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WWJD if his secret was revealed? Be Very Afraid

July 8, 2008

Ancient Tablet Ignites Debate on Messiah and Resurrection

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.

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.

The tablet, probably found near the Dead Sea in Jordan according to some scholars who have studied it, is a rare example of a stone with ink writings from that era — in essence, a Dead Sea Scroll on stone.

It is written, not engraved, across two neat columns, similar to columns in a Torah. But the stone is broken, and some of the text is faded, meaning that much of what it says is open to debate.

Still, its authenticity has so far faced no challenge, so its role in helping to understand the roots of Christianity in the devastating political crisis faced by the Jews of the time seems likely to increase.

With current hysteria among American Evangelicals, this could ignite a christian jihad.

In America ... we must be afraid.  American evangelicals are very insecure and intolerant of questions about the faith they don’t understand.  American evangelicals have completely changed the definition of Jesus into a war cry.

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.

“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.”

… about this discovery at a time when his followers are becoming so radical that the rest of the world is viewed as a unclean, heathen, diabolical targets?

Mr. 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,” Mr. 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.”

Christian Nationalists are vocal in their advocacy of America becoming a Christian state. This may lead some to conclude that Christianity is the only basis for their ideology, but this would be a mistake. Christian Nationalism is at least as nationalistic as it is Christian and this nationalism on behalf of America is important in their policies, attitudes, and values. Whereas patriotism may simply be a positive attitude towards one’s country, nationalism tends to be much more extreme in that it sees the nation as exceptional, something to be placed above all else.   This helps justify policies in which traditional standards of morality or justice are abandoned. When it comes to defending the nation, everything is permitted.

If Christian Nationalists were merely Christian, we might expect them to make common cause with Christians around the world — Christianity is, after all, a universal religion. Anyone can become a Christian and all Christians are equal before God. Not everyone is an American, however, and not all nations are equal in the eyes of Christian Nationalism. Christian Nationalists frequently adopt positions at odds which Christians elsewhere in the world because those policies are designed to advance American economic, political, or military interests. Christian Nationalists also frequently adopt positions which are arguably at odds with traditional Christian moral values, but this is also because those positions advance nationalistic interests.

More and more are feeling betrayed by these dangerous zealots.


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