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

4.58  ·  Rating details ·  1,942 ratings  ·  226 reviews
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
Hardcover, 228 pages
Published February 15th 2011 by Image (first published 2011)
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 ·  1,942 ratings  ·  226 reviews

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Jeff Miller
Jan 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 15, 2011 rated it did not like it
"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
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
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.
Feb 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Lee Harmon
Nov 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
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 ...more
Clayton Brannon
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Exceptionally well written explanations of the Jewish historical roots in the modern day Eucharist.
Aug 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: catholic
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
Apr 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Apr 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Julie Davis
Feb 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Trey Benfield
May 10, 2015 rated it liked it
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
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bible, catholic
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.
Aaron Viland
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
While I don’t agree with his conclusion of precisely *how* Christ is present in the Eucharist, this was still very enjoyable and informative!
Christine Calabrese
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“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
Jun 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I cannot recommend this book enough! Everyone should read it.
Patrick O'Hannigan
Feb 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion, favorites
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
Valerie L
Dec 28, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: religious
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. ...more
Peter Bradley
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, theology
Please give my Amazon review a helpful vote -

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
Oct 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Emily Zlatos
Apr 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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
Josh Craddock
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
Zach Waldis
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A very readable account of the genesis of the Eucharist. Highly recommended.
JP McLane
May 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This really is a five star book.
Sara Sullivan
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Without a doubt, receiving Holy Eucharist becomes more meaningful after you read this book!
CJ Curtis
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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!!!
Emilia P
Jul 09, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: real-books, churrrch
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
“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
Judith Bulmer
Jun 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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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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“People were not to consume blood because "the life" or "the soul" (Hebrew nephesh) of the animal is in the blood. As Leviticus states, "It is the blood that makes atonement, by the power of its life." While scholars continue to debate exactly what this means, one thing is clear: in the ancient world, the Jewish people were known for their refusal to consume blood.” 0 likes
“In short, according to the Old Testament and ancient Jewish tradition, the hope of God’s people was for the restoration of Israel from exile, the ingathering of the Gentile nations, and the renewal of creation itself. It was a hope that God, by means of a new exodus, would one day “make all things new” (Revelation 21:5).” 0 likes
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