According to an article in the New York Times today, evidence of Jewish belief in a resurrected Messiah decades before Christâ€™s birth may have been discovered.
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.
â€œThis should shake our basic view of Christianity,â€ [Israel Knohl, professor of Bible studies at Hebrew University in Jerusalem] 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. â€œResurrection 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.â€
This is genuinely exciting stuff. But Iâ€™m having a bit of trouble working up the appropriate level of angst about the origins of Christianity. I mean, Jews before Christ expecting a messiah who would suffer, die, and rise again in three days? Whodathunkit? In this case, the changes required in my overall belief system appear to be very small.
This seems like something where I should have a more thoughtful response. I know we have some competent OT scholars as readers. Someone help me out here.