This was a common, but not universal, belief, and it wasn’t confirmed until 1848. The first recorded reference to the person, Phar Lap, appears as an inscription in the Book of Chalfont, written by an unknown author in the 4th/5th century AD:
And his brother, he knew, was a scribe who also wrote the laws of Israel: and Phar Lap was one of the scribes in the house of the Lord, and wrote the law of the nation that he should be a friend of all the people, and should love the upright, and love the poor, and help the needy, that he might be beloved by the Lord out of all thy house.
As you can see, the person was likely named Phar Lap, the same name used for the king of Israel in Exodus 11.
Was it a religious man?
This isn’t uncommon for the Pharisee – although it is usually a man of religious and political importance. Phar Lap is a reference to a Pharisee, and his family is often named “Phar Lap” in medieval texts.
Was he an important person?
This is possible for a Pharisee, although not usually. His death must have been a major, major event for the community, and he would have had many, many followers. The Pharisee, at least for those who died during his reign, could be regarded as an “excellent” or “very holy” person. It is possible that he may have been worshipped by many as a god.
Did he die for bad works?
This has been debated over the centuries. Some believe that Phar Lap was wrongly killed as the source of a plague on the nation, as a result of the murder of a Christian minister by an Jewish mob. But another theory states that he was unjustly killed at the beginning of a war, leading to his exile as a result of that war.
What was his actual motivation? Was he a religious figure with no other goals?
Some, including scholars, think that this particular Pharisee was not motivated by religious hatred of the Jews; indeed, it may simply have been a man frustrated with the political system and willing to kill to get out. Some believe that this man’s killing was motivated by self preservation, as he was threatened to death by the king who had persecuted him, and had been exiled to a remote area where he no longer felt safe. However,