Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ancient stone tablet may prove resurrection predated Jesus Christ

courtesy: The Tech Herald
by Rich Bowden
Image: Resurrection of Lazarus. Painting by Bonnat. Credit: Public Domain

Image: Resurrection of Lazarus. Painting by Bonnat. Credit: Public Domain

Archaeologists and biblical scholars are disputing the interpretation of a stone tablet dating from the 1st century BC which appears to show the concept of resurrection was in Jewish tradition decades before the birth of Jesus Christ.

The tablet was found in the collection of a Zurich collector who claims he bought the artifact from a Jordanian seller.

The three-foot-high mysterious stone tablet, which has been written on rather than carved, is known as the Angel Gabriel’s Vision of Revelation however its poor state of repair -- some letters and even whole words are missing -- has experts arguing over the meaning of parts of its text. Some scholars are suggesting the poor legibility of the tablet means the text is being interpreted by some more than can be accepted.

The UK's Times reports that a previous paper published by scholars Ada Yardeni and Binyamin Elitzur concluded that the most controversial lines were indecipherable however a more recent study by Israel Knohl, biblical studies professor at Jerusalem's Hebrew University, has concluded the key line 80 of the text as Gabriel telling a historic Jewish rebel named Simon, who was killed by the Romans in 4 BC: "In three days you shall live, I Gabriel, command you."

Knohl claims his interpretation shows that resurrection predates the birth of Jesus Christ. At Easter Christians celebrate the rising from the dead of Jesus Christ, three days after his death.

"This sheds new light on the messianic activity of Jesus," Knohl said to Reuters news agency. "It proves that the concept of the messiah was already there before Jesus," added Knohl, who published his theory in the Chicago-based Journal of Religion in April. Knohl has long contended that the concept of a slain Messiah who was resurrected is based in Jewish writings and has argued the case in his book"The Messiah Before Jesus" (University of California Press, 2000). He says this discovery confirms his belief.

The scholar presented his theory before a conference of international experts this week to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the finding of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Other experts have said they will be making their own theories public after analysing the tablet, with a suggestion this may differ from Knohl's conclusion.

Owner of the stone tablet Swiss-Israeli David Jeselsohn said he was unsure of Knohl's interpretation but believed this did not detract from the Christian tradition of Christ resurrected.

"I am more cautious than Knohl. He has his idea that the Messiah and Judaism predated Christianity. The whole thing is fascinating. Some people say it may take away from the uniqueness of Jesus’ resurrected but I believe it gives credibility to the story that the followers were expecting a messiah," he said.

1 comment:

  1. i saw this article too, a few days ago.. really amazing and enlightening. time will come, more will be discovered.