JERUSALEM — 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.
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I've known about this for sometime, but it looks like it now is finally hitting the mainstream media.
For the record, it should be pointed out that the idea of a resurrection on the third day flows from Hosea 6:2: "After two days he will revive us;on the third day he will raise us up,that we may live before him."
Indeed, Jesus explains to the disciples that his resurrection on the third day would take place in order to fulfill Scripture.
"Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead" (Luke 24:46).
In fact, the New Testament is clear that Jesus came to fulfill the hopes of ancient Israel.
Yet, the New York Times story seems to suggest that this tablet will somehow raise questions about the truth of Christianity. Somehow, for them, the discovery that some ancient Jews expected the messiah to suffer and rise on the third day is problematic for Christianity.
I really don't see why. Indeed, scholars generally agree that finding parallels in Judaism to Jesus' teachings tends to strengthen the probability of historicity. If this inscription says what the article claims this would seem to strengthen--not weaken--the historicity of the Gospels' story about Jesus.
In fact, I actually find this hugely ironic. For some have made the opposite claim--namely, that the lack of evidence that Jews expected the messiah to suffer and rise from the dead calls into question the historical authenticity of Jesus' prediction of his passion and resurrection.
I guess this just goes to show that no matter what the evidence is some scholars will find a way to conclude that Christianity isn't true.
Photo: Dominic Buettner, New York Times