Jim Davila points us to an intriguing article by Israel Knohl on the “Vision of Gabriel” — a messianic Jewish text from the first century before Christ. The vision speaks of a messiah who dies, rises (“by three days”), and ascends to heaven. As always, there are those who say this shows Christianity up to be history’s most successful copycat. And there are those who marvel that the prophets were so tuned-in to what was coming. For either crowd, the “Vision of Gabriel” is a fascinating read. There’s full text (PDF) of Israel Knohl’s article here. There’s a little bit of background here.
It’s amazing to me that some folks still deny that there was much in the way of messianism before Jesus.