Worship at the sacred Jerusalem Temple had become corrupt, with seemingly little hope for reform.
A group of devoted Jews removed themselves from the mainstream and began a monastic life in the Judean desert.
'Some Christians will find it shocking - a challenge to the uniqueness of their theology, while others will be comforted by the idea of it being a traditional part of Judaism,' he said.
But Christian scholars dispute any contention that the tablet, which is in a private collection, could dilute the significance of Jesus's resurrection.
It’s that time of year again when many Christians encounter claims that pagan deities predating Jesus Christ were born on December 25.
In popular films, Internet videos, and other media you can find long lists of gods who were supposedly born on the same day. I have heard many Christians claim that the date of Christmas was intended to provide an alternative to pagan celebrations. On the other hand, some Fundamentalist denominations refuse to celebrate Christmas for this reason.
Some of the messages we've presented have taken the position that Christians can apply their faith in such a way that they can still work within the system they've inherited.
Other messages have stressed that Christians need to be much more counter-cultural.
We often hear complaints from readers about the confusion, hurt and sexual sin they've encountered despite their best intentions.
Eventually the feast was extended to last an entire week, ending on December 23.
The supposed connection to Christmas is based on the proximity of the two festivals to each other. In his article It has been suggested that Christians in the 4th Century assigned December 25th as Christ's birthday (and hence Christmas) because pagans already observed this day as a holiday.
The partially-deciphered Ancient Hebrew text had seemed to contain a vision of the apocalypse as told by the Angel Gabriel.
A fragment of the Dead Sea Scrolls which set the word talking when they were discovered 60 years ago.
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A fresh interpretation of a stone tablet dated to the decades before Jesus's birth could undermine some fundamentals of the Christian faith, experts claim.