The gospels tell us that when Jesus was buried after his cruel death by crucifixion in a tomb which was the property of a rich man that a stone was rolled across the door. We are told in one Gospel only that the tomb was guarded against thieves but an angel appeared and made the guards faint. All the gospels say that in the morning, women came to attend to the corpse and found the tomb opened and Jesus gone. They testified that an angel told them that Jesus rose and they said they saw Jesus raised from the dead.
The Church says that women were said to have found the tomb empty and seen the risen Jesus and since women were not regarded as valid witnesses their story must be true and the gospels did not simply make their testimony up.

According to John 20, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb and found it open and Jesus' body was gone.  She told two men in white inside the tomb that some they had taken the body.  Mary said to those supposed angels, "they have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him" (John 20:2).  How does she know he was laid somewhere as if he were reburied?  Why not just say the Lord has been removed from his tomb and we don't know where he is?  Why is she specific?

She told that to Jesus as well when he mistook him for the gardener.  She was very sure and the fact remains we don't know if she was witnessing to knowing somebody took the body or if she was assuming.  It was more than just assuming when she said it to two angelic beings if that is what the men in white were.  And Jesus did not let her touch him so she had no way of being sure if it was just a vision or had anything to do with the body coming back to life.

We are told that the women must have been there for they were no good for anything else.  But the gospels say they were there to respect Jesus and as the gospels say the disciples were in hiding who else was going to go to the tomb?  There was reason to invent the story.  The disciples had to be distanced a little from the tomb lest people would say they robbed the tomb of Jesus' body.  Matthew says the Jews blamed them.

The most obvious flaw in what the Church says is that first of all, this female testimony does not exist. Somebody reporting what the women said is not the testimony of the women.  It is rather the testimony of the persons saying the women said this!  It is the testimony of male writers.  The gospels speak of the women and what they said as part of the story. They say nothing concerning the validity of taking what the women said as testimony. And the women certainly only told a story, they did not make an official or legal statement out of it. The gospels do not treat them as witnesses but as gossips. If they did not they would say the women were in the function of true witnesses. If the local liar tells you the house is on fire, you will check it out just in case. It does not mean you considered him to be a viable witness.

The Church says the women seeing angels and Jesus is convincing for they did not expect to see anything out of the ordinary.  Psychology says that we must treat visions with suspicion if the witnesses expected something to happen.  We are told that the women were going to anoint the Jesus corpse indicating that finding Jesus alive would be the last thing on their minds. But taking oils to anoint a risen Jesus makes sense for they would have thought he would be like he was when the girl wiped oil on his feet.  The argument is pure thin air.

Women could be legal witnesses but only if there were no men. Maybe that was down to sexism or down to the thought that women had homes to run. The women at the tomb were not legal witnesses so any arguments from case law at the time are just tricks and irrelevant. Historians like Josephus used female testimony. Jesus took the woman's word for it many times in the gospels. The gospels depend on women for information not just with the resurrection so the female testimony for it is nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing in the resurrection accounts mentions a healed and glorious risen Jesus. Resurrection is about a transformation in to a better and eternal existence. Paul even has a Jesus who is more like a wraith. The gospel version is of a Jesus who is just different but that is neither here or there. Resurrection is distinguished from resuscitation. But the two are compatible. The women are only useful if you want to say the disciples were not there the body was found missing. That is too bare on its own so they need to say they seen Jesus. They only testify to seeing Jesus but that is not the same as them being able to witness that he was resurrected.

Christians make a big deal about saying that women were the witnesses to the resurrected Jesus. They say that if the gospel story was invented the women would not be mentioned as witnesses at all. But this overlooks the fact that the gospels are doing the witnessing so it does not matter.  Somebody witnessing to what women said does not make women witnesses - it does the contrary.  The women are there as part of the story not as witnesses.  The gospels do not care why the tomb was empty so it was not considered a sign.  Thus there is no reason to think that the women were meant to witness to it.  The Christians oddly say that people writing about the women makes the women witnesses but that could be said of the angels.  In fact the witnesses were the angels who said Jesus rose!!  They are better as witnesses though the only problem is they never say how they know he rose.  Do the gospels worry more about the angels and give the best witness to them than to the resurrection of Jesus?  Strangely enough they do!  There is more detail about the angels and so what we have is a side issue the witnessing of the angels and then the angels essentially being made the witnesses.
It is lies and stupidity all the time when the Church is involved in anything.  And often it is shameless lies.
The story of the women would have had to have been invented because if it had been men people would be more likely to believe that the men stole the body. It was a thing that men would have been expected to do.  Even if women were bad witnesses the gospellers would have had to invent their presence at the tomb.

The John Gospel says that the Samaritan woman was regarded as a valid witness for Jesus among the Samaritans who were just as sexist as the Jews (John 4:39). The Mishna says women can be witnesses under certain circumstances like when there are no men ones (Yebamoth 16:17; Ketuboth 2:5; Eduyoth 3:6). The Old Testament speaks of women like Deborah and Ruth and Esther who were valid and trusted witnesses so only heretical Jews comprising a minority among the Sadducees who regarded the Torah alone as scripture could have disparaged female testimony. It is simply a lie that the anomaly of women being witnesses means the story is true. Moreover, the story does not present them as legal witnesses at all and it was the tradition law that had reservations about women but not all agreed. Jesus himself said that women are forbidden to divorce their husbands indicating that they were considered to be valid witnesses by many and he was certainly saying that the word of a woman was valid here. The laws that are supposed to ban female witnesses are really against women being used as witnesses when male witnesses would do but with male witnesses they are okay.

Josephus used female testimony when he was putting together a historical account relating to massacres. He used two women's accounts to explain what happened at Masada.
The Church answers that he had no choice. There was no other testimony available for they were the sole survivors. So it says he cannot be used as proof that women were accepted as witnesses.
But the fact remains that they were.

It is indeed true that the Masada women were the sole survivors which was why Josephus respected and utilised this testimony but if you look at the gospels could it be that their treatment of the female testimony shows that it was the only real testimony? Were the male witnesses lied about or was that testimony so incoherent that it was not testimony at all thus driving the gospels back to dependence on the women?
Maybe there are other historians whose work is lost who did use female testimony along with men's?
The Church wants to protect its argument that the gospel reliance on women's testimony is so unusual that the women really did see the empty tomb and the angels and maybe Jesus. But that presupposes that the gospels could have used male testimony only but did not.

There is no evidence whatsoever apart from testimony, that is refuted by Paul who did not need the empty tomb in his system but who in listing the evidence for the resurrection denied the testimony of the women by omitting them, that there was an empty tomb.

The testimony of women then was considered to be better than Christians would have you think (Historical Evidence and the Empty Tomb Story, A Reply to William Lane Craig, Jeffrey Jay Lowder). The gospels were written for Jews in a Gentile culture that regarded women highly and even as potential goddesses. The gospels were chiefly written for the Gentiles therefore the authors could not have had a problem inventing women witnesses.

We conclude that as men are in the empty tomb story and involved with the apparitions that we cannot assume that this means the gospels validated women as witnesses.  A woman who is believed as long as a man backs her up is not regarded as a valid witness.  We cannot say the women show the gospels might be true and not mere inventions.

Lourdes etc
Free Books