The New York Times published an article today that already has sparks flying on the internet. It is entitled, “Tablet Ignites Debate on Messiah and Resurrection.” It is a follow-up on an earlier article posted a year ago last April by Haaretz, called “In three days, you shall live.”
The basic premise is that of a Jewish tradition, predating Christianity which has the Messiah dying and resurrecting after three days, as a necessity of his messiahship. Israel Knohl, a professor from the Hebrew University, has been the main voice in this, because it appears to validate what he had already discovered in his studies of the Dead Sea Scroll manuscripts. In 2002, he published a book of his findings called, “The Messiah before Jesus: The Suffering Servant of the Dead Sea Scrolls” which explains his findings (and if anyone wants to get me a copy, I won’t complain).
Knohl takes the references of a Suffering (or Slain) Messiah (Mashiach ben Yosef) found in the Talmud (starting in Sukkah 52a), along with the DSS manuscripts to build a case for a first century expectation for a resurrected messiah. However, with the find of the Gabriel Tablet (the main focus of the two previous articles), Knohl has a very substantial text from the period just prior to the time of Yeshua to back his theory.
Be sure to read both articles, and pick up the book if you have a chance. This is some very interesting information that could prove very valuable in the near future.