Much Ado about “Gabriel’s Vision”

The discovery of a 1st-century B.C. Jewish work (‘The Vision of Gabriel’) made the New York Times a year ago.  Suddenly, in recent days, this story creates a storm due to an interpretation that ‘Shakes the Foundations of Christianity.’ 

Whenever the media picks up on phrases like that, Caveat Lector (“Let the reader beware”).

Many knowledgeable people have already posted on this, so I’ll refer to some of them.

Todd Bolen gives a breakdown on the What, Where, When, etc. along with some good analysis here.

An English translation of the text, such as it is, is linked in the third paragraph of this page.

The fact that so much of the text has faded makes any full translation dubious.  For it to speak of a Messiah who will be resurrected in 3 days, key words must be imagined because they no longer exist on the stone.  There are other possible interpretations of (what remains of) the text.

The concept of a suffering & risen Messiah did not originate with Jesus or the early Christians. Alan Cornett (aka Theosebes) makes this point here.  Jesus’ story was foretold in the Scriptures, only most 1st-century prognosticators bungled the interpretation.  (A reminder for many biblical prognosticators in our day and time.) In hindsight, early Jewish disciples were able to connect Jesus’ death and resurrection to previously-written Scripture.

Archaeology is largely the interpretation of damaged and destroyed things.  Interpretation requires assumptions and presuppositions to fill in the many gaps.  Archaeology has benefits, but is an inexact science. It should never be a foundation for faith, or for a lack thereof.


About LukeChandler

Luke holds an M.A. in Ancient and Classical History and has been an adjunct professor at Florida College in Temple Terrace, Florida. Luke and his wife Melanie have five children. He serves as a minister in English and Spanish with the North Terrace Church of Christ and participates annually in archaeological excavations in Israel. Luke also leads tours to Europe and the Bible Lands.
This entry was posted in Misuses of biblical archaeology and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Much Ado about “Gabriel’s Vision”

  1. dutsmellmot says:

    Tahnks for posting

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