Christians, Jews and the dubious history of the Passion play

Source: Religion News Service

(RNS) — Passover and Easter once again coincide this year. The first seder (Passover meal) of the eight-day Jewish festival is on March 30, and Easter falls two days later.

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During this holiday season, the focus for Christians is on the last days of Jesus’ life, the subject of a new documentary hosted by “Downton Abbey” actor Hugh Bonneville. “Jesus: Countdown to Calvary,” will air on most public television stations before Easter.

Christian Passion plays will be performed in many venues, including an NBC live performance of “Jesus Christ Superstar” on April 1. On the same day, NBC will also air “Easter Mysteries,” an oratorio by Tony-award winner John O’Boyle that focuses on the Jewishness of Jesus and his followers. Both television productions feature an African-American actor portraying Jesus.

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