The tablet, which is similar in style to the Dead Sea Scrolls, is written, not engraved, across two neat columns, similar to columns in a Torah. But the stone is broken, and some of the text is faded, meaning that much of what it says is open to debate.
A fragment of the Dead Sea Scrolls which set the word talking when they were discovered 60 years ago. The new text seems to imply the life and death of Jesus was predicted before his birth
But a leading scholar says it confirms his theory that some Jewish sects before Christ believed a messiah would save them - but not before he was killed and brought back to life after three days. Israel Knohl, Professor of Biblical Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, says one line of the text tells the 'prince of princes' slain by the evil government, 'in three days you shall live'. He suggests the story refers to the death of a Jewish prince called Simon who led a revolt against King Herod.
Daniel Boyarin, of the University of California at Berkeley, said that there was growing evidence suggesting that Jesus could be best understood through a close reading of the Jewish history of his day.
'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.