Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Monday, July 07, 2008

The Jesus Stone

I tend to be extra leery of these types of media announcements. I have seen way too many Christian "apologists" in the past run hog wild with these announcements as "evidence" for the reliability of the Bible, only to do a face-plant when the "evidence" in question is exposed as being a fraud or hoax.

If I am reading the article correctly, apparently there is a stone that pre-dates the birth of Christ - were talking maybe 20 B.C. (or B.C.E. if you are one of those "progressive" theologians) - and written on that stone is 87 lines of Hebrew suggesting that Jewish tradition taught about a coming Messiah who will die and then be raised from the dead three days later. The stone is yet to be officially authenticated, hence the reason for my word of caution for my evidentialist friends.

Amusingly, the article tries to cast this find in the realm of being problematic for Christians. The author suggests that if the stone is real and the message on the stone is legitimate, then Christianity is no longer unique, but is tied to early, pre-Christian Judaism. Has this person forgotten the Old Testament? Christianity has always taught that Jesus is a fulfillment of OT promises and both Jesus and His Apostles taught He was the coming Messiah. His coming and ministry was prophesied by the OT prophets, including His death and suffering (Isaiah 52-57 for example). Why this stone, if real, is perceived as a problem for Christians is a strange conclusion. If anything, it is more of a problem for the Jewish community, and for the current anti-theist apologists who claim Christians borrowed from pagan, mystery religions like Mithraism, in order to bolster their new religious system.

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Blogger Ken Abbott said...

I'm with you, Fred. The attempts I've seen so far by unbelievers to use this find to somehow discredit Christianity by claiming (Aha!) that the idea of a resurrected Messiah is not unique to Christianity mystify me. As you say, it's as if they think that Christianity claims to have arrived de novo, without any claims of connection to OT history, prophecy, etc.

9:54 AM, July 07, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I read it I understood him to say: that Christians say that the suffering Messiah and HIS death and resurrection was unique to JESUS and was not something the Jews thought of, he said that Christians today believe this. So, this stone proves that the Messiah's death and resurrection were part of jewish traditions before Jesus came on the seen, so he thinks that this will be a problem for Christians.

He is obviously not listening to orthodox Christians.

8:33 PM, July 07, 2008  

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