Saturday, 31 January 2009

好文推介

喺最新一期 Biblical Archaeology Review 有篇文章我覺得寫得好好, 想喺度講下.

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BAR 35:01, Jan/Feb 2009

Biblical Views: Breaking the Trend of Biblical “Breaking News”

By Craig A. Evans

Scholars and the general public alike have grown accustomed, perhaps even hardened, to sensational announcements every year that have something to do with the Bible, Jesus or Christian origins. From The Da Vinci Code to the supposed tomb of Jesus and his family, and the seemingly annual reports about finding Noah’s ark or the Ark of the Covenant, much of the news in our field is incredible—literally. And, of course, several artifacts (such as the Jehoash inscription and the James Ossuary inscription) were widely publicized before being declared forgeries—although the evidence in support of forgery is far from conclusive (see Strata).

In light of all of this noise, I would not be surprised in the least if the public interest in Biblical scholarship and archaeology begins to wane. Future discoveries, even important ones, may well be met with cynical responses such as “We have heard this before.” How is the average person supposed to know when a truly remarkable discovery has been made?

This brings me to the stone inscribed with “Gabriel’s Revelation,” recently published in BAR.a This remarkable find required no hype. Yet the impulse to sensationalize the find, complete with extravagant claims, is already well underway. This is unfortunate.

Ada Yardeni, a respected epigrapher, dates the stone and its two columns of inked Hebrew script to the late first century B.C. or early first century A.D.

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Yardeni’s interpretation is cautious. She describes the text as a vision, a string of prophecies, evidently by someone named Gabriel, addressed to someone in the second person. Several passages of Scripture are alluded to or quoted in part. The focus of the vision seems to be Davidic and may be messianic.

Contrasting Yardeni’s cautious interpretation is Israel Knohl’s daring thesis that the Gabriel vision foretells the appearance of a suffering Messiah son of Joseph, a concept that served as a sort of template for Jesus. After all, Jesus was a “son of Joseph” (Luke 4:22; John 6:42), so surely he understood himself in this light. According to Knohl, this explains why Jesus saw himself as a messiah who would suffer and not as a conquering Messiah son of David. This seems to me a rather shaky line of reasoning.

Knohl has certainly done a great deal of research into the tradition of the suffering Messiah son of Joseph, but is this messiah even present in the Gabriel text? That is far from certain. Neither “Joseph” nor “son of Joseph” appears in the surviving text, and it makes no mention of a suffering figure.

Even if we agree with Knohl’s interpretation of line 80 (“In three days, live, I, Gabriel, command you”)b as referring to resurrection, who is being resurrected? The text says it is the “prince of princes”; there is nothing here about a Messiah son of Joseph. One should bear in mind that Knohl’s reconstructions and interpretation lend significant support to the thesis of his book The Messiah before Jesus, a thesis that has not escaped serious criticism.

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No doubt this interesting debate will continue. The Gabriel text may turn out to be truly significant and of great interest to Jews and Christians alike. It could certainly contribute to our understanding of early Judaism and extra-Biblical prophetic texts around the turn of the era. But we scholars owe it to ourselves and to the public to make sure that careful study of the stone and its properties is undertaken before we start propounding theories that may go well beyond the evidence—particularly in connection to Biblical figures. Priority should be given to further analysis of the text, including the possibility of recovering words and letters no longer visible to the naked eye, locating the site from which it was taken (if possible), and study of the site itself. Perhaps after further study we will be better able to understand the origins and context of this and other fascinating artifacts—without resorting to sensational scholarship.
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睇到呢篇文章, 又不期然令我想起影音使團當年 (2003-2004) 未做任何考證就見晒報兼夾拍埋電影話香港教會發現到挪亞方舟o既英雄事蹟. 而事實係, 過咗咁多年, 到今日, 都仲未有任何證據證實嗰舊嘢係挪亞隻方舟.

荒謬. 未經證實就唔該你唔好出聲住啦. 到時証實搞錯咗, 你點同嗰 d 睇完你嗰齣充滿錯誤資料o既電影信咗o既人交代? 俾非信徒恥笑條數又點計? 等下都唔得, 就係要急不及待要功攞威. 真係樣衰.

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