Friday, May 03, 2013

A second Gabriel stone?

THAT SCHOLAR BEING ISRAEL KNOHL: Second 'Gabriel Stone' may exist, says scholar: A second Gabriel Stone, the controversial tablet discovered 13 years ago which raises the prospect of a messiah-like figure that predated Jesus, may exist, according to a world-renowned Israeli scholar (Daniel Easterman, THe Telegraph).
"It is very much possible that the text was written on two stones, especially since the language includes references to a New Testament or Covenant", said Prof Knohl. "It could be that it was made in tablet form to imitate the idea of the two tablets of the Ten Commandments given to Moses at Mount Sinai."

According to Prof Knohl, the telltale sign of an additional piece lies in the fact that there is a clear break in the upper-right corner of the stone.

"We simply don't know if the text on the Gabriel stone we have now is the full composition", he said.

Prof Knohl said he was so certain of his theory that he led an extended archaeological trip himself to Jordan to try to find the second piece, but ultimately was unsuccessful.
In the first place, this is pretty wild speculation. The analogy with the two tablets of the Ten Commandments is possible, but not compelling, and the break only means that we don't know if the text began at the top of the surviving stone or not. It is not evidence that the text did begin on an earlier stone. In the second place, even if there was a second inscribed stone, it may well have been destroyed in the last two thousand years. Most such things were.

I hope he's right and that there is another stone and we find it, but I am not optimistic.

I wholeheartedly agree with this:
He says he remains hopeful that in the future archaeologists or technology experts in the field of high-definition photography will be able to make additional breakthroughs.

"If anyone can think of a new technology or an idea to improve our readings please come and tell us", he said. "This would be a great contribution to the study of both Judaism and Christianity."
I don't doubt that such technology will be developed in due course and that it will be possible to use it on the stone as long as the stone has been carefully preserved in its current condition. This, of course, assuming the inscription is not a forgery. The stone is, after all, an unprovenanced artifact. So far all indications are that it is genuine, but it is not impossible that future technologies will give us a surprise about that as well.

It is also worth repeating that Professor Knohl's reading of the text which finds a dying and rising messiah in it has not been found widely convincing.

Background on the Gabriel Revelation/Vision of Gabriel is here and links.