Yesterday, the New York Times and a host of news followers of the Grey Lady trumpeted Ancient Tablet Ignites Debate on Messiah and Resurrection. The breathless NYT prose stating,
…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.
Now, it’s important to note that prior to the “discovery” of this tablet, so-called scholars strongly suggested that the disciples made up the resurrection as the idea didn’t pre-exist the event. Now, the suggestion is that the disciples actually stole the idea from someone else. Triple D’s link blog pointed to this post from Tim Etherington which pretty much sums up the entire “debate” on Jesus’ resurrection,
If the idea that the Messiah would die and rise wasn’t part of Jewish tradition at the time of Jesus, that proves it must have been invented years later. And if the idea that the Messiah would die and rise was part of Jewish tradition at the time of Jesus that proves that it wasn’t unique and was adopted by Jesus and the gospel writers. Either way, whether there was or wasn’t an expectation that the Messiah would die and rise, Christianity is supposed to be false based on that. How you read the evidence is based on what you presuppose the truth to already be. [Emphasis added]
Perhaps these Dan Brown characters scholars should just be honest and say, “nothing will convince us of the resurrection of Jesus and we will use anything necessary to disprove it – arguing out of both sides of our mouths, if necessary.”
For further reading, check out Ben Witherington on this tablet story.