Archaeologists have discovered a large stone tablet that is causing some controversy, because it may have predicted a messiah who will be raised from the dead after three days.
(Actually, "discovered" isn't the correct word, since the tablet has been in the collection of an Israeli/Swiss antiquities dealer for about ten years.)
Here's more from the Times: If such a messianic description really is there, it will contribute to a developing re-evaluation of both popular and scholarly views of Jesus, since it suggests that the story of his death and resurrection was not unique but part of a recognized Jewish tradition at the time.
I've posted the entire Times article here, for future reference. If you're wondering "What are The Dead Sea Scrolls?", they're the only known Biblical writings from earlier than the first century B.C. They were discovered in the late 1940's in the caves of Qumran, near the Dead Sea. Hence the name.
This particular "Dead Sea Scroll on stone" lends a bit of credence to the theory that various prophetic statements were projected onto the life of Jesus after his death. On the other hand, many Christians will see the inscription on this tablet as one more prophecy that Jesus fulfilled.
Academic papers will soon be published. Then books will be written. Sermons will be preached. Theories will be formulated and denounced. Blog posts will be commented upon.
Regardless of what the original stonemason intended, we'll all find a way to absorb this latest archaeological find and make it fit what we already believe.
Addition from Sunday morning, July 6th,
Click around the net and you'll see that the atheists, agnostics, and skeptics are pointing to this tablet as proof that the death, burial, and resurrection stories were out there before Jesus was born.
Christian sites see the tablet as proof of fulfilled prophecy.
I believe we could travel back in time to Jerusalem 33 A.D., and shoot a video of the resurrection or the non-resurrection. Regardless of what was on the tape, people would see what they wanted to see. Changing your mind on a big issue is too painful.