Ethan Bronner of the New York Times reports on an interesting archaeological find:
A three-foot-tall tablet with 87 lines of Hebrew that scholars believe dates from the decades just before the birth of Jesus is causing a quiet stir in biblical and archaeological circles, especially because it may speak of a messiah who will rise from the dead after three days.
Then he sticks his foot in it by implying that Christians would somehow find this shocking:
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.
Do religion writers even bother to study the religions they report on any more? The New Testament (and Christian tradition in general) is full of prophecies and prefigurations. The whole freaking book of Isaiah for example. Or Hosea. As Michael Barber explains (via Curt Jester):
the idea of a resurrection on the third day flows from Hosea 6:2: "After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up,that we may live before him."
Indeed, Jesus explains to the disciples that his resurrection on the third day would take place in order to fulfill Scripture.
"Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead" (Luke 24:46).
In fact, the New Testament is clear that Jesus came to fulfill the hopes of ancient Israel.
Yet, the New York Times story seems to suggest that this tablet will somehow raise questions about the truth of Christianity. Somehow, for them, the discovery that some ancient Jews expected the messiah to suffer and rise on the third day is problematic for Christianity.
This isn't a question of whether the prophecies and prefigurations are right or not. It's a simple matter of fact that they have always been an integral part of Christian writings. There is no conceivable reason why another one surfacing on a stone tablet would be greeted any differently than all the others.