CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Could Christianity be a hoax? Ancient script written on a stone tablet discovered near the site of the Dead Sea Scrolls appears to reveal that chroniclers of a Jewish messiah named Simon claimed he would rise in three days. Their belief predates the arrival of Jesus' ministry. Some scholars contend this latest evidence suggests Christ's followers filched the resurrection story from that motif. The story is on the front page of today's New York Times. But it is circulating across the globe in the pages of the International Herald Tribune under this headline: "Tablet ignites debate on messiah and resurrection."
A professor at Hebrew University who has been translating the script contends the Dead Sea Stone could rattle the foundations of the world's largest religion:
"This should shake our basic view of Christianity. Resurrection after three days becomes a motif developed before Jesus, which runs contrary to nearly all scholarship. What happens in the New Testament was adopted by Jesus and his followers based on an earlier messiah story."
History notes possible messianic claimants named Simon, including Simon ben Kosiba, who fought the Romans and was the subject of coins minted with a messianic symbol in Jerusalem. More on Simon ben Kosiba is available here in this treatise that is skeptical about a messianic claim. Simon of Peraea was a slave who led a revolt around the time of Jesus' birth. The Dead Sea Stone is said to describe "Gabriel's Revelation," about a prince of princes who is summoned by the angel.