In the first chapter, “The Mystery of the Last Supper”, Brant discusses his primary goal to situate Jesus’ teaching on the Eucharist in its historical setting in order to show that, in spite of its seeming incongruity with Jesus’ own Jewish tradition, his teaching on eating his flesh and drinking his blood (John 6) (Brant takes this passage eucharistically – more on that in ch. 4) was meant literally. Of his purpose he writes:
My goal is to explain how a first-century Jew like Jesus, Paul, or any other of the apostles, could go from believing that drinking any blood—much less human blood—was an abomination before God, to believing that drinking the blood of Jesus was actually necessary for Christians” (18).
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, living 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 . . . this means that virtually all of his teachings were directed to a Jewish audience in a Jewish setting (12).