Hebrew tablet 'predates Bible on resurrection'

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A pre-Christian Hebrew text shows that the idea of a messiah rising from the dead after three days was already in Jewish tradition before the birth of Jesus, a prominent biblical scholar will argue today.

The controversial theory of Professor Israel Knohl, citing his new reading of a tablet inscribed in the 1st century BC discovered nearly 10 years ago, is expected to trigger a new Judaeo-Christian debate over the meaning and origin of the most central tenet of Christianity, the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Professor Knohl, a professor of biblical studies at Hebrew University, Jerusalem, will unveil his interpretation of the text at an Israel Museum conference of scholars, saying that it quotes the Archangel Gabriel telling an earlier "Prince of Princes" that: "In three days you shall live, I Gabriel, command you."

The tablet, known as Gabriel's Vision of Revelations because it contains an apocalyptic text ascribed to the angel, has attracted the intense interest of scholars. It came to light after it was bought from a Jordanian antiquities dealer by an Israeli-Swiss collector, David Jeselsohn, who kept it in his Zurich home. The location of the original discovery is not clear, though it may have been in Jordan on the eastern shore of the Dead Sea.

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