Book Review: Jesus And The Jewish Roots Of The Eucharist

Jesus And The Jewish Roots Of The Eucharist:  Unlocking The Secrets Of The Last Supper, by Brant Pitre

I have some deeply mixed feelings about this book, but ultimately while I found that the author’s perspective as a Catholic made this a less than enjoyable book to read at parts (and a deeply but unintentionally humorous book to read at other parts), I feel on balance that this book does a good job at pointing to the continuity of scripture and the biblical nature of the NT Passover [1] even if the author fails to take some of the obvious implications of what he writes about here concerning the continued validity of the biblical festivals for Christians today.  Yet although the author does not follow the implications of his research concerning the Jewish roots of the NT Passover and adopts Catholic language that will be alienating to many readers, this book is a worthwhile one in support of the continued keeping of the biblical Holy Days, and especially of the vital importance of understanding the biblical as well as the Second Temple context when it comes to viewing the behavior of the early Church of God.

In about two hundred pages, the author shows a reasonable command of the relevant sources about the Jewish context of early Christianity, even if he gives far too much credence to Jewish myths in the Mishnah and Talmud.  The first chapter of the book looks at the mystery of the last supper, particularly relating to the Jewish prohibition on eating blood.  The second chapter looks at the kind of Messiah that Jews were waiting for, correcting some misconceptions about the Jews only looking for a political messiah.  The third chapter looks at the NT Passover in light of the practice of the Jews at the time of Jesus.  After this, the author looks at the manna of the Messiah, which is followed by a passage of the bread of presence which shows the author attempting to conflate all kinds of references to bread to the same observance.  The sixth chapter of the book looks at the likelihood that Jesus did not drink the fourth cup because He was giving his blood as an offering and thus had to inaugurate an incomplete festival in order to serve as the Passover Himself.  The eighth chapter provides a look at the Jewish roots of Christian faith and points out that the Pascha refers to the Passover, even attempting to score some points by labeling the symbolic interpretation of Protestants concerning the bread and wine as being tied to gnostic practices.

In reading this book I was struck by how insistent the author was concerning the “real” presence of the blood and body of Jesus Christ in the wine and bread that serve as two of the principal symbols of the New Testament Passover.  I would argue that the presence of Jesus Christ is real but it is spiritual and not physical.  I would also note that the Bible has specific commandments about the unleavened bread for the Passover that the Catholic Church totally fails to uphold in their counterfeit Eucharist.  Where this book breaks down is in the disconnect between the author’s knowledge of the Bible and the practices of Second Temple Judaism and the disconnect between the biblical practice of the Holy Days like the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread practiced by the early Church of God and the total failure of the Roman Catholic Church to practice in a biblical manner.  This book would have been a lot more consistent had it been written by someone who was not under the delusion that the Catholics practice biblical Christianity, but even with its inconsistencies there is a lot to appreciate here by those whose practice of the NT Passover allows them to avoid the author’s errors.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Biblical History, Book Reviews, Christianity, Church of God, History and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Book Review: Jesus And The Jewish Roots Of The Eucharist

  1. jamesbradfordpate says:

    Reblogged this on James' Ramblings and commented:
    Reblogging for future reference.

  2. Pingback: Audiobook Review: Great Courses: After The New Testament: The Writings Of The Apostolic Fathers: Part 2 | Edge Induced Cohesion

  3. Pingback: Book Review: Jesus: The Life And Ministry Of God The Son | Edge Induced Cohesion

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