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

4.49 of 5 stars 4.49  ·  rating details  ·  577 ratings  ·  75 reviews
In recent years, Christians everywhere are rediscovering the Jewish roots of their faith. Every year at Easter time, many believers now celebrate Passover meals (known as Seders) seeking to understand exactly what happened at Jesus' final Passover, the night before he was crucified.
"Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist "shines fresh light on the Last Supper by loo
Hardcover, 228 pages
Published February 15th 2011 by Doubleday Religion (first published January 1st 2011)
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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
"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
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
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, ...more
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 ...more
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
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.
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
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
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 ...more
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 ...more
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
I am finding this to be a thought provoking read – I’m still in the middle of reading it. This book is not something one can read in one evening, it needs to be studied against Scripture. I appreciate how the author doesn’t a Catholic versus them approach and seeks to lovingly provide Scriptural basis for the Eucharist (what I call Communion) and gives the historical roots for it through Jewish writings and Scriptures.

As a Christian I like learning about different denominational beliefs and also
Brant digs into a topic that I'm glad has been getting greater attention in recent dates. The Jewishness of Jesus is given thorough focus in this book as well as how its influence shapes the Eucharist. While much of what was in here is not incredibly new to me I appreciated having such a concentrated focus on a topic that is so deserving. Brant shows how crucial understanding 1st Century Judaism and the OT is to properly understand what Jesus taught and how it was understood. Definitely a worthw ...more
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 ...more
No doubt, a publisher thought anything that had "secret" in the title would be good for sales, no doubt having in mind the success of Dan Brown and his DAVINCI CODE-spawned books, suggesting that all history is made up of dark secrets. The book has no particular secrets, only a scholarly examination of the Jewish origins of Christ's use of bread and wine in the ritual of the Last Supper.

Pitre emphasizes that Jesus was a Jew, well-informed about the historical significance of his religion, and in
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.
Les Walters
I read this in 2011 when we were in 'preparing for the new translation of the Mass texts' mode. It was great to focus much more on the Mass and to get new perspectives. I enjoyed the book but can't recall enough to give it a half-decent review. So I intend to read it again, perhaps during Lent.
This is a magnificent book on trying to understand, by ones intellect, the mystery of the Eucharist. If you are faith based already, this a book relates the Eucharist in a very understandable way for those who are not quite there yet. Great biblical references.
What a fascinating book! I couldn't put it down. How is it I've never heard this before? He answers the question: ...many of its [Christian tradition] most profound insights into the Bible have not been lost, only overlooked by those of us who do not know them, (188).
Doug Brooks
It's important for Christians to think about the interconnectedness of these faiths (Jewish and Christianity) to gain a true and thorough understanding of their religion. For without one, you cannot have the other.
I'm not one to simply have "blind faith", and this book, and others like it, help to dive deeper and see another's perspective on the rich historicity and depth of the subject.
The author's use of 'ancient' (and not so ancient) writings/books to illustrate and add truth to the topic ar
Fascinating read. You learn quite a bit about Jewish culture and history of the time Jesus was on earth. The way the author connects Jesus to Jewish history and teachings keeps you hooked and you just want to learn more.
Jed Park
Really strong book about the meanings behind one of the most important sacraments for a Christian. It explains the depth and substance of the Eucharist by linking it to the old Testament feasts--especially Passover.
Elizabeth Scalia
Loved this very much. Gave it to all of my priests. They loved it too. Reviewed here:
Try to read something each Lent. This was INCREDIBLE!!!! It's a quick read with lots of references to connect the Eucharist with the Last Supper. Leaves you without a doubt in your mind!
Really a well thought out and researched book that provides context for the Eucharist and an explanation of the Catholic doctrine of the Real Presence."
This is a great explanation on how the celebration of the Eucharist began, and how it was influenced and paralleled the Jewish feast of Passover.
If you would like a wonderful, easily digested, book on the relationships between the Seder and the Lord's Supper, this is it!
Ted Leon
Fantastic book about the historicity and Old Testament treatment of the Eucharist. A must read for those interested in the Eucharist.
This book is amazing. I really enjoyed reading about the Jewish roots of Catholicism. I'm a big fan of salvation history.
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Dr. Brant Pitre is Professor of Sacred Scripture at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, Louisiana. He earned his Ph.D. in Theology from the University of Notre Dame, where he specialized the study of the New Testament and ancient Judaism. He is the author of several articles and the books Jesus, the Tribulation, and the End of the Exile (Baker Academic, 2005); Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Euc ...more
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