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Gabriel's Revelation (also named Hazon Gabriel or the Vision of Gabriel) 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 first 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 hailed as a "Dead Sea scroll in stone".

Origins

The unprovenanced tablet was likely found near the Dead Seamarker 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 Swissmarker-Israelimarker collector, who bought it from a Jordanian antiquities dealer. At the time he was unaware of its significance.

Reception

It perhaps sheds a new light 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 Jerusalemmarker's Hebrew Universitymarker reads the inscription as a command from the angel Gabriel "to rise from the dead within three days". He takes this command to be directed at a 1st century Jewish rebel called Simon, who was killed by the Romans in 4 B.C. In Knohl's view 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." Ben Witherington, on the other hand – an Early Christianity expert at Asbury Theological Seminarymarker in Wilmoremarker Kentucky – claims that a word interpreted as "rise" could just as easily be taken to mean "show up". At a conference at the Israel Museummarker in Jerusalem between the 6th and the 8 July in 2008, marking the 60th anniversary of the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls, Knohl gave a paper on the tablet.

Dr. Victor Sasson, a biblical scholar and specialist in Hebrew and Aramaic Epigraphy, disagrees with Knoll, objecting:

"...the whole issue of this 'h>yh' (with initial Het) suggested by Knohl is not only precarious, but also suspect. He had previously suggested a thesis regarding a resurrected Jewish mashiah (messiah), and has now found an opportunity with this letter Het (and Alef) to support his thesis. The other words that he supplies in line 80, with the exception of the existing 'I Gabriel' are in fact his own!"


References and further reading

  1. "By Three Days, Live": Messiahs, Resurrection, and Ascent to Heavon in Hazon Gabriel, Israel Knohl, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  2. nysun.com, Blurry 'Vision of Gabriel'
  3. Cited with permission from the author's paper , Seidner, Stanley S. "The Knohl Hypothesis and 'Hazon Gabriel,'" June 3, 2009.
  4. Sasson, Victor, " The Vision of Gabriel and Messiah in Mainstream Judaism and in Christianity: Textual, Philological, and Theological Comments, Hebrew and Aramaic Epigraphy blog. Sasson also states, "Knohl simply cannot hang his major thesis of a resurrected Jewish messiah or of a messianic tale on letters whose ink has faded, and on a couple of other self-concocted retorations...One does not 'restore' a focal point, fundamental to one's major thesis, on the basis of a letter or two, and then claim he has found supporting evidence. A professional epigrapher - and Knohl is not such one - would not engage in such self-deception. In other words, one cannot say there is a resurrected messiah in this text and then proceed to plant evidence in support of that conclusion."


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