Ancient “Messianic” Tablet and the Resurrection

Discussion has recently entered the public domain concerning a tablet that may have come from the Dead Sea area with a lost text written on it. As always, wild speculation abounds and the media and others are trying to instantly assess whether it “proves” Christianity true or false.

If you want to know what it’s really about, then head over here to the article at Ed Cook’s site. Ed is a conservative Anglican but his real credentials for this would be that he’s a proper scholar of Second Temple Judaism. One of the books I keep on my short shelf next to my computer is a translation he and a few others did of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Needless to say, I trust his judgement in this matter…

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4 Responses to Ancient “Messianic” Tablet and the Resurrection

  1. Peter Kaufman says:

    I would submit that this “ancient tablet” is probably another sensationalist scam, as is clearly suggested by the facts

    (1) that no specific information is available on its provenance (“probably found near the Dead Sea” doesn’t quite do it for me); and

    (2) that no details are provided on carbon dating of the ink or analysis of the stone.

    As such, this “news” brings to mind the faked Lost-Tomb-of-Jesus “documentary” designed to financially profit from people’s fascination with the “real” Jesus, as well as the larger scandal of the biased and misleading way the Dead Sea scrolls are being presented in museum exhibits around the world, with an antisemitic nuance emerging on a government-run North Carolina museum’s website. See, e.g.,

    http://spinozaslens.com/libet/articles/dworkin_ethicsofexhibition.htm(article critical of exhibits)

    and

    http://blog.news-record.com/staff/frontpew/archives/2008/06/dead_sea_scroll.shtml(discussion and further links)

  2. It could be, Peter, but there’s also a big difference on what you’d find in the MSM and what has appeared in a peer-reviewed academic journal. As Ed mentions, an publication on the piece has appeared—it’s where he got the transcription from which he made the translation. I imagine it has a more complete handling of the dating/provenance issues.

    But yes, that was my first thought too… As a general rule, all unprovenanced biblically-linked artifacts are forgeries unless proven otherwise.

  3. Christopher says:

    Derek,

    Thanks for this. I’d spotted this in the news when first released and knowing something about the DSS was waiting for solid scholars to weigh in.

  4. wayman29 says:

    Three day motif from the Ancient Near East..

    1. kug-dereš-ki-gal-la-ke4 gišgu-za-na i-ni-in-tuš
    2. da-nun-na di-kud-imin-bi igi-ni-šè di mu-un-ši-in-kud
    3. i-bí mu-ši-in-bar i-bí-úš-a-kam
    4. inim-ma-ne-ne inim-LIPIŠ-gig-ga-àm
    5. [munus]-tu-ra uzu-níg-sìg-šè ba-an-tu
    6. uzu-níg-sìg-ga giškak-ta hi ba-da-an-lá
    7. u4-3 gi6-3 um-ta-zal-la-ta
    The pure Ereshkigal seated herself upon her throne, p. 119
    The Anunnaki, the seven judges, pronounced judgment before her,
    They fastened their eyes upon her, the eyes of death.
    At their word, the word which tortures the spirit,
    The sick [“woman”] was turned into a corpse,
    The corpse was hung from a stake.
    After three days and three nights had passed,
    The poem then continues with the efforts of Inanna’s messenger, Ninshubur, to have the gods bring her back to life. Enki intervenes and Inanna is resurrected. The last three lines of this resurrection passage read:
    1. 60 ú-nam-ti-la 60 a-nam-ti-la ugu-na bí-in-šub-bu-uš
    2. dinanna ba-gub
    3. dinanna kur-ta ba-e11-dè
    Sixty times, the food of life, sixty times, the water of life, they sprinkled upon it (Inanna’s dead body),
    Inanna arose.
    Inanna ascends from the nether world.
    http://www.sacred-texts.com/ane/sum/sum10.htm

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