JUDAISM AND IN CHRISTIANITY: TEXTUAL,
PHILOLOGICAL, AND THEOLOGICAL COMMENTS
DR. VICTOR SASSON
The text of the so-called Vision of Gabriel and a photograph of its stone tablet were published in 2007 (1). On August 4, 2008 I read the text of the tablet for the first time and jotted down a few notes. The present essay – written a year later - incorporates those brief notes together with much recent analysis and reflections (2).
Both the stone and the text have been considered genuine and dated, on palaeographical grounds, approximately to late first century B. C. E. There is no good reason to doubt the authenticity of the stone and its text. The text – written in ink and comprising 87 lines - is too fragmentary for making a thoroughly coherent and clear sense of it. Even so, there are some words and lines in this long tablet that give us, at some junctures, reasonable clues as to what is being said and what is not being said.
In Second Temple Judaism there were various Jewish groups who espoused different religious ideologies. I have no intention of discussing messianic trends in non-canonical Jewish writings. My main sources of reference will be the Hebrew Bible and authoritative ancient Rabbinic views.
I must make it clear from the start, however, that the concept of a dead and risen Jewish messiah – even if it was current among some Jewish quarters at the time - must be rejected. Such a concept of Jewish messiah would not only have been foreign to ancient Middle Eastern Jewish culture and traditions, but would also have been considered heretical by the earlier Hebrew Prophets, and by contemporaneous Jewish Sages. There is nothing in the Hebrew Scriptures about a dead and risen mashiah, and there is not even a hint in the Vision of Gabriel about such an individual.
Similarly, any attempt that seeks to prop up the shaky theological foundations of Christianity by linking it to the Hebrew Scriptures – particularly regarding a messiah - must be dismissed. Scholars who are committed Christians, and who deal with the Hebrew Bible, are usually biased by the articles of their faith – articles which reject the basic, fundamental tenets of Biblically and Rabbinically based Judaism. Hence, whatever discussion and analyses such scholars offer on the question of Jewish mashiah (messiah) can only be biased, and therefore suspect.
I shall first discuss textual and philological issues related to the Vision, and then offer theological comments pertaining to the concept of messiah in mainstream Judaism and in Christianity.
Textual and Philological Comments on the Vision of Gabriel
In my opinion, the text of The Vision of Gabriel cannot be in reference to a personal controversy – a proposal that the editors of the text have suggested as a possibility. It is unlikely that an individual in ancient Palestine would have taken the trouble and expense to write on stone a text regarding a personal controversy, even if the controversy was of a theological nature. The text appears to be in reference to some impending, or apocalyptic, national event. Various textual indicators support this conclusion.
I shall first discuss the phrase dam tibhei yerushalayim (line 57) and a couple of other significant words and lines, and then delve into other related issues.
The term tebah (from the root tabah – with Het - to slaughter) occurs in Lamentations 2:21. Addressing God, the poet makes a heart-rending complaint, referring to the destruction of Jerusalem with its Temple, and the slaughter perpetrated by the invaders:
You have killed on the day of thy fury –
You slaughtered (tabahta); you had no compassion.
In Ezek. 21:33 we read hereb hereb petuhah, lat-tebah merutah (a sword, a sword unsheathed, and polished for slaughter).
The expression s>n tibhah (sheep for slaughter, Ps. 44:12) has been applied by the Psalmist to slaughter that is inflicted on people in time of war. People, in other words, are treated as if they were animals.
The term tebah (with tet) is akin to the term zebah (sacrifice), but tebah is typically used in reference to slaughter occasioned by wartime. King Jehu in II Kings: 10 tricks the prophets of Baal by telling them he has made Temple preparations for a big sacrificial event in honour of Baal. But those who are offered as sacrifice, by way of slaughter, are the prophets of Baal themselves.
The term galuth (exile, lines 37 and 38) must also be in reference to a national event. It can hardly refer to personal exile following a controversy with another individual - a suggestion put forward by the editors of the text.
As regards ‘three days’ (line 19 and elsewhere), the Hebrew Scriptures uses these words to refer to a brief span of time. The words should not be understood literally. Time, in terms of three days, seven days, and forty days, all carry certain connotations.
Taking into account what has been said above, the words dam tibhei yerushalayim (line 57) appear to refer to some apocalyptic, catastrophic, national event about to take place (the preceding word stm=satom may have ended a previous line but, if accepted for this line, it could mean ‘put/putting an end to’). This is in keeping with the language of the whole text – fragmentary as it is – and is reminiscent of the language/ideas of post-Exilic prophets, such as Hagai, Zechariah, and Daniel. Hence, the text of The Vision falls within the genre of those same books, and is a fervent call to obey the exhortations of the earlier Prophets. The words nebi’im shalahti (prophets I had sent), implies that the haranguing of those earlier prophets were ignored by the people – hence, the suffering and tribulations, occasioned by internal pressures and external forces. Still, the Vision’s historical context - if there is one - is not clear at all.
Considering what has been said above, the phrase dam tibhei yerushalayim does not appear to refer to the blood of Temple sacrifices - an interpretation the editors seem to prefer. Nevertheless, such a proposal should remain, pending further revised and refined readings of the ancient script used in the Vision. The context of this phrase – with the preceding word stm - may have demanded an end to the blood of Temple sacrifices since sacrifices would be of no avail in the face of impending doom.
The editors state the following (bottom of p.156): “Since the text is broken at many places, it appears to be a collection of short prophecies that were dictated to a scribe, like the prophetic books in the Hebrew Bible” (my translation). On the contrary, in my view the text is a self-contained composition.
The text of the tablet speaks of: ‘this bad plant’ (perhaps certain leaders or the nation itself)’; ‘evil crushed (or destined to be crushed) by righteousness’; ‘prophets that were sent before’ (to warn the people); ‘three holy ones’; ‘three shepherds’; David’; ‘Ephraim’; ‘Israel’; ‘the nations’; ‘three days’; ‘the blood of the Jerusalem slaughter’ (blood of the fallen dead); ‘heaven and earth’; ‘YHWH, Lord of Hosts, God of Israel’; ‘chariots’; ‘exile’, and ‘I, Gabriel’.
Of special significance is the repetition of the word ‘three’: ‘three signs’; ‘three days’; ‘three holy ones of the world; ‘three shepherds emerged in Israel’.
The three days seem to refer to an imminent destruction or, otherwise, to a possible national salvation, pending acts of repentance. Again, the word ‘three’ should not be taken in its literal sense.
The word qitut (line 24, ‘in a little while and I will upturn … the heavens and the earth’) is probably related to the word qat found in Ezek. 16:47, mentioned by the editors. Their alternative suggestion of linking it to qetatah (a quarrel) would not be contextually appropriate or relevant. Qitut is not attested elsewhere and could be an innovation by the author of the text himself. However, both ‘three days’ and qitut point to an imminent, apocalyptic event.
Philologically, the vocables tet and sade in Biblical Hebrew correspond to Arabic tah and thad. Qitut, in other words, could be a form of qisus (from qasas, with sadeh), cutting or shortening – hence, possibly connoting a short span of time. It could also connect with qatan, ‘small’ (in terms of time duration). Admittedly, these are philological/semantic possibilities to consider, not offered as certainties.
The mention of ‘three signs’, ‘three days’, ‘three holy ones of the world’, ‘three shepherds emerged in Israel’, all point to the sacred nature of the term ‘three’ in this present text and elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible - (cf. qadosh, qadosh, qadosh! in Isa. 6, and the three Hebrew Patriarchs - Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and the three Matriarchs).
The speaker in the vision is clearly Gabriel, an angel, or in some other function or office. The writer/speaker is (a) A devout, loyal Jew, steeped in the teachings of the Torah and prophecies of the Hebrew Scriptures. (b) He has a low opinion of gentile nations, calling them ge>im (‘proud ones’) instead of goyim. (c) He is addressing someone, telling him to ask questions (she>alani, line 21), but it is possible the speaker is addressing himself in a vision – i.e., a monologue/dialogue in the mind of the author himself. (d) He is asking for a sign (see line 17, and elsewhere).
Signs in the Vision are quite significant for the imminent event.
A clear historical context for the Vision is lacking, and therefore we do not know who and what exactly are being referred to. However, it is reasonably clear that in three days – meaning a short span of time - a violent, apocalyptic event will take place, not that any dead person will be resurrected. Miracle workers in those days probably were not few, and a rumour that a dead person rose from the dead, or was about to rise from the dead, would not have made big news, except perhaps in some extraordinary cases (3). Prophecy or a vision of an impending national catastrophic event would have made some impact on people, and would have motivated them to repent. On the other hand, the prophetic text of the Vision could have been purely a literary venture, available only to select few – those who were versed in the authoritative, canonical Hebrew prophetic traditions and were concerned with the nation’s future.
The language used is later, post-biblical, akin to Mishnaic, with no attested use of the waw consecutive. Matres are generally used, though not consistently – cf., for example, sb>oth (with waw, line 11) but sb>th (line 68), but this could be an exception, a scribal omission.
Many of the words and lines that are legible from the fragmentary text point to an imminent national destruction that would be followed by rebuilding. It is near extinction, followed by rehabilitation and survival, conditioned on repentance. But it must be emphasized that there is no shred of any kind of proof or even a single textual indicator that the reference is to a dead and risen Jewish messiah. Such an interpretation, even if it were possible in a future textual analysis, would only point to a sectarian, deviant sect - an offshoot of mainstream Judaism which, in the times of the ancient Jewish Sages in Palestine, had already crystallized into a solid and respectable Religion. By mainstream Judaism, I mean Jewish faith in principle and daily practice – based on the Hebrew Bible and on oral, handed down, traditions, - not necessarily the written documents, such as the codification of rules and regulations in the Mishnah. As is well known, oral customs and traditions come first, while codification comes much later.
Published Scholarly Opinions
Two other scholars have discussed the implications of the text from their own perspectives and understanding. One is I. Knohl (4) and, to a lesser extent - in a very short, sketchy article - J. J. Collins (5).
Knohl’s attempt to find textual basis for a Jewish resurrected messiah in the Vision of Gabriel should be abandoned, simply because the text of the tablet is too fragmentary for such a far reaching conclusion and for lack of any mention or hint of a messiah. I agree with Collins that Knohl’s reading of the tablet “is highly conjectural and goes far beyond the evidence”.
Let me discuss what I consider are the most important lines in Knohl’s analysis. These are line 80 and part of line 81.
He reads the following:
(80) Lshloshth ymyn h>yh, >ny gbry>l gw[zr]
“By three days, live, I Gabriel command you, prince of the princes.”
First of all, Ada Yardeni’s published study shows that she could only read the initial letter Het in Knohl’s h>yh, and she did not even consider it certain. However, in a written communication with this writer (August 2009), Yardeni explained that she could now read the letters Het and Alef, but that what follows could be Yod and He OR Waw and Taw. Then she added:
“Waw and Taw …yields Ha>wt. Both readings are possible because these letters are very faded, but these are the only options”.
In an earlier communication (a few days before), she had mentioned the word Ha>wt (‘the sign’) in line 17, in connection with the present line 80. Even though I tried twice to correct her, it seems she was still not aware that the initial letter in Ha>wt would be He and not Het.
Let us consider what the drift of the text is. Line 17 mentions ‘the sign’; line 79 mentions ‘the signs’. This tells us clearly that the sign or signs Gabriel needs from the person he is addressing are very important. Now since in Qumran script the shapes of the Het and the He are closely similar, and since the ink has faded, I am inclined to read He instead of Het. That would indeed give us a reading of Ha>wt (‘the sign’), connecting line 80 with the previous line 79, and with the earlier line 17. Signs in the Vision of Gabriel are portentous and significant.
In brief, the whole issue of this h>yh (with initial Het) suggested by Knohl is not only precarious, but also suspect. He had previously suggested a thesis regarding a resurrected Jewish mashiah, and has now found an opportunity with this letter Het (and Alef) to support his thesis. The other words that he supplies in line 80, with the exception of the existing ‘I Gabriel’ are in fact his own!
Knohl simply cannot hang his major thesis of a resurrected Jewish messiah or of a messianic tale on letters whose ink has faded, and on a couple of other self-concocted restorations.
One does not ‘restore’ a focal point, fundamental to one’s major thesis, on the basis of a letter or two, and then claim he has found supporting evidence. A professional epigrapher – and Knohl is not such one – would not engage in such self-deception. In other words, one cannot say there is a resurrected messiah in this text and then proceed to plant evidence in support of that conclusion.
In my own overall assessment of the fragmentary text, we can be certain that in the Vision of Gabriel there is not ONE single, clear reference to a dead and risen mashiah (messiah). For in a relatively long epigraphic text like this one, comprising 87 lines, there should be at least ONE single, clear mention of the word ‘mashiah’, if not several mentions of that phantom creature, considering the constant repetition of other words and lines, noted earlier in this essay.
Further, there are no textual indicators, let alone proof, that the mention of ‘the God of the chariots’ (line 26) and ‘their chariot’ (line 67) are in connection with a resurrected messiah who has been transported to heaven by a chariot. This is sheer, unfounded, speculation. In Hagai 2:23, for instance, we read about the destruction of a chariot (merkabah) and its riders. In other words, chariots were not exclusively used for transportation of resurrected messiahs to Heaven.
As to what John Collins states, it is clear he himself has an agenda. Given his background as a committed Christian scholar, his business appears to be to employ his academic scholarship in twisting the crystal clear words of the Hebrew Scriptures (which he persists in calling ‘Old Testament’- a biased and offensive theological term), to mean what the Christian writings pretend to mean. Christian interpretations in the ‘new’ Testament regarding a Jewish mashiah do not exist in the Hebrew Scriptures. Since Collins has accepted the interpretations of the gospels concerning a dead and risen Jewish messiah, any discussion of his on the text of the Gabriel Vision must be considered foreign, biased, and suspect.
Thus, Collins is quick to inject apologetics for the shaky origins and evolution of Christianity. He tells us that an introductory course on the ‘new’ Testament will show us that the early Christians “understood Jesus in light of Jewish prophecies and expectations”. This is as much as to say that the early Christians based their beliefs on the teachings of the Hebrew Scriptures - in other words, that they found solid bases for their belief in Yeshu as the anticipated Jewish messiah. This is a false claim. What the early Christians did was to seek textual proof, legitimacy, and respectability for their contrived ideas and concepts by quoting the Hebrew Scriptures. Fascinated by the Hebrew Bible, yet rejecting its fundamental tenets together with Judaism, they managed to concoct, orchestrate, and build up a castle in the air (=Christianity), based on fanciful textual interpretations.
Knohl is right in characterising Collins as “biased by his devotion to Christianity” – a religion that would have been vehemently denounced by Moses, Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the latter Hebrew prophets, including Daniel.
Basing one’s beliefs on another religion or ideological/theological text does not prove that the new ideology or the new religion is true to its declared sources. The highly devout Christian Republic of South Africa – up to recent years - based its evil doctrine or policy of racial superiority and racist rules of enslavement, torture, and murder on a line or two in the Hebrew Bible. Will John Collins tell us that an introductory course on the Hebrew Bible will teach us that Apartheid is a legitimate form of humane government, supported by the Hebrew Scriptures? Will he tell us that ‘Apartheid was understood in light of textual sources in the Hebrew Bible’? Considering what he has told us about the ‘new’ Testament, we would expect him to answer in the affirmative.
In connection with Knohl’s thesis about a Jewish messiah predating Jesus, Collins states the following: “threat to Christian theology is no more than a marketing strategy”. The Christian ‘theology’ that Collins speaks of does not exist. It is mythology based on misinterpretation of sundry Hebrew words and some texts, all taken out of their contexts and twisted to mean what the early Hellenized Jews/Christians wished them to mean. Modern scientific scholarship would not endorse or accept such misrepresentations of the Hebrew Scriptures.
Messiah in Judaism and in Christianity
The word ‘messiah’ comes from Hebrew mashiah, meaning ‘an anointed one’ (root mashah – with Het - to anoint). Persons were anointed kings and, in certain cases, prophets. The act of being officially anointed meant divine approval. In the Hebrew Scriptures there are various references to this symbolic act. Even a non-Hebrew king, like Cyrus, king of the Medes, was called ‘mashiah’ for his righteous actions and just government (Isa. 45:1).
Gradually, in post Exilic times, the concept of a Jewish messiah developed further. The mashiah would bring divine help, political and otherwise, to those who identified themselves as Jews. He would bring messianic, ideal, times to his people and, possibly also, to the rest of the world. Ancient Rabbinic opinions differed as to what sort of person that anointed one would be (6). But he would definitely not be a deity. There is nothing in the Hebrew Scriptures regarding any mashiah (messiah) in the form the early Hellenised Jews/Christians devised, constructed, and proposed.
Further, a dead and a risen mashiah (messiah) is in fact a contradiction in terms. For a mashiah by definition is one who can extend help to others. He is (in Biblical Hebrew) a moshia<, ‘a helper’. A dead mashiah, even if resurrected, would not be of any assistance to others, and definitely would have nothing to do with the Hebrew Scriptures and with the oral traditions of mainstream Jewish faith.
John Collins - like other committed Christians - must therefore renounce his reliance on the Hebrew Bible. For a dead and risen Jewish mashiah has never been part of the canonical Hebrew sources, nor of mainstream Judaism!
It is a major article of faith in the Jewish religion to wait and hope for the mashiah. Maimonides (Rabbi Moshe ben-Maimon, the Sepharadi - twelfth century C. E.) makes this clear in his Yigdal Elohim – a hymn, which lists the thirteen articles of Jewish faith, and is part of the morning liturgy in the Hebrew prayer book.
The story of a divine dead and risen messiah, as depicted in the ‘new’ Testament, absolutely negates the Torah of Moses and the teachings of the Hebrew Prophets. Moses and the Hebrew Prophets would have branded Christian articles of faith as downright heresies, and those Jews who espoused them would be considered apostates, deserving of severe punishment.
The Hebrew Scriptures are full of denunciations of idolatry, of graven images, of worshipping other deities, and there is no need to cite chapter and verse. Such references are all over the Pentateuch and the books of the Hebrew Prophets. Further, it is for mainstream Judaism and its leaders to interpret these texts, which are clear regarding idolatry. It is not for members of other nations or Jewish apostates to interpret the teachings of the Hebrew Scriptures, or dictate what these Scriptures say or mean.
The concept of a virgin birth is one of those miracle stories that non-Jewish scholars are fond of finding in the Hebrew Bible – e.g. the Elisha stories. Yet when it comes to Christian miracle stories, like the virgin birth, incarnation, and the like, these assume the respectable rubric of ‘Theology’.
The concept of physical incarnation is foreign to Middle Eastern Jewish thought, but normal or natural in the cultures and mentalities of the Greeks and the Romans (cf. Ovid’s Metamorphoses).
The mention of ‘Israel’ as God’s son in Hosea, for instance, is a metaphor. It is a term of endearment, and there are other terms of endearment in the Hebrew Bible that should not be understood in a literal sense. But since the West has been deeply rooted (if not mired) in classical mythology, Hellenized Jews and native Greeks sought to fuse Hebraic religious concepts with those of Greece and Rome (cf. Milton’s Hellenized depiction of Hebrew Bible episodes in his Paradise Lost, and Voltaire’s ridicule of this in his Candide).
Psalm 2 must also be understood as speaking of the anointed king, as a messiah, in terms of endearment, not literally. The mention of ‘son’ should only be understood in a figurative sense. Further, one cannot base a religion on Psalms 2 and 100 and a couple of other biblical Hebrew texts. In making such claims, Christianity proves its shaky, wobbly nature. For this religion is so desperately deficient of proof that it hangs on any and every flimsy ‘evidence’ in what they call ‘The Old Testament’.
The concept of ‘trinity’ has always been found offensive to Jews and Muslims as it negates and violates the purely distinctive idea of a Supreme God. The linguistic hair-splitting maneuvers Christianity engages in is quite baffling.
And yet, while Judaism has long ago rejected Yeshu as the anticipated messiah, Islam accepted this poor Middle Eastern Jew as a prophet. Islam, thus, has recognized that the concept of a divine messiah as portrayed in the ‘new’ Testament is false. The Quran is clear on this focal point: ‘God does not beget, nor is He begotten’ – ‘lam yalid, walam yulad’.
Islam in fact has many admirable elements, in particular its emphasis on the Unity of God, as formulated in the Pentateuch and in the Hebrew Prophets, and so important in the Jewish faith. The Jewish credo is “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one”. Islam’s emphasis on the Unity of God makes Islam truly a very close relation of the Jewish faith. And this fact has been recognized by Maimonides in his Epistle to Yemen, a letter he wrote to the Jews of Yemen, in a response he made to them.
As to the concept of resurrection, it is thoroughly Jewish in its origins. Again, we find this in Maimonides’ hymn, Yigdal Elohim, and he makes it a major article of Jewish faith. The Talmud shows that there were diverse Rabbinic opinions about the nature of resurrection and also regarding what persons would be entitled to that privilege.
In the Vision of Gabriel there is no mention of a significant word that recurs in biblical messianic writings particularly regarding the end of days and such apocalyptic allusions. The word is qes (with sadeh), often used in the Book of Daniel and mentioned in Maimonides’ hymn in connection with messianic times.
Finally, the Vision of Gabriel has no mention of the Prophet Elijah, the traditional precursor of the true Jewish Messiah (cf. Mal. 3:23).
What has been said so far in this essay is relevant to the question whether or not there could be mention of a dead and a risen messiah in the Vision of Gabriel. Mainstream Hebraic/Jewish thought – based on the Hebrew Bible - would have entertained no such reference to, or belief in, a dead and risen Jewish mashiah. A Jewish mashiah would bring life and hope and a new era of near utopian prospects, not idealized suffering and death as portrayed in Christianity.
Finally, the history of the last two millennia prove that messianic times of peace and justice have not yet arrived, and that Western nations’ acceptance of Yeshu as a messiah has only proved to be a source of wars, torture, slaughter, inquisitions, and ethnic cleansing among Christian nations themselves. For the Jewish mashiah that the Jews have always hoped for was never, and is never, meant to be a personal saviour – a hazy concept that the Hellenized Jews/Christians developed - but a national and universal symbol of hope, justice, and peace that would operate in actual reality. Granted, this Jewish concept has developed into a hope, a goal, and an ideal – but it is an ideal that has long been considered to be worth striving for, however distant it may be.
An introductory course on the Hebrew Bible, and a good knowledge of Biblical Hebrew, would - and should - convince any intelligent, educated person, of whatever faith, of the contriving and erring interpretations of the gospels regarding the Jewish mashiah.
The Vision of Gabriel contains a text that is similar to other earlier biblical prophetic texts that speak of apocalyptic visions and of dire consequences. The language used is more akin to later Hebrew, reminiscent of Mishnaic. While certain words and phrases are repeated in the text, there is not one single mention of the word mashiah.
Based on the Hebrew Scriptures, the mashiah that the Jews have always hoped for and waited for cannot be a dead and risen individual. He is an anointed one, divinely ordained for a mission – a mission to herald peace, justice and universal good to His people and to the world. From the point of view of the Hebrew canonical sacred writings – the Hebrew Scriptures - and authoritative, mainstream Jewish traditions, the messiah is not a personal saviour. The sole personal and universal Saviour is God himself, and He is so proclaimed in the Pentateuch and in the Hebrew Prophets. “I am, I am the Lord, and there is no other Saviour besides me” (Isa. 43:11), and “I am the First and I am the Last and besides me there is no other God” (Isa. 44:6). The concept of a resurrected messiah is a thoroughly foreign/Hellenized/Greek concept, patently spurious and has no place in the culture of the Hebrew Bible and normative Judaism (7).
1. Ada Yardeni and Benyamin Elitzur, “A Prophetic Text written on Stone from the
First Century B. C. E. – A Preliminary Publication”, Cathedra 123 (2007), pp. 155-166 (in Modern Hebrew).
2. Even though a year had elapsed from the time I first saw the text of the Vision, I did
not follow published research on it. What has prompted me to research the text of the Vision was the recent controversy regarding the question of a messiah in the text. I have therefore tackled the text equipped only with Knohl’s main reading of lines 80-81 regarding a resurrected, pre-Christian messiah, and Collins brief rebuttal.
3. I recall hearing the name of R. Meir Ba’al Han-ness (Rabbi Meir, the Miracle
Worker) at home when I was growing up in Baghdad. I also recall childhood visits to the Tomb of the Prophet Ezekiel and the Tomb of Ezra the Scribe (Ezra Has-Sofer).
4. Israel Knohl, “By Three Days, Live” – Messiahs, Resurrection, and Ascent to
Heavens in Hazon Gabriel, in Journal of Religion (2008), pp. 147-158.
5. J. J. Collins, in Yale Alumnai Magazine (September/October, 2008).
6. See A. Cohen’s Everyman’s Talmud (E.P. Dutton, 1949) Chapter XI (The Hereafter) for ancient Rabbinic views regarding the messiah, resurrection of the dead, and related issues.
7. The purpose of my discussion of the Jewish messiah is to expose the blatant misrepresentations of the Hebrew Scriptures by Christianity. The constant missionary work that world churches do to proselytize Jews and gentiles is a source of animosity and hatred. Many Jews and many Muslims resent this activity. Missionary work is done on an ongoing massive, universal scale, with free books, free talks, free events, ensnaring and trapping the souls of ‘unbelievers’ who are warned that unless they accept Jesus as their saviour, they are destined for the flames of Hell!
20th August, 2009
Copyright © Victor Sasson, 2009
All Rights Reserved
Dr. Victor Sasson grew up in Baghdad. He is British-educated and holds degrees from the University of London and an American Ph.D. He was Senior Lecturer in Semitic Languages at the University of South Africa, Member of the Society for Old Testament Study, and Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society. A biblical scholar and specialist in Hebrew and Aramaic Epigraphy, he has also published four novels, including King Jehoash and the Mystery of the Temple of Solomon Inscription, which is based on his published research on the Jehoash tablet.