compares the Eucharist to the Bread of the Presence kept in the Temple. He goes through John 6 and explains what the various phrases would have meant to Jews of Jesus' era. Pitre makes scripturally and historically-based arguments in favor of the Eucharist being understood as both sacrament and meal and as Jesus' body, not just a symbol. I highly recommend this book and give it an A.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lee Harmon

    Ever wonder how the Eucharistic teachings of the New Testament evolved? Where did Jesus get the idea for his Last Supper ritual? How did Paul think to tie this ritual to his theology of atonement? Why does John’s Gospel emphasize so strongly the Paschal Lamb? Why were the church fathers so adamant about tying the Eucharist to the Passover? Because the Sacraments have deep Hebrew roots. I have studied a little about the pagan influences on the ceremony of bread and wine, this concept of “eating th Ever wonder how the Eucharistic teachings of the New Testament evolved? Where did Jesus get the idea for his Last Supper ritual? How did Paul think to tie this ritual to his theology of atonement? Why does John’s Gospel emphasize so strongly the Paschal Lamb? Why were the church fathers so adamant about tying the Eucharist to the Passover? Because the Sacraments have deep Hebrew roots. I have studied a little about the pagan influences on the ceremony of bread and wine, this concept of “eating the body” and “drinking the blood,” but never delved much into its Hebrew side … other than to imagine how bizarre it must have appeared to God-fearing Jews, who had been taught since childhood never to ingest blood. Pitre digs into scripture and Judaic writings, and his research is fresh, scholarly, and easy to digest. If I can find more Pitre books, I’m going to snap them up. Absolutely fascinating, and critical to Pitre’s conclusion, is a chapter in his book about the “shewbread” (showbread), what Pitre calls the “Bread of the Presence.” This bread, kept fresh in the Holy of Holies at the back of the Temple, shares a table with the libation flask, and thus links to the wine offering. Judaism has long connected the bread and the wine, back to the days of the very first priest, Melchizedek. But this holy bread carries with it a certain symbolism, understood by every Jew each time it was carried out for their viewing at the major festivals. Jesus references this “Bread of the Presence” (the presence of God, if you haven’t already guessed) directly in the Gospels, and it forms an important basis for understanding Jesus’ teaching at the Last Supper. One interesting conclusion Pitre reaches is that Jesus never finished the Passover meal with his disciples! The fourth and final cup of wine, which each participating Jew shared during the Passover celebration, was never drunk. Instead, Jesus drank this final cup just moments before his death. Pitre thus brings the theological meaning of Jesus’ timing to life in a most intriguing way. Pitre writes from a conservative Catholic perspective, as seems appropriate. (I'm no scholar of current-day religious practices, but who finds more ritualistic meaning in the Eucharist than the Catholics?) He does lean toward a Roman Catholic understanding of the bread and wine, though he avoids the word "transubstantiation" in favor of the baggage-free phrase "reality of Jesus' presence in the Eucharist." But I guarantee Christians of all denominations will enjoy this one.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    An impassioned defense of the traditional Catholic beliefs about the Sacrament of Communion, Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist is a very Scriptural, readable piece of non-fiction. Pitre presents his scholarship and analysis in thorough, forthright prose. It is a terrific answer to common arguments raised by those anti-Catholics who try to trip Catholics up on the topic. I'm not sure, though, that someone who's not religious, or at least not Christian, would be terribly interested in th An impassioned defense of the traditional Catholic beliefs about the Sacrament of Communion, Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist is a very Scriptural, readable piece of non-fiction. Pitre presents his scholarship and analysis in thorough, forthright prose. It is a terrific answer to common arguments raised by those anti-Catholics who try to trip Catholics up on the topic. I'm not sure, though, that someone who's not religious, or at least not Christian, would be terribly interested in the story told here. I hope they will be, though, if only for the sake of the fascinating ancient texts quoted and rituals described therein.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Clayton Brannon

    Exceptionally well written explanations of the Jewish historical roots in the modern day Eucharist.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ethan

    This is an incredible book. It opened my eyes wide and I enjoyed it the whole way through. The author writes in an accessible style and it reads like he's talking to us. The book is exhaustively researched and references Christian, Jewish, and secular sources, but, in a pleasant change, all the footnotes have been moved to the back and not even superscripted numbers remain (resulting in no distractions and just letting the author talk to us). The author starts with the question of the Eucharist, This is an incredible book. It opened my eyes wide and I enjoyed it the whole way through. The author writes in an accessible style and it reads like he's talking to us. The book is exhaustively researched and references Christian, Jewish, and secular sources, but, in a pleasant change, all the footnotes have been moved to the back and not even superscripted numbers remain (resulting in no distractions and just letting the author talk to us). The author starts with the question of the Eucharist, what did Jesus mean when he asked his disciples to eat his flesh and drink his blood? He then begins to work carefully and methodically through the experiences and expectations of a 1st century Jew hearing those words. He moves us through the Passover, the manna in the desert, the Tabernacle, the Temple, the Bread (and wine) of the Presence, the Holy of Holies, the annual feasts and sacrifices Jesus would have seen, the Last Supper, the Eucharist, and, in a surprising finale, the disciples on the road to Emmaus. He draws a remarkably straight line connecting all these biblical themes, and then extends the line further into the early Church Fathers and their writings connecting the same themes. There's even a chapter exploring the 4th Cup, an idea strongly promoted by Scott Hahn, but concedes that it's speculative. Brant Pitre has laid out the clearest treatment of perhaps the most important subject imaginable. He's intellectually honest. He cites a wide range of sources dating back centuries. He reads like the most interesting dinner conversation you've ever heard. This is just an amazing, amazing book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    April

    One of the best books I've ever read. One can NOT understand Christianity without understanding ancient Judaism. The rampant increase in number of Protestant denominations is in part due to this lack of understanding. Our faith grew out of Judaism, and it's necessary to put all doctrinal and scriptural things in their proper historical context. Failure to do so leads one away from the Church Christ founded. At any rate, if you've ever wanted to know why Catholics believe that Holy Communion is tr One of the best books I've ever read. One can NOT understand Christianity without understanding ancient Judaism. The rampant increase in number of Protestant denominations is in part due to this lack of understanding. Our faith grew out of Judaism, and it's necessary to put all doctrinal and scriptural things in their proper historical context. Failure to do so leads one away from the Church Christ founded. At any rate, if you've ever wanted to know why Catholics believe that Holy Communion is truly the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, this right here's the answer.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

    So much to say about this. It's easy to say that EVERY Catholic should read and know this, but we know how that works. We think EVERY Catholic should already understand the tremendous gift of God the Son present before them 24/7 in every Catholic Church around the world. We should be crawling on our faces to Communion....but so many willfully ignore Christ. Fantastic book, by a man with tremendous gifts. So much to say about this. It's easy to say that EVERY Catholic should read and know this, but we know how that works. We think EVERY Catholic should already understand the tremendous gift of God the Son present before them 24/7 in every Catholic Church around the world. We should be crawling on our faces to Communion....but so many willfully ignore Christ. Fantastic book, by a man with tremendous gifts.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    Pitre is always a fascinating and wonderful read. His latest is no disappointment. With clarity and insight he explains the Jewish roots of the Eucharist. He admits it is no secret and references the catechism and church Fathers to illustrate his points. Highly recommended.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Julie Davis

    A fascinating concept, that of taking us deep into the 1st century Jewish context of understanding messianic prophecy so that we have the proper understanding of what Jesus was communicating to those around him. The desired result is to show that the Eucharist is indeed true body and true blood. Makes sense to me and Pitre has so far done a very clear job of laying the groundwork for what was expected ... which is very far from being the simplistic explanation that I have always heard of waiting A fascinating concept, that of taking us deep into the 1st century Jewish context of understanding messianic prophecy so that we have the proper understanding of what Jesus was communicating to those around him. The desired result is to show that the Eucharist is indeed true body and true blood. Makes sense to me and Pitre has so far done a very clear job of laying the groundwork for what was expected ... which is very far from being the simplistic explanation that I have always heard of waiting for a political/warrior messiah to come and set the people free from Roman rule. Update This book is just getting better and better ... I am riveted to the way that Pitre carefully builds the evidence ... and although I find I already knew many of his pieces of said evidence, there are always two or three that I never heard of that are the clinching facts to make points about Jesus clearly saying that he is the new messiah, the new passover sacrifice, and more. Truly an amazing piece of writing. Another Update Amazing. Brilliant. Genius. Highest recommendation. A full review will replace all this in a few days. REVIEW ... At Patheos's book club.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Trey Benfield

    Really thought provoking attempt at connecting the practice of the Lord's supper with types in the Old Testament such as the bread of the presence and the manna. I thought that while generally on point or at least in the ballpark, some of the arguments used by the author went a little further than the evidence presented. However, this book is intended for a more popular audience so it may be that he was simplifying his arguments. Many of his arguments relied on the Talmud or the Mishnah which m Really thought provoking attempt at connecting the practice of the Lord's supper with types in the Old Testament such as the bread of the presence and the manna. I thought that while generally on point or at least in the ballpark, some of the arguments used by the author went a little further than the evidence presented. However, this book is intended for a more popular audience so it may be that he was simplifying his arguments. Many of his arguments relied on the Talmud or the Mishnah which may have application to Jesus' time but also may much be later. Also he always wanted to work transubstantiation into every argument. As a Protestant I did not buy it obviously, but since the author is Roman Catholic I understood why he would do so and did not think it took away from his overall points. There is a paucity of literature on the Lord's supper and I think this book fills a need. I would recommend it to Catholic and Protestant friends as well. Protestants may find the defense of transubstantiation tedious, but they should not let that hinder them from learning from a fairly decent and orthodox treatment of the Lord's supper.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    So beautiful. So moving. I just finished. Cannot put into words how this has further deepened my love for Jesus and gratitude for how much He loves us and gives, gives, gives.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Viland

    While I don’t agree with his conclusion of precisely *how* Christ is present in the Eucharist, this was still very enjoyable and informative!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Christine Calabrese

    “Behold, God’s love for you!” This book is a scholarly work, bringing us back to the cultural, liturgical and seasonal traditions of Judaism when Jesus of Nazareth graced the earth. I learned that there was a tradition handed down by Melchizedek, offering bread and wine as a sacrifice to the Lord God. The Ark of the Covenant contained bread (manna) from the exodus along with other important relics. This bread was brought out three times a year by the priests and held before the congregation with “Behold, God’s love for you!” This book is a scholarly work, bringing us back to the cultural, liturgical and seasonal traditions of Judaism when Jesus of Nazareth graced the earth. I learned that there was a tradition handed down by Melchizedek, offering bread and wine as a sacrifice to the Lord God. The Ark of the Covenant contained bread (manna) from the exodus along with other important relics. This bread was brought out three times a year by the priests and held before the congregation with the words, “Behold, God’s love for you.” The manna during the Jewish exodus never lasted more than a day. Yet, as Catholics, we enjoy the Eucharist daily in every Mass we celebrate. Strikingly interesting! I knew from my protestant background that Jesus is the Passover Lamb, but the details escaped me. The lambs slain for Passover in Jesus’ time were tied to a cross. Passover was a big feast day for the Jews and thousands of spotless lambs were slain on the altar, which Jesus must have seen over his lifetime as He celebrated Passover annually. He knew exactly what lay ahead of Him. I also didn’t know that Jesus never finished the Passover meal with the disciples in the Upper Room - the last cup of wine was not drunk at that meal because it was His sacrifice. “By refusing to drink of the fruit of the vine until He gave up His final breath, He joined the offering of himself under the form of bread and wine to the offering of Himself on Calvary.” * Furthermore, the concept that Jesus is the new manna, and that the Jews were looking for the new manna, had escaped me prior to reading this book. To embrace the full meaning of this, one must truly understand Jewish historical culture: This bread was called, “The Bread of the Presence” and also “The Bread of the Face,” the tangible and physical sign of God’s presence on earth. The exodus from Egypt was truly a miraculous occurrence, and the Jews carried this hope of the new manna in their liturgy and hearts. Even though other religions believed in an afterlife, what separated them from the Jews was how the latter believed in the resurrection of the body. The Eucharist is closely tied to the resurrected body of our Lord. Jesus in His resurrected body is not limited by space and time and form. He can and will appear under any form He pleases, and He instituted and willed to appear under the form of the Eucharist. The author, Dr. Brant Pitre, captured my attention immediately upon describing an intense interview from a well-meaning Baptist pastor at a pre-marital interview. Dr. Pitre’s wife was a Baptist, and the marriage of a Baptist to a Catholic with strong beliefs can cause debate and conflict. Here, as a young man, he was questioned about the validity of the Eucharist, and this challenge spurred him on to deeper study and comprehension of his Catholic faith. Clearly Dr. Pitre has surpassed his goal because he now travels the country and lectures regarding the Eucharist and its incredibly beautiful history. Dr. Pitre makes it plain that none of his discoveries are new, and that in fact, they are clearly written in the Catholic Catechism. Unfortunately, an unstudied and unschooled Catholic can be caught off-guard by well-meaning protestants who question without understanding. This book, therefore, is a great accompaniment to any apologetic library. After reading the entire book, I discovered a lovely study guide supplied in the back! I’d recommend using this study guide in a bible study or book club, as it would help tremendously digging deeper into your faith. “Behold, God’s love for you!” *Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist, p. 169 Read again 2020, it is an amazing book and I really learn a lot from this author!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    I cannot recommend this book enough! Everyone should read it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Patrick O'Hannigan

    This book has the patina of an academic dissertation about it, yet Brant Pitre has written as clearly as possible about a stirring subject with decisive influence on the faith of any Christian. If you're like me (and, it seems, like Mr. Pitre), you grew up hearing about Jesus as the Paschal Lamb, but not so much about other Jewish roots of the eucharist. Pitre's book offers a gentle, scholarly, and altogether inspiring correction to that deficiency. He addresses messianic expectations at the tim This book has the patina of an academic dissertation about it, yet Brant Pitre has written as clearly as possible about a stirring subject with decisive influence on the faith of any Christian. If you're like me (and, it seems, like Mr. Pitre), you grew up hearing about Jesus as the Paschal Lamb, but not so much about other Jewish roots of the eucharist. Pitre's book offers a gentle, scholarly, and altogether inspiring correction to that deficiency. He addresses messianic expectations at the time of Christ, ties between the "manna of Moses" and the "manna of the Messiah," theology surrounding the "Bread of the Presence," ritual links between the Last Supper and the crucifixtion, and the faith of the early Church. Weighty subjects, every one of them, but clearly explained, and of course each point complements the others. Saint John's famous "Bread of Life" discourse takes center stage among the scriptural references here, but it is by no means alone, because Pitre is adept at showing how John's words harmonize with those that Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthians. Indeed, no part of the bible -- old testament or new -- scares him, and he's kind enough to explain the translations of individual words from their source languages when necessary. Those of us not fluent in Greek appreciate this author's consideration! That the book ends up being a resounding affirmation of what the Catholic Church has long taught about the Eucharist as the "source and summit of Christian life" should be no surprise, yet this is a work of catechesis, not apologetics. Highly recommended.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Valerie L

    This book turned out to be different from what I was looking for. It seemed the author kept repeating himself, took forever to get to a point, and was hung up on the literal eating and drinking of Christ's blood and body. Perhaps for someone wanting to read everything about the Jewish sacrament this would be good, but if you are a casual reader looking for a thoughtful but interesting book to give you new insights - I'd go elsewhere. This book turned out to be different from what I was looking for. It seemed the author kept repeating himself, took forever to get to a point, and was hung up on the literal eating and drinking of Christ's blood and body. Perhaps for someone wanting to read everything about the Jewish sacrament this would be good, but if you are a casual reader looking for a thoughtful but interesting book to give you new insights - I'd go elsewhere.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Peter Bradley

    Please give my Amazon review a helpful vote - https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-re... Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper by Brant Pitre I am a life-time Catholic and I am a deep and extensive reader of theology and the early church fathers, but this book was chock-a-block with facts, insights and observations that were right under my nose all along but which I never suspected to exist. Author Brant Pitre's chief claim is that the Jews of Jesus's t Please give my Amazon review a helpful vote - https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-re... Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper by Brant Pitre I am a life-time Catholic and I am a deep and extensive reader of theology and the early church fathers, but this book was chock-a-block with facts, insights and observations that were right under my nose all along but which I never suspected to exist. Author Brant Pitre's chief claim is that the Jews of Jesus's time were waiting for a new Exodus. This new Exodus required a new Moses, and what is more, a return of the miracle that chiefly defined the Exodus, namely, Manna. We all know about the Passover-Last Supper parallel. Pitre sharpens our understanding of that connection by providing insights about how first-century Jews would have understood Passover, to wit, that God gave precise instructions about how to select a lamb for sacrifice and how to mark the houses with the blood of the lamb on the lumber of the lintels but that this rite of the original Passover would not have been over until the lamb had been eaten. From there Pitre explains the miracle of Manna and its continuing cultic significance in Judaism. I knew that Manna was kept in the ark of the covenant, but Pitre explains the importance of manna as the quintessential miracle of Exodus. Manna had a place in the Jewish cultural imagination as the bread of life or the bread of angels. Some thought that Manna had existed in Heaven before the creation of the world. What I knew but didn't know was the importance that Jesus assigned to manna. I knew that the Bread of Life discourse in John 6 starts with a question by skeptics about Jesus providing manna, and I knew his answer, but I didn't know the context of that discussion, namely whether Jesus was the Messiah would bring back manna. Jesus's answer was "yes" and he declared that he was that manna. Pitre then discusses the obscure and mysterious "Bread of the Presence." I never knew that Moses and the 72 elders had a banquet with God where they saw the "face" of God. I definitely did not know that the Bread of Presence was also called "the Bread of the Face" because it was in the presence of God or that three times a year the priests showed the people the "face of God" by showing the Bread of the Presence and announcing this is God's love. Of course, this all gives deep insight into the original Christian understanding of the Eucharist. Concerning the Bread of the Presence, Pitre summarizes: "The Bread and Wine of Jesus’ Presence In books about the Last Supper, scholars are often puzzled by a peculiar feature of the meal. If it was in fact a new Passover, then why didn’t Jesus take the roasted flesh of the Passover lamb and identify it as his body? Why did he focus instead on the bread and wine? Moreover, why would he choose to identify the bread and wine so intimately with himself? Where could he have gotten the (admittedly strange) idea that bread and wine could somehow represent a person? To be sure, one can see how the breaking of the bread and the pouring out of the wine could be visible signs of his imminent death. The broken bread symbolizes his broken body, and the outpoured wine symbolizes the shedding of his blood. But you have to admit that when you think of common symbols of a person’s presence, bread and wine are not the first things that spring to mind. That is, unless you are a first-century Jew, and you are talking not just about the presence of a human being but about the presence of God. However, as we have seen, the notion that bread and wine could be signs of the divine presence was something that would have been driven home at least three times a year, at the feasts of Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. As we just learned, at each of these festivals, the golden table of the Bread of the Presence would be brought out for the pilgrims to see, and the priests would declare: “Behold, God’s love for you!” In light of everything we’ve seen so far in this chapter, I think the case can be made that from Jesus’ perspective, the Last Supper was not merely a new Passover; it was also the new bread and wine of the Presence. Although most readers don’t look at the Last Supper in terms of the bread and wine of the Presence, I invite you to look again:..." Pitre offers an explanation of the Jewish Passover Seder and the significance of Jesus drinking the fourth and final cup of Passover after he utters "It is finished," thereby making the Last Supper into a sacrifice with sacrifice, priest and liturgy. In sum, this was a challenging, insightful and interesting book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    Communion, the eating of bread and wine regarded as the body and blood of Jesus, is the heart of liturgical worship. Its place in Christian history holds such awe that even the most anarchic Protestant sect pays homage to it, if only once a year. Where did it come from? What could have possessed a group of first century Jews into organizing an elaborate ritual around small fragments of bread, and regarding its consumption as the key to eternal life, as Paul wrote? Jesus and the Jewish Roots of t Communion, the eating of bread and wine regarded as the body and blood of Jesus, is the heart of liturgical worship. Its place in Christian history holds such awe that even the most anarchic Protestant sect pays homage to it, if only once a year. Where did it come from? What could have possessed a group of first century Jews into organizing an elaborate ritual around small fragments of bread, and regarding its consumption as the key to eternal life, as Paul wrote? Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Christian Eucharist examine ‘the great Thanksgiving’ in the light of Passover. The work of a Notre Dame religious scholar, it draws not only from the Bible but from the broader Jewish religious tradition to place the Eucharist firmly within it. Although Christianity and Judaism have grown far apart over the millennia, in the beginning this was not so. The breaches between the two religions, so exaggerated now, are bridged when first-century Judaism is delved into fully. While modern Jews hold that the Messiah is an earthly king, come to establish a temporal kingdom, rabbinic commentators within the Mishna and Midrash were looking for a successor to Moses; a prophet who would lead another exodus, this one spiritual, and establish a new covenant. It is the legacy of Moses that much of the book is built on; the exodus he led and the tradition he founded. The first Exodus was lead by Moses, after a series of plagues delivered against the land of Egypt convinced its Pharaoh that releasing the Hebrews from slavery might be the wisest course of action. Though bothered before by p boils, locusts, bloody rivers, and dead cows, the coup de grâce came in the form of an angel of death that slew every first-born son in the land, including the Pharaoh's own boy. The night the angel was at work, the Hebrews engaged in a ritual dinner that was instituted as their salvation. Shortly after the Hebrews had left Egypt and received the Law of Moses, they were ordered to reenact that ritual dinner every year thereafter. Passover, that reenactment, the yearly remembering of their rescue from slavery, is the origin of the Eucharist, its antecedent. The Eucharist is in fact the new passover; just as the first provided rescue from physical bondage, the second offered redemption from spiritual bondage and death. Belief in the power of the Eucharist is not required to appreciate Pitre's argument, which demonstrates how the central Christian practice has well-established Jewish antecedents. Among them: widespread belief in the eventual establishing of a new covenant, installed in blood, one in which the chosen people would feast on the presence of God, not ordinary food; a corresponding belief that the manna which fell from heaven during the Exodus was a sample of that extraordinary food; the veneration of that manna, accomplished by its presence in the Ark, and the regular use of unleavened bread in Jewish sacrifices. Kept in the tabernacle, and referred to as the Bread of the Presence, it symbolized God's abiding with the people of Israel. and finally, the Christian retelling of the Last Supper -- the first communion -- in which the fourth ritual cup of wine, 'the cup of salvation', is not consumed within the Upper Room -- but is referred to during the Passion when Jesus pleads to let 'this cup' pass from him, and later consumes wine on the Cross. This last one is is somewhat stretched, but altogether it's a compelling case that the Gospel authors believed this, that they structured their telling of the Last Supper to connect it with the Passover, to link Jesus' life with Moses. Even if one regards Jesus as nothing but a apocalyptic prophet, the argument is no less compelling because it demonstrates what the early church made of Jesus' life as they struggled to find meaning in it, increasingly removed from that promise that the end of days was imminent. At the very least, the ritual consumption of bread and wine in celebration of the presence of God is made a common bond between Temple Judaism and Christianity, the unbroken thread. There are still some minor quibbles; varying gospels place the execution of Jesus at different spots during Passover, some after the sacrifice of the lamb and some during it; obviously, the connective imagery is most strong if one regards Jesus as being crucified at the same hour that lambs were being roasted crossways on spits. The objection Jews would have against drinking blood and eating 'human flesh' is noted, and Pitre points out that many of Jesus' followers simply couldn't take it. The rest were swayed by the notion that they weren't eating fleshy flesh, they were partaking in a resurrected body, a 'glorified' one, and it wasn't the same. It's a hard sell ("a hard saying", to quote their biblical reaction). The Jewish Roots of the Eucharist is altogether a most effective revealing of how Christian traditions simply grew intact from older Jewish ones. It's not a novel idea; Christians from churches high and low consider Passover and Eucharist linked, but Pitre demonstrates the depth of their connection and makes plain that Christianity's Jewishness runs deep. Related: The Crucified Rabbi, Taylor Marshall. This also examines Judaism's role in shaping Christian (specifically Catholic) spirituality, though it's more of a general survey and not nearly as powerfully argued. Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium, Bart Ehrman. Though I haven't reviewed it here, dualism is an important piece of the puzzle that is Christianity's origin. http://www.thisweekatthelibrary.blogs...

  22. 4 out of 5

    Emily Zlatos

    As Pitre points out, the teaching of the Real Presence is nothing “new”, and has been taught and defended (and caused many to reject Christianity!!) since the beginning of Christ’s Church. This book places it all together, in context with details of Jewish and Old Testament tradition, in a way that made it new. Reading accounts of The Passover before the destruction of the Temple, the tradition of The Bread of the Presence, and the Jewish beliefs about Manna and the world to come, has strengthen As Pitre points out, the teaching of the Real Presence is nothing “new”, and has been taught and defended (and caused many to reject Christianity!!) since the beginning of Christ’s Church. This book places it all together, in context with details of Jewish and Old Testament tradition, in a way that made it new. Reading accounts of The Passover before the destruction of the Temple, the tradition of The Bread of the Presence, and the Jewish beliefs about Manna and the world to come, has strengthened my appreciation for the Eucharist and God’s work of salvation that has been going on since the beginning of time. Not to mention enriching my understanding of the Old Testament and our Jewish ancestors!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Josh Craddock

    Pitre explores the Jewish roots of the bread and wine of Communion, drawing connections between them and the rites of the Passover feast, the manna in the wilderness, and the Bread of the Presence. Some of his observations were quite new to me and at times mind-blowing.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Zach Waldis

    A very readable account of the genesis of the Eucharist. Highly recommended.

  25. 4 out of 5

    JP McLane

    This really is a five star book.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sara Sullivan

    Without a doubt, receiving Holy Eucharist becomes more meaningful after you read this book!

  27. 4 out of 5

    CJ Curtis

    Fantastic book which does an excellent job of bringing many great sources, both ancient and contemporary, into an argument perfect for a modern day reader. Part of a great trend of at least some modern Catholic literature!!!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Emilia P

    So I'm going to be a grumpy grump about this, and I'm not sure why. I like churchy books, clearly. I like Jewish/Christian connections and learning more about them. The meat of this book, as it were, that lots of Jewish stuff (manna, the bread of the presence, the Passover lamb) prefigures the Catholic Eucharist, is basically good. But a few things deterred. The writing style was at once dry and obtrusive, since this was basically Bible Study style extrapolation: and thus it follows, and so we se So I'm going to be a grumpy grump about this, and I'm not sure why. I like churchy books, clearly. I like Jewish/Christian connections and learning more about them. The meat of this book, as it were, that lots of Jewish stuff (manna, the bread of the presence, the Passover lamb) prefigures the Catholic Eucharist, is basically good. But a few things deterred. The writing style was at once dry and obtrusive, since this was basically Bible Study style extrapolation: and thus it follows, and so we see, etc. I don't really like Bible Study theology, and that's most likely my own taste. I always feel skeptical that the argument is not being built up with cultural and historical context and that the point boils down to different translations of various words. With the bible study mode alone tying this book together, I just feel like I don't quite buy it. With that in mind, this book kind of disenchanted me (nooooooo) about the Eucharistic idea. If one didn't believe in Christian God, it's very possible to see this as the story of how Christianity co-opted, in a disempowering way, a painful, rich, and complicated Jewish history. The destruction of the 2nd temple by the Romans in 70 AD, and the fact that in that period, sacrifice stopped and the temple was never rebuilt... it's all ... though I said before that I wanted cultural historical context, when you stop to think about it, that's got it's problems too. Of course, if you believe Christianity was/is the fulfillment of the Jewish faith then I guess you shouldn't be too sad...but, uh, yeah. It's stuff I should know more about. Anyway, religion, yay! Read it if you care about these subjects, and want to know a little bit more about Judaism, but then read something by a Jewish person, probably. And if you have, recommend it to me.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Patty

    “However, for anyone interested in exploring the humanity of Jesus – especially the original meaning of his words and actions – a focus on his Jewish identity is absolutely necessary. Jesus was a historical figure, loving in a particular time and place. Therefore, any attempt to understand his words and deeds must reckon with the fact that Jesus lived in an ancient Jewish context.” Maybe I just don’t understand how lost the Jewish roots of Christianity are to the average Christian. I have been aw “However, for anyone interested in exploring the humanity of Jesus – especially the original meaning of his words and actions – a focus on his Jewish identity is absolutely necessary. Jesus was a historical figure, loving in a particular time and place. Therefore, any attempt to understand his words and deeds must reckon with the fact that Jesus lived in an ancient Jewish context.” Maybe I just don’t understand how lost the Jewish roots of Christianity are to the average Christian. I have been aware of these roots for a very long time. Part of why I wanted to visit Israel was so I could see where Christianity started – the actual Jewish land and culture. I have now read two books about Jesus and his Jewish identity. Neither of them did a lot for me. In the case of this book, I admire Pitre’s scholarship and writing. He did a great deal of research and makes his case for learning about Judaism very clearly. I am not sorry to read this book, but I like to learn and understand new things when I read. Pitre’s explanation of the roots of the Eucharist was new to me. I didn’t remember about the Jewish restrictions about blood until I read Pitre’s book. However, I don’t understand his need to insist that Holy Communion is the body and blood of Jesus. I don’t accept the Catholic definition of the Eucharist and I was not convinced by Pitre’s arguments. I appreciate his need for this – it is central to Roman Catholicism, but it is not central to my faith. I do recommend this book to Catholics and others who want to know more about the fact that Jesus was Jewish. It is not a fact that we should forget.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Judith Bulmer

    I don't think I would have ever picked this book up for myself. A friend at Church suggested I read it and loaned it to me. He also gave me a series of CD's which accompany the book but I couldn't get to grips with the CD's at all. The book however was very interesting. There are many things which I have always done and seen at Church, and just accepted without considering their significance, or really thought about why we do things as we do. This book gives an insight into possible interpretati I don't think I would have ever picked this book up for myself. A friend at Church suggested I read it and loaned it to me. He also gave me a series of CD's which accompany the book but I couldn't get to grips with the CD's at all. The book however was very interesting. There are many things which I have always done and seen at Church, and just accepted without considering their significance, or really thought about why we do things as we do. This book gives an insight into possible interpretations of what is actually happening during the eucharist and why we do things as we do at Mass today, for example the use of bread at the last supper, the concept of the "fourth cup" also very thought provoking. I loved it, and have bought my own copy. I think it is a book which I will read, then re read, one of those which gives you something else and something different each time you read it. As Catholics we often seem so sure and so right, sometimes I think we forget what it's all about and what we're actually doing. I love being Catholic, I love my faith, but it's more important to be Christians I think, focus on Christ and in turn consider what Christ might have meant when he gave us the eucharist. For me, this book made perfect sense. Thank you, Malcolm.

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