Monday, July 07, 2008

Stone incites debate over Jesus

Tablet ignites debate on messiah and resurrection
By Ethan Bronner

A three-foot-tall tablet with 87 lines of Hebrew that scholars believe dates from the decades just before the birth of Jesus is causing a quiet stir in biblical and archaeological circles, especially because it may speak of a messiah who will rise from the dead after three days.

If such a messianic description really is there, it will contribute to a developing re-evaluation of both popular and scholarly views of Jesus, since it suggests that the story of his death and resurrection was not unique but part of a recognized Jewish tradition at the time. . . .

It was in Cathedra that Israel Knohl, an iconoclastic professor of Bible studies at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, first heard of the stone, which Yardeni and Elitzur dubbed "Gabriel's Revelation," also the title of their article. Knohl posited in a book published in 2000 the idea of a suffering messiah before Jesus, using a variety of rabbinic and early apocalyptic literature as well as the Dead Sea Scrolls. But his theory did not shake the world of Christology as he had hoped, partly because he had no textual evidence from before Jesus.

[The article concludes:]

Knohl said that it was less important whether Simon was the messiah of the stone than the fact that it strongly suggested that a savior who died and rose after three days was an established concept at the time of Jesus. He notes that in the Gospels, Jesus makes numerous predictions of his suffering and New Testament scholars say such predictions must have been written in by later followers because there was no such idea present in his day.

But there was, he said, and "Gabriel's Revelation" shows it.

"His mission is that he has to be put to death by the Romans to suffer so his blood will be the sign for redemption to come," Knohl said. "This is the sign of the son of Joseph. This is the conscious view of Jesus himself. This gives the Last Supper an absolutely different meaning. To shed blood is not for the sins of people but to bring redemption to Israel."


Burns said...

The last paragraph makes no sense.

abcaneday said...

You're right, Burns. The paragraph exhibits no actual grasp of the gospel.

But, when someone has an agenda to prove, hey, why not force the alleged evidence to fit the theory one so zealously wants to prove?

To these folks, it's as if Christians actually believe that Jesus (actually the apostles) invented the account concerning Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection and do not believe that he fulfilled the OT Scriptures, despite Paul's insistence that it is "according to the Scriptures" (1 Cor 15:1ff).

How eagerly scholars search for evidence to shake our Christian faith, if that were possible.