Re: [asa] Tablet ignites debate on messiah and resurrection

From: Rich Blinne <>
Date: Tue Jul 08 2008 - 10:48:55 EDT

On Tue, Jul 8, 2008 at 7:56 AM, David Opderbeck <>

> Biblical Archeology Review published a transcription of the tablet back in
> January ( Some folks on
> the "biblical-studies" listserv pointed me to the following lines as the
> ones possibly referring to a messiah who dies and rises in three days (lines
> 19-21 and 80 -- context for line 80 given here):
> 19. sanctity(?)\sanctify(?) Israel! In three days you shall know,* *that(?)\for(?)
> He said,
> 20. (namely,) yhwh the Lord of Hosts, the Lord of Israel: The evil broke
> (down)
> 21. before justice. Ask me and I will tell you what 22this bad 21plant is,
> and
> 75. Three shepherds went out to?/of? Israel [].
> 76. If there is a priest, if there are sons of saints []
> 77. Who am I(?), I (am?) Gabri'el the (=angel?) []
> 78. You(?) will save them, []
> 79. from before You, the three si[gn]s(?), three [.]
> 80. In three days , I, Gabri'el [?],
> 81. the Prince of Princes, , narrow holes(?) []
> 82. to/for [] and the
> So.... ok, I have zero expertise in interpreting this sort of artifact, but
> --- doesn't it seem a wee bit of a stretch to claim this definitely refers
> to a tradition of a messiah who will die and rise again in three days?

There's a newer claim on what line 80 is saying. The NYT reports it this

The slaying of Simon, or any case of the suffering messiah, is seen as a
> necessary step toward national salvation, he says, pointing to lines 19
> through 21 of the tablet "In three days you will know that evil will be
> defeated by justice" and other lines that speak of blood and slaughter as
> pathways to justice.
> To make his case about the importance of the stone, Mr. Knohl focuses
> especially on line 80, which begins clearly with the words "L'shloshet
> yamin," meaning "in three days." The next word of the line was deemed
> partially illegible by Ms. Yardeni and Mr. Elitzur, but Mr. Knohl, who is an
> expert on the language of the Bible and Talmud, says the word is "hayeh," or
> "live" in the imperative. It has an unusual spelling, but it is one in
> keeping with the era.
> Two more hard-to-read words come later, and Mr. Knohl said he believed that
> he had deciphered them as well, so that the line reads, *"In three days
> you shall live, I, Gabriel, command you."*
> To whom is the archangel speaking? The next line says "Sar hasarin," or
> prince of princes. Since the Book of Daniel, one of the primary sources for
> the Gabriel text, speaks of Gabriel and of "a prince of princes," Mr. Knohl
> contends that the stone's writings are about the death of a leader of the
> Jews who will be resurrected in three days.
> He says further that such a suffering messiah is very different from the
> traditional Jewish image of the messiah as a triumphal, powerful descendant
> of King David.
I guess he didn't read Isaiah.

> "This should shake our basic view of Christianity," he said as he sat in
> his office of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem where he is a senior
> fellow in addition to being the Yehezkel Kaufman Professor of Biblical
> Studies at Hebrew University. "Resurrection after three days becomes a motif
> developed before Jesus, which runs contrary to nearly all scholarship. What
> happens in the New Testament was adopted by Jesus and his followers based on
> an earlier messiah story."
> Ms. Yardeni said she was impressed with the reading and considered it
> indeed likely that the key illegible word was "hayeh," or "live." Whether
> that means Simon is the messiah under discussion, she is less sure.
> Moshe Bar-Asher, president of the Israeli Academy of Hebrew Language and
> emeritus professor of Hebrew and Aramaic at the Hebrew University, said he
> spent a long time studying the text and considered it authentic, dating from
> no later than the first century B.C. His 25-page paper on the stone will be
> published in the coming months.
> Regarding Mr. Knohl's thesis, Mr. Bar-Asher is also respectful but
> cautious. "There is one problem," he said. "In crucial places of the text
> there is lack of text. *I understand Knohl's tendency to find there keys
> to the pre-Christian period, but in two to three crucial lines of text there
> are a lot of missing words.*"
No kidding.

Rich Blinne
Member ASA

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Received on Tue Jul 8 10:49:12 2008

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