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Posted July 12, 2011

Book: A Passover Haggadah for Christians
Author: Bruce Fingerhut
St. Augustine’s Press. South Bend, IN. 2011. pp. 49

An Excerpt from introductory notes:

The Haggadah is the prayer book containing the text for the order of service for the Passover ritual meal, or seder. It was completed sometime in the 2nd century A.D., and there are several variations of it. But the general overall purpose in all the versions is the same, to recount the greatest event in Jewish history, the exodus from Egypt, which occurred in the 13Th century B.C. (thought there are several competing theories of when exactly these events occurred in history) and culminated in God’s bestowing on Moses the Ten Commandments at Mt. Horeb (also known as Mt. Sinai). As recounted in the book of Exodus, this was followed by the Hebrew people’s forty years of wandering in the desert until a new generation of leadership took over (this for the transgression of worshipping a golden calf. They then crossed into Canaan, the “land flowing with milk and honey.”

The Haddadah tells the story of the actual exodus, or “going forth,” and reminds the participants of the plagues visited upon the Egyptians to force Pharaoh (Ramses II) to release the Hebrews from their captivity in Egypt. It also recounts several theories about the meaning of these events.

This Haddadah retains all the central prayers and explanations, but in an easy-to-follow style; it also offers a wider explanation in light of the epiphany of Christ. None of the materials in a typical Haggadahare in any way distorted, nor is any significant portion of the Haddadah left out. The many parts of the Haggadah that refer to scriptural passages now have the citations.

An Excerpt from the book:

The Haggadah itself does not explain adequately why we should recline (at table), so this footnote will have to suffice. In the ancient Middle East, only free men reclined at table while the Hebrews, then slaves, stood. The fact that after the exodus they were no longer slaves, but freed by the blood of the lamb (which obviously, took on a more dramatic meaning after Christ’s Passion), is indicated by their ritually reclining. A very interesting side-note: In John 13:1-2 and John 21:20, Jesus leaned on John to demonstrate the freedom from Egyptian slavery, wrought through the original lamb sacrifice at the Passover.