Asbury New Testament scholar Ben Witherington blogged about an ancient stone tablet with message of a suffering messiah that would rise from the dead. MSNBC.com also ran an article that landed on it’s front page last night. Some believe this could date back to the 1st century B.C. From the little bit in the MSNBC article, there do seem to be some interesting parallels. Some scholars say this will continue to close the gap between pre-Christian Judaism and the early Christian church.
My first thought, and what I have seen some commenters ask elsewhere, is what will this do to N.T. Wright’s apologetic on the resurrection? He bases nearly his entire thought on his understanding that Jews in the time of Jesus were not expecting a suffering, dying, and resurrected messiah. All of his arguments return to this point over and over. Witherington, in the comments section, says that overall it may mean Wright may have to revise, but it won’t change anything. He doesn’t go into great detail as to why.
As for what this will do for Tom Wright’s views, it might cause a certain revision but nothing much. I tend to look at these things in terms of God’s providence. He was preparing that whole people and social context for what would happen to Jesus, and so when it did, they would at least understand it. When the Scriptures say “and when the time fully came, God sent forth his Son…” it makes very clear that God knows when the due season and where the apropos place is for things to happen.
I will be waiting to hear a response from Wright. Still, I think this is an interesting find.