This book was a super easy read and a very valuable source of information for anyone who is struggling to understand the true presence or anyone who is looking to further understand the true presence in the Eucharist.
goes over ancient Judaism and how it all points to the real presence, cites many sources and present in an easy to understand fashion.
I read the persons one star review, I can't help but notice after reading his review a severe bias, which encouraged me to right this review - I read this book which I check out at Westminster seminary, so good I am buying - which is why I came here in the first place!
I am writing this review to offset the previous reviewers biased and dishonest review of 1 star for this book.
What the reviewer is failing to understand is that for the first 16 centuries ALL Christians together believed in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist(transubstantiation). And then the reformation came along and Luther although rejected transubstantiation, he gave his own theology on this called consubstantiation which others such as Calvin reduced the Eucharist down to a symbolic reference(having no supernatural graces or presence of Christ)...Just because the interpretation of certain verses does not fit with your 'personal interpretation', it does NOT change the belief of ALL the Christians before Protestantism came about. What the authors are trying to present is the interpretation of the Early Church fathers who were apostles of the apostles and there is enough writings that date back to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd century that support their point of view. The bible was NOT put together until almost 390AD and all that was there was over a 200 books from which the New testament as we know it today was derived(thanks to the Early church fathers and the Church that was guided by the holy spirit)...The people who put the bible together testify the case for transubstantiation......History stands as a testimony to this and every true Christian for the first 1600 years of Christian history will stand testimony for this. Where in the bible does it say that the Christians in the first 1600 years will look at the Eucharist as the true body of Christ and then a guy named Calvin will come along and 'save' Christianity and change the way people look at the Eucharist as being just symbolic? It is in fact you who will need to give evidence to prove your theology...The authors of this book are presenting their book absolutely in line with what history tells us and that is the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
For people who dont know history what this means, please do some reading. This will benefit no matter which doctrines you or your church follows. May God bless you.
"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. However, despite all the quotes, the author's core arguments used his assumptions about the Eucharist to "prove" his assumptions.
For example, one core argument was that eating the Passover lamb was necessary during the original Passover or the firstborn son would have died even if the lamb's blood was on the doorpost. To quote from page 56, "If they took the lamb, sacrificed the lamb, spread the blood of the lamb, but did not eat the lamb, what would have been the result? Well, the Book of Exodus does not say. But it's a good guess that when they awoke the next morning, their firstborn son would be dead."
So he admits he can't prove this idea using the Bible. (In fact, Exodus 12:13, 22-23 makes it clear that the only requirement for having the house "passed over" was the blood on the door frame.) He also didn't quote a single ancient source that said if someone in the family--or even just the firstborn--didn't eat the lamb, then the firstborn would die. So he bases his core argument on what he calls "a good guess" but which actually contradicts Scripture. Many of his arguments had this same flaw.
One of his stronger arguments could have been John 6:55. His argument (from page 101) is, "It is widely recognized by New Testament scholars--Protestant and Catholic alike--that Jesus is speaking here [in John 6:48-59] about the Eucharistic food and drink that he will give the disciples at the Last Supper....any attempt to insist that Jesus was not speaking about what he would do at the Last Supper here is a weak case of special pleading." So his argument is "don't question what I'm saying, the authorities back me up." He didn't even quote an ancient source that supported his view.
But read the chapter for yourself. In John 6:32-59 and during the Last Supper, Jesus is talking about his death and resurrection. Yes, Jesus' words in both places have similarities, but that's because they refer to the same event. The author gave no evidence that Jesus meant his speech in John 6:48-59 as a commentary on how to understand the yet-to-happen Last Supper.
The author's claim that Protestant scholars agree with his claim is untrue. For example, from "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible" by Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, "...our Lord explicitly introduces His sacrificial death--for only rationalists can doubt this not only as that which constitutes Him the Bread of life to men, but as THAT very element IN HIM WHICH POSSESSES THE LIFE-GIVING VIRTUE."
And commenting on John 6:53-58, "He says they must not only 'eat His flesh' but 'drink His blood,' which could not but suggest the idea of His death--implied in the separation of one's flesh from his blood. And as He had already hinted that it was to be something very different from a natural death, saying, 'My flesh I will give for the life of the world' ( John 6:51 ), it must have been pretty plain to candid hearers that He meant something above the gross idea which the bare terms expressed. And farther, when He added that they 'had no life in them unless they thus ate and drank,' it was impossible they should think He meant that the temporal life they were then living was dependent on their eating and drinking, in this gross sense, His flesh and blood."
Finally, some of the information Pitre used to support his position could equally support the Protestant view. This is true for the Scripture he quoted, especially when it's read in full context or along with other verses that he failed to quoted.
So I wouldn't recommend this book since his arguments weren't properly supported.
I received this book as a review copy from the publisher.