Dead Sea tablet.jpgFascinating story just moved by The New York Times on a stone tablet which apparently came from the Dead Sea area and speaks of a messiah who will rise from the dead after three days…and it is dated to decades before the time of Jesus.
Many questions to be sure, but this doesn’t sound like Gospel of Judas hype, nor is it positing anything that should be all that unsettling to either Christians or Jews. Here’s the money quote from a scholar quoted by the Times:

Daniel Boyarin, a professor of Talmudic culture at the University of California at Berkeley, said that the stone was part of a growing body of evidence suggesting that Jesus could be best understood through a close reading of the Jewish history of his day. “Some Christians will find it shocking — a challenge to the uniqueness of their theology — while others will be comforted by the idea of it being a traditional part of Judaism,” Mr. Boyarin said.

What’s your reaction? Given all we now know of the historical context of Jesus and early Christianity, along with the NT writers’ use of the Hebrew scriptures to interpret the Christ story, it strikes me as fascinating rather than unnerving. It would also perhaps prompt many to refocus on Jewish traditions of the resurrection of the dead, which have often been obscured.

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