07 July 2008

the Hazon Gabriel tablet . . .

The recent discovery of a tablet with an 80 line inscription in Hebrew, which possibly contains a pre-christian reference to an anointed one who is resurrected by Gabriel after three days has been talked about recently in blogs.

I think it should surprise no one that there are mythic precedents to all of the details in the gospel narrative—even the Easter narrative. That's the very nature of human mythology; the symbols used to relay our stories are recycled and assimilated by societies instinctually from decade to decade, epoch to epoch, into the spiritual languages of their own times. (N.T. Wrong even points to a Ugaritic precedent of this three day resurrection motif that dates back over 2000 years before the supposed origin of the Christian movement. ) Nevertheless, if the inscription says what Israel Knohl thinks it says, then it's a very good example of this Jungian principle in action. It's evidence that the motif was an active and contemporaneous one in the very geographical locale where Christianity was to eventually germinate.

James McGrath in a blurb on his blog wonders if the resurrection story gradually came to be a result of the companions of Jesus (who had all fled in terror in the story —and hence would have had no idea what happened to Jesus after the Gethsemane episode) incorporating that motif into their hagiographic devotion later. Eventually, the motif was historicized; an empty tomb to vouchsafe this "rising" was postulated. Voila! The rest is "history." (at least doctrinally speaking)

Fascinating stuff.

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