Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist
Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper
Publication Date: February 15, 2011
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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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 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.”
“In the Mass – in the 'blood of the new and everlasting covenant' – Christ fulfills the rites of the old covenant. This beautiful book by Dr. Brant Pitre shows us that fulfillment in loving detail. We gain an appreciation of what was, so that we can see, ever more clearly, what 'is now and ever shall be.' Clear, profound and practical – you do not want to miss this book.”
– Dr. Scott Hahn, author of The Lamb’s Supper and Signs of Life
“In Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist Brant Pitre pairs together the Jewish Scriptures and the Jewish tradition to frame the actions of Jesus at the Last Supper, and to provide a fresh look at the heart of Christian practice—the Eucharist. By taking us back to the Jewish roots of our faith, Pitre gives us a powerful lens through which to see anew the bread of the presence, the manna, the Last Supper, and ultimately the meaning of Christian Eucharist. Pitre’s mastery of Scripture and the Jewish traditions makes him the perfect guide for anyone seeking to understand the climax of Jesus’ ministry, the Last Supper and the first Eucharist.”
– Dr. Tim Gray, President of the Augustine Institute
“For Christians, it is impossible to understand ourselves apart from Christ. And here, we see how we cannot truly realize the richness of the Eucharist apart from its meaning in light of the Jewish covenant with God. What an exquisite view of the Eucharist as a personal encounter with Christ and the first Eucharist as a humanity-wide encounter with God!”
– Carl A. Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus and the New York Times bestselling author of Our Lady of Guadalupe
“With Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist Brant Pitre puts the Eucharistic Christ into thrilling context by examining the realities of Jewish life in the first century. Believers and non-believers alike will better-appreciate the rich cultural, traditional and scriptural wells from which Eucharistic understanding has been drawn and developed since Jesus of Nazareth first proclaimed, ‘my flesh is real food, and my body real drink.’”
– Elizabeth Scalia, Managing Editor (Catholic) at Patheos.com and the blogger known as The Anchoress
“Captivating, clear and compelling, this book shows how the Eucharist is at the heart of Jesus’ messianic mission. After guiding readers through ancient Jewish hopes for a new Exodus, a new Passover, a new manna and a new temple, Pitre demonstrates step-by-step how Jesus’ institution of the Eucharist fulfills those eschatological expectations. This book is a must read for anyone studying the Biblical foundations for the Eucharist.”
– Edward Sri, Provost of the Augustine Institute and author of Men, Women and the Mystery of Love
“Rare is the book that demands to be read by beginners and scholars alike, but Brant Pitre has written such a book, combining sparkling prose with profound insight into Scripture's meanings and contexts. Guided by Pitre, we enter into the ancient Israelite prophetic expectation of the fulfillment of the original Exodus through a new Passover, new manna, new priest-king, and new Temple. Pitre shows us how age-old controversies over the Eucharist as sacrifice, meal, and real presence are illumined by Jesus in the Gospels. This exciting and inspiring book fills a major gap in biblical studies.”
– Matthew Levering, Professor of Theology, University of Dayton, and author of Sacrifice and Community: Jewish Offering and Christian Eucharist