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Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper Hardcover – February 15, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


“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 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

About the Author

BRANT PITRE is a professor of sacred Scripture at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, Louisiana. He is the author of Jesus the Bridegroom. Dr. Pitre is an extremely enthusiastic and highly sought-after speaker who lectures regularly across the United States. He has produced dozens of Bible studies on both CD and DVD, in which he explores the biblical roots of the Catholic faith. He has also appeared on a number of Catholic radio and television shows, such as Catholic Answers Live and EWTN. He currently lives in Louisiana with his wife, Elizabeth, and their five young children.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Image; First Edition (US) First Printing edition (February 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385531842
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385531849
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (265 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,557 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

206 of 216 people found the following review helpful By Michael Barber on February 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Brant Pitre's book, "Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist", is a tour-de-force of biblical scholarship and theology.

Although Jesus clearly stated that "salvation is from the Jews" (John 4:22) and although he told his disciples "The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat; so practice and observe whatever they tell you" (Matt 23:2-3), far too often the Jewish roots of Christianity have been ignored.

Although this is not true of works by Doctors of the Church--Jerome studied with Jewish rabbis before translating the Vulgate and Thomas Aquinas regularly drew from rabbis such as Maimonides in works like the Summa Theologiae--too many Christians today fail to see the unity of the Old and New Testaments. Moreover, too many modern Jews mistakenly suppose Christianity represents a denial and rejection of their tradition.

This book successfully attempts to remedy these problems by, as I explain at the end of this review, challenging some common stereotypes.

First, it is worth noting that Pitre's unimpeachable credentials as a scholar. Among other things, Pitre studied archaeology in Israel and received his Ph.D. from Notre Dame where he worked under world-class scholars such as John P. Meier and David Aune. His roughly 600-page doctoral dissertation ("Jesus, the Tribulation, and the End of the Exile") has been published by the prestigious German publisher Mohr Siebeck. It was later reprinted for American audiences by Baker Academic. The back cover of this edition contained endorsements by numerous leading historical Jesus scholars (Dale Allison, Scot McKnight, etc.). Yet, despite his first-rate training, Pitre has somehow figured out how to remain accessible to all audiences.
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52 of 55 people found the following review helpful By DJW on February 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
To author Brant Pitre, here is the highest praise I can give you...I sat there with your book, my Study Bible, and my Missal, flipping back and forth between the three...amazed at what I was reading, and trying to figure out how I'd missed so much before. Thank you for the lesson, it was wonderful! I hope your book will inspire others to do the same, and what more could you ask than to bring the scriptures alive to your readers!?
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Richard B on February 25, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'll keep this concise by using bullet points.

1) Easily accessible to the average reader
2) Clearly links the Old Exodus with the New Exodus
3) Puts forth an interesting argument using the Lord's Prayer and its mention of "supernatural" bread
4) Puts forth a compelling argument linking manna, Passover and the Lord's Supper
5) Explains a very interesting argument about the Bread of the Presence from the OT

Needs Improvement:
1) Discussion concerning "drinking blood" was a mere few comments. Given his saying it was a huge objection, I was expecting much more. Hopefully in a future volume, he will go into more depth.
2) It really needs to have a companion edition with much more technical argumentation for a deeper analysis. This book is good for the average person in the pew, but I am now wanting much more in depth argumentation since I found his basis thesis very interesting and compelling.

It really bothers me, as a Protestant when people reviewing books give them one star without having read it. As of this posting, all of the one star reviews were clearly people who haven't even read this book. It's worth the read, and hopefully we will see a more technical follow up. You will be glad you got this book, but you'll be wanting more too...
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68 of 78 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on February 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover
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 released today 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.
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