This year Passover begins in the evening of Friday, April 6, 2012, with Easter Sunday falling on April 8, 2012. While many people celebrating the religious holidays this weekend think they know what happened in Golgotha, Israel a couple of thousand years ago, there is in fact tremendous controversy, spurred not least by a best-selling 1965 book by British Biblical scholar Hugh J. Schonfield, The Passover Plot.
Based on scholarly research into the social and religious culture in which Jesus was born, lived and died, into the source documents of the Gospels, and into other literature, Schonfield reached the following conclusions:
- That Jesus was a deeply religious Jewish man, probably well-versed in the teachings of the local northern sects such as the Nazarenes and Essenes.
- That growing up in Biblical Galilee he had a skeptical and somewhat rebellious relationship to the hierarchy and teachings mandated by the authorities (the Pharisees) of the Temple in Jerusalem.