Date: Tue, 27 Jan 1998 10:34:25 -0500
To: Stevan Davies 
Subject: Re: Crucifixion Protocols

On Mon, 26 Jan 1998, Stevan Davies wrote:

> > >This sounds plausible > >until one recalls that there were others who
> were crucified with Jesus & > >no mention of any attempt to reclaim
> their corpses. Hence, Crossan's > >conclusion: Jesus' corpse was
> probably not buried. 
> I believe that this is an invalid argument from silence. We hear 
> nothing of any attempt to reclaim their corpses. We have no reason to 
> think that our texts had the slightest interest in discussing the 
> matter. Therefore no conclusion follows. But certainly not, therefore
> Crossan's conclusion follows.


I agree that if Crossan only bases his conclusion as Mahlon seemed to
indicate, such an argument would be weak. But there're also other
arguments to the same effect that he probably also brings in? 


> The scenario: the body was placed in a tomb temporarily
> because it could not be that a corpse would be left hanging on 
> that day.

I don't find this scenario likely.

> The corpse was removed as soon as possible to an unknown location.

My feeling is that the corpse was buried in the common burial ground for
criminals, probably in a mass grave.

> Jesus' followers came to the tomb and OH MY GOD! it was empty!
> makes pretty good sense to me.

Not to me. The tomb burial makes little historical sense for a number of

First of all, our 4 accounts in the 4 gospels, while all based on Mk's
story, disagree with each other in important details. The big question is
Whose tomb? The tomb just happenned to be ready? 

The location of the tomb is in doubt. Tomb "hewn out of a rock" sounds
quite mythological, and is based on Isaiah 22:16, and possibly 33:16,
which is as good indication as any that it constitutes later pious

There was absolutely no time as the Sabbath eve was approaching to put
together all these arrangements. Getting the permission for a private
burial, AND finding a tomb, AND purchasing the linens, AND taking the body
to the tomb? (Jn has also the embalming that would have taken many hours!)
All this in maybe a couple of hours? Can you really consider such an
account as historical, Steve?

> > I also believe that the comments at the end of GMatthew -
> > where the evangelists says that even in his days (probably
> > in the 80ies) the Jews claim that Jesus followers stole his
> > body from the tomb -  may have something to it.
> This is a strong point.

I don't think so.

> Matthew thinks anti-Xian Jews agree that the 
> body was in a tomb.

There probably was a controversy about this at a later stage AFTER the
tomb burial story was created. Rabbinical accusation of "disciples
stealing the body" would have been quite natural as an attempt to
discredit this story. The reality of the story itself is quite irrelevant
in this.

> The argument is then, what happened to it.
> We do have some sort of confirmatory evidence here.

This controversy probably was happening a hundred years later with neither
party knowing anything about the real events. 

The most natural and logical course of events would have been. The guy
gets crucified as a criminal along with other criminals. The disciples run
away in terror. They get out of town in a hurry and flee back to Galilee.
Meanwhile, the body is buried in a mass grave. Nobody was there to witness
the burial or even to mark the spot. As soon as the apparitions are seen
by disciples, the story emerges that Jesus was in fact alive -- raised
from the dead right after he died on the Cross. At that point, nobody even
cared what happened to the body, since Jesus was already up in Heaven
anyway, and the body was simply a discarded vessel. The disciples would
not have been inclined to dwell on, and to explain their original panicked
response in any case.

The key distinction here is between the concepts of the _spiritual
resurrection_ and the _material resurrection_. A lot of evidence indicates
that the material resurrection was not the early faith. The spiritual
resurrection in glory at the moment of death would have been the early
faith. When at a later stage the concept of the material resurrection
became more popular among the believers, the tomb stories emerged.

And don't forget Jonah and his 3 days in the belly of the beast parallels. 
This story appears to have had intricate links with the material
resurrection story at an early stage of its creation, but then these links
were abandoned since 3 days in the tomb could not be squared with it
chronologically. Loisy writes about all this in detail. 

Best wishes,
Yuri Kuchinsky in Toronto -=O=-  
The goal proposed by Cynic philosophy is apathy, which is
equivalent to becoming God -=O=- Julian

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