I figured I should write something about the recent discovery of the Gabriel Tablet as they’re calling it. New York Times asserts that this tablet might actually prove that Christianity isn’t unique with its resurrections claims. What I found interesting about that bit is that most informed Christians don’t make a point of arguing about the uniqueness of the death and resurrection but rather the historicity of the death and resurrection. Let me flesh that out a bit.
The article states that this tablet has information of the possibility of a death and resurrection of a Jewish Messiah before the disciples’ claim that’s what actually happened to Jesus. The question being raised is this: Is the Jesus resurrection then unoriginal and thus fake? I’d argue of course not.
Paul would argue throughout his epistles and most pointedly in the synagogues that Jesus the Messiah (the Christ if you would rather use that term) was revealed, suffered and died and rose again according to Scripture. Paul argues this by looking back at the Old Testament Hebrew writings before Christ came. If he could argue those points based on those texts, why would it surprise anyone that there’s a tablet that has some Jewish interpreters drawing similar conclusions before Messiah came? In other words, if Paul saw it in Isaiah 53 (and other places), one would expect others to pick up on it too.
One of the scholar’s in the article suggests that the resurrection event that occurs in 3 days in the account puts Christianity in an extremely bad light. I wonder why he would assume that since the 3 day motif is one that is drawn from the Jonah story where he spends 3 days and nights in the belly of a water creature. And even if there weren’t other sources to draw a 3 day/3 night parallel from I’ve already argued in a different post that there may be myths out there that hint at the truth but what happened with Christ was the realization of myths. In other words, it wasn’t merely a story: it happened.
Lastly, going back to my main point about the historicity of Christ’s death and resurrection, most Christian’s shouldn’t be concerned by these sorts of discoveries-if anything we should be excited. They speak of things that others have realized in regards to the coming Messiah and when Messiah actually came, He carried out what was promised to happen and was still rejected and crucified. So when there’s folk bringing a charge that the story of a suffering Messiah is labeled a fabrication post-Jesus (and thus maintaining the teachings of Jesus as Good but the Theologizing of the disciples as Bad) we can point to earlier interpretive evidence that shows that the Disciples weren’t alone in seeing this.