Visit ‘s Hugh Schonfield Page and shop for all Hugh Schonfield books. Check out pictures, bibliography, and biography of Hugh Schonfield. Hugh J. Schonfield has 64 books on Goodreads with ratings. Hugh J. Schonfield’s most popular book is The Passover Plot. There is probably no other figure in modern Jewish historical research who is more controversial or famous than Hugh J. Schonfield, who once said: “The.

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Schonfield, Proclaiming the Messiah: Open Gate Press, Reviewed by Robert M. Schonfield died inleaving behind him a great many books, most published, some as yet huggh. Every one of his books was well worth reading, even when one found one could not quite accept Schonfield’s conclusions in every respect. Schonfield was a remarkable man with remarkable convictions, and his unique perspective enabled him to cast a revealing light on whatever subject he treated.

Whether he was studying the gospels, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Toledoth Jeschuthe Kabbalah, you could be sure going in that you would be shown how to view something familiar in an altogether unfamiliar way. The Original New Testament.

Schonfield’s particular array of convictions and sympathies were, I say, unique in the ranks of New Testament scholarship. For one thing, he was a survivor of the generation of such fresh-thinking trail-blazers as Robert Eisler and Rendell Harris.

This meant he was willing to widen the scope of relevant sources for early Christian history to include many recondite and apocryphal texts that others too quickly dismissed as fool’s gold. For another, Schonfield retained a good measure of the Rationalism of an earlier generation of critics.

This is evident particularly in his notorious book The Passover Plota book surprisingly conservative in many ways, not least in its belief in the literal accuracy of the gospel stories and sayings, despite the error of their supernaturalism. Schonfield reasoned that Jesus was, as the gospels depict, sure of his messianic mission and that this destiny included crucifixion and subsequent reappearance. But it had nothing to do with divine providence or miracle; it was instead a program masterminded by one who saw his blueprint set forth in prophetic scripture and applied every ounce of energy and imagination to bring God’s will to its fulfillment.

If, or rather since, he was the Messiah, he ought to be able to accomplish this, the work of the Messiah. One often hears it said, by those who did not schonffield The Passover Plot, that Schonfield advocated the Scheintod “seeming death” theory of Venturini, Bahrdt, and Schonfisld, but this is wrong.

Schonfield thought that Jesus planned an escape from the cross, but that the unanticipated lance-thrust killed him. Schonfield nonetheless did continue in a Rationalist vein, similar to Kirsopp Lake, suggesting that the resurrection appearances of a schonfiled who was at first not “recognized” were actually cases of mistaken identity.

And despite the scorn of apologists, the only thing implausible about such speculations is that they are based on too literal a reading of the gospels! Schonfieod the old time Rationalists refuted so expertly by D. Strauss, Schonfield gives the gospels too much credit! Those critics of The Passover Plot who pegged Schonfield as an unbeliever did not read him carefully.

He was no unbeliever. He was just a heretic. And there was more heresy! Schonfield was also a Spiritualist. He believed in parapsychology and mediumism, what is today called “channeling. Indeed, it is almost surprising that Schonfield schonfiield not interpret the resurrection of Jesus as Leslie D. At any rate, Schonfield’s interest in parapsychology enabled him to take very seriously the charismatic phenomena of early Christianity, including the mystical experiences of Paul.

And this brings us to the posthumously published Proclaiming the Messiah. Hugh Schonfield had a number of distinctive views on Paul, his life and his doctrine, and they are set forth here. It must be admitted that these fascinating notions are set forth in more detail in Schonfield’s earlier scuonfield, but then most of these are no longer readily available.

It is to be hoped that the new Proclaiming the Messiah will attract new readers to Schonfield and that they will find their interest sufficiently kindled to search out his achonfield works. Surely the most striking of Schonfield’s hypotheses is that Huh of Tarsus first considered himself to be God’s Messiah, destined to bring schonfoeld Light of Judaism to the Gentiles, and that his persecuting fury was ignited by the belief that the apostolic preaching of Jesus was a lie sent to deceive the unwary in the Last Days.


Saul had arrived at his messianic consciousness through his precocious studies of the kabbalistic Lore of Creation which was later to shape his Christology of Jesus as the cosmos-spanning heavenly Adam–see Schonfield’s Those Incredible Christians Like later kabbalists Abraham Abulafia and Sabbatai Sevi, whose studies had led them to the belief in their own messiahship, Saul decided he was the one.

And like Sabbatai Sevi’s enlightenment, this revelation was accompanied by a dose of mental aberration and genuine psychic experience, according to Schonfield. Saul’s literally insane fury against the young Jesus sect abated only when he had a second epiphany on the road to Damascus.

He had to admit huyh that Jesus was the Messiah, not he, but then Schontield adopted the next best role. He viewed himself as the hugu image of Christ on earth even as Christ had been the image of God.

Specifically, Saul believed that he often acted as “channeler” for the voice and persona of echonfield exalted Christ “I say to schonfiels, not I, but the Lord All this is only hinted at in Proclaiming the Messiah. To suggest a huugh that Schonfield himself did not think to use, huhh I think it is appropriate, Schonfield’s Saul might be compared with Hong Xiuquan, the Taipeng Messiah and Heavenly King who believed himself to be the earthly incarnation of the Younger Son of God, whose Heavenly Elder Brother was Jesus.

One might even compare him to the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, self-proclaimed Lord of the Second Advent who, as such, is not Jesus Christ himself returned to earth but rather an earthly representative bearing his spirit to carry forward his task. Again, Schonfield’s Saul corresponds to Montanus as the Paraclete incarnate. Huhh a picture of Paul certainly comports with the virtually messianic colors in which Paul and his fans painted him, e. Luke, too, is careful to parallel Paul’s passion narrative with that of Jesus.

I think especially of the case of Dr. Kim, first president of the Unification Theological Seminary, who had first believed himself to be the Messiah until he met Sun Myung Moon and deferred to the latter’s messiahship instead.

Schonfield’s quasi-messianic Paul also brings to mind Walter Schmithals’s sketch of the Gnostic apostolate appropriated by Paul and other early Christian missioners.

Schmithals shows The Office of Apostle in the Early Church how the earliest apostles were Gnostic redeemer-mystagogues who preached the gospel of the Cosmic Christ whose light-sparks were scattered among the souls of the elect, to whom they preached.

Schmithals suggested that Xchonfield and others had taken over pretty much the same notion, only on behalf of Jesus of Nazareth, a recent historical figure. On Schonfield’s reading, Paul’s conception of his mission as an earthly manifestation of a heavenly Christ albeit one who had lived on earth and schonfisld to heaven would provide a missing link helping to explain how Paul came to appropriate the Gnostic apostolate.

Schonfield combines the two perspectives, casting light both on the differences between Paul and his Jerusalem rivals and on the reasons for Paul’s missionary tribulations.

The Passover Plot – Hugh J. Schonfield

Schonfield reasons that the issue was not simply one of Jewish Torah-piety “legalism” and whether it should be required of Gentile converts. No, that would be myopic. Paul’s gospel was abstractly spiritual, that of the Nazoreans avowedly political.

Paul had seen Huyh power protect and guarantee Jewish rights in Cilicia; James and Peter chafed under the rule of Pilate and resented, on general principle, outlanders ruling the Holy Land. The Pax Romana facilitated Paul’s evangelism; it necessitated that of the Nazoreans. For Paul, Jesus Christ was a heavenly being with whom one might be mystically united; for the Pillars, Jesus was the soon-coming king.

For both Paul and his rivals, the Torah regulations formed the sancta of the Jewish people; by one and the same token, schoonfield Pillars hoisted the Torah as a battle standard for messianic Jewish nationalism, while Paul dispensed with it for the sake of Christian internationalism. Paul’s kingdom was not of this world, whereas that of James definitely was. But both kingdoms had their evangelistic heralds, itinerant missioners making their way throughout the Diaspora, spreading the word of the Messiah Jesus, his recent appearance, and his imminent return.

But he also has Paul accused of being a Nazorean agitator. Luke does not try to scjonfield us of the notion that these Nazoreans were revolutionaries, advocating customs illegal for Romans, urging Jews to acclaim Jesus king instead of Caesar. No, he means only to tell us that Paul was not one of these Nazoreans.


The Romans did not make fine distinctions, but the Christians did. And Paul was constantly getting in trouble because of the reputation of his rivals! Of course the forgoing scenario only makes sense if one supposes, as Schonfield does, that Acts is correct in depicting Paul always going first to Diaspora synagogues, something his epithet “Apostle to the Gentiles” would not lead us to expect.

As Schonfield points out, his pagan converts could have had no interest whatever in the notion of a Schontield national schonfied. So, svhonfield be taken for a messianic agitator among Jews, Paul would have had to be preaching his messiah in the synagogues.

Hugh J. Schonfield – Biography — JewAge

Schonfield is ambivalent with regard to the historical value of Acts. On the one hand, he considers the tradition likely that the author was Paul’s personal physician Luke.

On the other, he admits the narrative is largely fictional, especially the speeches, and even calls the author of Acts a “novelist. As for Paul’s ministry to pagans, Schonfield is unashamed to maintain the now much-despised but still quite plausible idea of Paul as the second founder of Christianity. Schonfield sees Paul as having found himself facing such a wide communication gap that he decided he’d best borrow equivalent mythemes from Hellenistic religions in order to communicate his Christ-mysticism.

In the end he had created a new religion, the Christian religion. But he had not meant to, any more than Martin Luther had intended to split the Catholic Church. Schonfield’s treatment of Paul’s contest with the Pillars over the role of the Torah for Gentile converts is quite interesting, not least because it points up an important ambiguity besetting all discussion of this problem. The standard version has it that Paul thought that the Gentiles had only to believe in Jesus to be saved, while his opponents held that Gentiles must believe in Jesus and shoulder the yoke of circumcision and the Torah, all commandments.

Acts 15 depicts a compromise whereby the Gentiles are told they must keep the minimal Noachian commandments traditionally required of the Gentile “God-fearers,” the noble pagans who attended synagogue to worship the Hebrew God but who balked at circumcision and all the rest.

The way Schonfield sees it, the Jerusalem compromise granted to Paul’s converts the second-class status of Christian God-fearers, whereas Paul thought they should be considered first-class, along with Torah-observant Christian Jews.

Hugh J. Schonfield

This much seems fairly clear, but it leaves some crucial areas blurry. For instance, are we to infer that yugh conservative circumcision party, even schofield they believed in Messiah Jesus, had dismissed the Gentile God-fearers as mere pagans who were sadly deluding themselves about God’s favor?

For them, was it full proselyte or nothing? Had they believed people like Cornelius the Centurion were just damned to Gehenna? This seems to be implied, but it seems rather strange.

Similar authors to follow

And, once the Jerusalem compromise was reached, what was the envisioned status of Pauline converts who might refuse to heed James’ decree and, say, continue to order rare steaks? Would James have viewed them the same way Paul views Corinthian Christians who visit prostitutes and eat idol-meat–as apostates to be delivered to Satan?

Is the issue “What must I do to inherit eternal life? Has Luke over-simplified the issues to the point of confusion? Schonfield seems to realize that we must make some distinctions Luke did not bother to make.

So Schonfield suggests that what Paul really wanted was for the Pillars to grant recognition to his Gentiles, even without the Torah, as Israelites. A modern parallel might be the debates between moderate and liberal Christians over hjgh status of believers in non-Christian religions. Karl Rahner says certain Hindus or Buddhists may be saved if they qualify as “anonymous Christians,” i. Raimundo Panikkar says they may be saved by Christ by means of their own religions.

Huston Smith and Wilfred Cantwell Smith say that non-Christians are saved through their religions, by their schojfield religions, and on the terms of their own religions. None of these theologians envision non-Christians as damned to perdition; the point at issue is how salvation works.