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- Messiahs and Resurrection in 'the Gabriel Revelation'
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Summary: Chazon Gabriel, i.e. The Vision of Gabriel is a very large (ca. 96 x 37 x 14 cm) Hebrew limestone fragmentary inscription discovered in an unknown location on the eastern shores of the Dead Sea in Transjordan that found its way into the collection of a Jewish Swiss collector, David Jeselsohn. Ada Yardeni called it, "a Dead Sea scroll in stone", probably due to the script's attested affinity to that of the Dead Sea scrolls as well as its literary similarities to other texts of the period especially Qumran Hebrew (QH) and the Mishnaic Hebrew (MH) in Tannaitic texts. Israel Knohl, a New Testament Scholar of Hebrew University, dates the Gabriel Revelation written on stone to 4 BCE while other scholars prefer the end of the 1st century CE. He argues the text belongs to the apocalyptic and messianic genre and connects the mention of "three shepherds" sent to Israel (similar to the 3 shepherds mentioned in Zech 11:8). According to him these were the three messianic leaders of the failed insurrection of April 4 B.C that was crushed by the Roman army under the command of Varus, then governor of Syria also mentioned by Josephus, in which thousands were killed and enslaved and parts of the Jerusalem temple were burned. He identifies the "Prince of Princes" killed and left unburied in line 81 of the text as possibly Simon the leader of Qumran and one of the three shepherds, killed by the Herod's commander Gratus, his body left to rot in the cliff crevices near Qumran. The Prince of Princes is the same in his view as the prophesied royal Messiah. He considers it less important whether Simon was the royal messiah of the Gabriel's prophetic vision than the fact that it strongly suggested that a savior who died and rose after three days was an established concept at the time of Jesus. He believes line 80 provides the most ancient proof of expectation of a Messiah who would rise again. However, his translation of line 80 as "By three days live" is contested by other scholars. He identifies this messiah as Messiah Ben Joseph because of the mention of Ephraim in line 16. The sacrificial white Bull of 1 Enoch 90 and an eschatological Joshua in 4QTestimonia possibly refer to a tradition of a Josephite messianic figure known in pseudepigraphical texts in the 1st century. But the earliest actual mention of a Messiah Ben Joseph (a figure which was to come before Messiah Ben David and was to be killed) is found much later in the Babylonian Talmud (b. Sukkah 52a). According to a 7th century CE text, Sefer Zerubbabel, he was also to rise from the dead. The only other medieval text to mention Messiah as Ephraim is the Pesiqta Rabbati. Knohl also contends that the numerous predictions of Jesus of his suffering in the Gospels cannot be dismissed as later interpolations because the idea of a Suffering Messiah was already present in his day as shown by the Gabriel Revelation. According to him, "His [Jesus'] mission is that he has to be put to death by the Romans to suffer so his blood will be the sign for redemption to come. This is the sign of the son of Joseph. This is the conscious view of Jesus himself. This gives the Last Supper an absolutely different meaning. To shed blood is not for the sins of people but to bring redemption to Israel." See also:
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