Gabriel's Revelation (also named Hazon Gabriel the Vision of Gabriel) or the Jeselsohn Stone, is a three-foot-tall (one metre) stone tablet with 87 lines of Hebrew text written in ink, containing a collection of short prophecies written in the first person and dated to the late 1st century BCE. One of the stories allegedly tells of a man who was killed by the Romans and resurrected in three days. It is a tablet described as a "Dead Sea scroll in stone".
The unprovenanced tablet was likely found near the Dead Sea some time around the year 2000 and has been associated with the same community which created the Dead Sea scrolls. It is relatively rare in its use of ink on stone. It is in the possession of Dr. David Jeselsohn, a Swiss–Israeli collector, who bought it from a Jordanian antiquities dealer. At the time, he was unaware of its significance.
Hillel Halkin in his blog in The New York Sun wrote that it "would seem to be in many ways a typical late-Second-Temple-period eschatological text" and expressed doubts that it provided anything "sensationally new" on Christianity's origins in Judaism.
The finding has caused controversy among scholars. Israel Knohl, who is an expert in Talmudic and biblical language at Jerusalem's Hebrew University, read in line 80 of the inscription a command from the angel Gabriel "to rise from the dead within three days". He took this command to be directed at a 1st-century Jewish rebel called Simon, who was killed by the Romans in 4 BCE. Knohl believed that the finding "calls for a complete reassessment of all previous scholarship on the subject of messianism, Jewish and Christian alike". Retired professor Stan Seidner contends that it reflects the Apocalyptic beliefs of the day, many which are found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, as antecedent and predictive writings of Christianity. He also suggested the use of infra-red technological applications, similar to what had been utilized on Dead Sea Scroll Material in the recent past. Challenging Knohl's "Two Messiahs" theory, Seidner noted that, "Knohl’s reliance upon what he calls, the 'Glorification Hymn,' in support of a first Messiah’s relationship with King Herod, failed in its carbon-14 testing. It predates Herod’s ascendency to the throne by at least twelve years and as much as one hundred and fifty six." However, he does agree with Knohl's interpretation of the inscription,"to rise from the dead within three days." On the other hand, Ben Witherington, an Early Christianity expert at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore Kentucky, claims that a word interpreted as "rise" could just as easily be taken to mean "show up". At a conference at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem between 6 and 8 July 2008, marking the 60th anniversary of the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls, Knohl gave a paper on the tablet.
Knohl has eventually abandoned this reading, in favor of Ronald Hendel's reading (followed by Qimron & Yuditsky): "By three days the sign". He still maintains the historical background of the inscription to be as mentioned above. He now views Simon's death, according to the inscription, as "an essential part of the redemptive process. The blood of the slain messiah paves the way for the final salvation".
References and further reading
- "By Three Days, Live": Messiahs, Resurrection, and Ascent to Heavon in Hazon Gabriel, Israel Knohl, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
- "The First Jesus?". National Geographic. Retrieved 2010-08-05.
- Yardeni, Ada (Jan/Feb 2008). "A new Dead Sea Scroll in Stone?". Biblical Archaeology Review 34 (01).
- van Biema, David; Tim McGirk (2008-07-07). "Was Jesus' Resurrection a Sequel?". Time Magazine. Retrieved 2008-07-07.
- Ethan Bronner (2008-07-05). "Tablet ignites debate on messiah and resurrection". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-07. "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."
- nysun.com, Blurry 'Vision of Gabriel'
- Israel Knohl (April 19, 2007 (Iyyar 1, 5767)). "In three days, you shall live". Haaretz. Retrieved 2008-07-10.
- Cited with permission from the author's paper , Seidner, Stanley S. "The Knohl Hypothesis and 'Hazon Gabriel,'" June 3, 2009.
- Israel Knohl, "The Apocalyptic and Messianic Dimensions of the Gabriel Revelation in Their Historical Context", in Matthias Henze (ed.), Hazon Gabriel: New Readings of the Gabriel Revelation (Early Judaism and Its Literature 29), Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2011, p. 43 n. 12
- ibid., pp. 47-48
- Strachan, Alex (July 22, 2011). "Decoding the Ancients 'real-life Da Vinci Code'". The Gazette. Retrieved 24 July 2011.
- 2008 Dead Sea scrolls conference.
- Gabriel’s Revelation paper.
- New York Times Article, July 06, 2008
- Daniel Estrin, "Mysterious Hebrew stone displayed in Jerusalem", Associated Press, April 30, 2013
- "‘Gabriel’s Revelation’ Tablet Translation Now Available on Shalom Hartman Institute Website", Shalom Hartman Institute, July 7, 2008