of 5
Current View
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2013 by the Society of Biblical Literature.
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RBL 01/2013
Henze, Matthias, ed.
Hazon Gabriel: New Readings of the Gabriel
Society of Biblical Literature Early Judaism and Its
Literature 29
Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2011. Pp. xiii +
219. Paper. $29.95. ISBN 9781589835412.
Ian Young
University of Sydney
Sydney, Australia
In the preface to the volume Matthias Henze
introduces the Hazon Gabriel inscription
(HG) and the essays in the volume. He indicates
that it is “a gray li
mestone, presumably
an ancient stele, bearing a Hebrew inscription”
(xi). Scholarly opinion is that “the Hazon
Gabriel is authentic and dates
from the late first century
. or the early first century
.” (xii). “The purpose of the present volu
me is to make accessible in one book all
existing editions of the Hazon Gabriel toget
her with annotated English translations and
to offer some initial interpretations of the
text as a whole, its language and most
prominent motifs” (xii). In other words, this
is a very helpful volume for anyone who
wishes to understand the state of scholarshi
p on the text at the ti
me of the volume’s
David Jeselsohn, owner of the stone, in “The
Jeselsohn Stone
: Discovery and Publication”
(1–9) gives an interesting introduction to th
e circumstances of his acquisition and the
little that is known of its origin. The antiqui
ties dealer who sold him the stone “could not
supply any reliable information as to the origin
of the stone or the place in which it was
found” (2), although Jeselsohn argues the likel
ihood of an origin on the east side of the
Dead Sea (3, 4–5). He also provides a helpful
summary of previous sc
holarly publications
on the inscription.
This review was published by RBL
2013 by the Society of Biblical Literature.
For more information on obtaining a
subscription to RBL, please visit h
Ada Yardeni and Binyamin Elizur, “A Hebrew
Prophetic Text on Stone from the Early
Herodian Period: A Preliminary Report” (11–29), give the authors’ text and translation of
the inscription, nothing some corrections in
light of the reading of Qimron and Yuditsky.
As the title of their article indicates, they
argue that “it belongs to the prophetic genre”
(12), “a collection of short prophecies d
ictated to a scribe, in a manner similar to
prophecies appearing in the Hebrew Bible”
(17). However, they note immediately:
“although the inscription contains many biblica
l expressions, the language sounds more
like Mishnaic Hebrew than Biblical Hebrew” (
17). They provide an extensive survey of
the biblical and biblical-
like expressions in the text. The article finishes with a detailed
analysis of the palaeography of the text, argu
ing that the script dates to the late first
. or early first century
Elisha Qimron and Alexey (Eliyahu) Yu
ditsky, in “Notes on the So-Called
Gabriel Vision
Inscription” (31–38), give their reading of the
text (albeit only the better-preserved lines
11–32, 64–80) in the form not only of a transcription of the Hebrew and its translation
but, very helpfully, in a vocalized Hebrew tex
t, which functions as a detailed commentary
on how they read it.
Israel Knohl, in “The Apocalyptic and Messian
ic Dimensions of the Gabriel Revelation in
Their Historical Context,” traces several signif
icant biblical passages that lie behind the
HG, in particular Zech 14, Jer 31–33, an
d Dan 8–9. According to Knohl, it was
“composed shortly after 4
.” by “followers of the messianic leader Simon, who was
killed in Transjordan in 4
.,” which is where the stone wa
s probably found (47). It is
thus an example of “catastrophic messian
ism” where a slain Messiah gives a new/holy
covenant to Israel. It is interesting that Kn
ohl spends quite a bit of time discussing the
significance of the designatio
n of this Messiah as “Ephrai
m,” since Qimron and Yuditsky
do not read this word in the text (line 16;
see Knohl’s disagreement
with them at 42 n.
11). Knohl’s article concludes with his current
text and translation of the inscription,
which he notes, generally follows th
e reading of Yardeni and Elizur (53).
Adela Yarbro Collins, “Response to Israel Knohl,
Messiahs and Resurrection in ‘The
Gabriel Revelation
’ ” argues, contrary to Knohl, that
there is no clear reference to the
death of the Messiah in the HG and thus that the existence of a “catastrophic” type of
messianism before Jesus’ career is doub
tful. She notes how Kn
ohl’s work uses the
disputed reading “Ephraim” mentioned above, as
well as a reading of line 80, “By three
days, live,” which Knohl has
now abandoned (see 43 n. 12).
John J. Collins, in “Gabriel and David: Some
Reflections on an Enigmatic Text,” argues
that, due to the fragmentary nature of the
text, reflected in the multiple conflicting
readings by scholars, very few of the scho
larly suggestions about the significance of the