BY SAM EYOBOKA
Christians in Nigeria will tomorrow join their counterparts worldwide to mark this year’s Chrism Mass which is a celebration of the Last Supper of Jesus Christ.
The ceremony is, however, another source of contro-versy as a new research has indicated that the cere-mony which is refered to as Maundy Thursday actually should be Wednesday and not Thursday as it is popu-larly believed.
Reporting the new finding on Monday, AFP said: “Christians have long cele-brated Jesus Christ’s Last Supper on Maundy Thurs-day but a new research released Monday claims to show it took place on the Wednesday before the cr-ucifixion.
Professor Colin Humph-reys, a scientist at the Uni-versity of Cambridge, be-lieves it is all due to a cal-endar mix-up—and ass-erts his findings strength-en the case for finally in-troducing a fixed date for Easter.
Humphreys uses a combi-nation of biblical, historical and astronomical research to try to pinpoint the pre-cise nature and timing of Jesus’s final meal with his disciples before his death.
Researchers have long been puzzled by an appa-rent inconsistency in the Bible.
While Matthew, Mark and Luke all say the Last Supper coincided with the start of the Jewish festival of Passover, John claims it took place before Passover.
Humphreys has concluded in a new book, The myst-ery of the Last Supper”, that Jesus—along with Matthew, Mark and Luke —may have been using a different calendar to John.
“Whatever you think about the Bible, the fact is that Jewish people would never mistake the Passover meal for another meal, so for the Gospels to contradict the-mselves in this regard is really hard to understand,” Humphreys said.
“Many biblical scholars say that, for this reason, you can’t trust the Gospels at all. But if we use science and the Gospels hand in hand, we can actually pro-ve that there was no con-tradiction.”
In Humphreys’ theory, Jesus went by an old-fash-ioned Jewish calendar ra-ther than the official lunar calendar which was in widespread use at the time of his death and is still in use today.
This would put the Pass-over meal—and the Last Supper—on the Wednes-day, explaining how such a large number of events took place between the meal and the crucifi-xion.
It would follow that Jesus’ arrest, interrogation and separate trials did not all take place in the space of one night but in fact occu-rred over a longer period.
Humphreys believes a date could therefore be as-cribed to Easter in our mo-dern solar calendar, and working on the basis that the crucifixion took place on April 3, Easter Day would be on April 5.