While it is true that the New Testament says Jesus was buried and his burial was observed it does not give us enough detail to trust this. Or if you like, it is too scant to tell us much.  It definitely does not mean that the burial was scrutinised only that others were there.  And none of the party was an independent witness. 

What if the witnesses were somehow tricked?  What if they were taken to a decoy tomb?  What if Jesus was not put in there but it was made to seem as if he was?  The data on the tomb is not very good.  It is flimsy and avoids giving any real information as to where the tomb was.  And the data has been tampered with.

One big problem is how the gospel of John has so many spices being brought to bury Jesus that he would have been invisible under a mound of them. 

This contradicts the women coming with spices on Sunday morning to finish the funeral respects.

The women are the only real basis for holding there was a tomb and that Jesus may have been buried in it.  But that is ruined by how there are holes in their story. 

One big hole is that if Jesus' corpse went missing the tomb was going to be cordoned off as a crime scene.  It is telling that that never happened.


Did the story of the tomb come from legends?

The Satyricon by Petronius shows that the bare outlines of the Jesus tomb story was popular in folklore. A woman who lived in Ephesus and who was famed for her chastity and virtue lost her husband. She went to his tomb and would not leave and was not eating. Days went by. “The governor of the province gave orders that some robbers should be crucified near the small building where the lady was bewailing her recent loss. So on the next night, when the soldier who was watching the crosses, to prevent anybody taking down a body for burial, observed a light shining plainly among the tombs.” He goes to the tomb and finds her and thinks it is “as if he seen a portent or some ghost from the world beneath”. He feels sorry for her and talks to her and days later she starts eating again inspired by the support she has received.

Like Mary at Jesus' tomb in despair we have this.

We have crucifixions taking place as some kind of sacrifice.

Interestingly it rules out crucifixion victims being buried!

A soldier thinks she is a spirit when he finds her in the tomb.

Like the Pilate story, there is even a governor involved!

The two witnesses in the Book of Revelation who are killed in Jerusalem and left unburied and rise in three and a half days are interesting in that we have an account where there is no problem with two figures who did bigger miracles than Jesus being dumped and still rising again. It reads as if Revelation means it literally but what if there is another layer? What if the author gave us that information about them simply because the same thing happened to Jesus? He is definitely, at the back of his mind, thinking of Jesus who supposedly rose after three days after being martyred.
Revelation shows that people might not be buried even in Jerusalem which you would expect to be very particular about that sort of thing.
From the internet:
Take Luke's account. There are 5 clear instances in Luke's Gospel.

Luke 23:53

In Luke 23:53, it says that Jesus was placed in a tomb "where no-one had ever yet been laid". Just to make sure that nobody could argue that people stole Jesus's body, some scribes added the words "and he rolled a great stone before the door of the tomb". No less a manuscript than Codex Bezae was altered to add "and having placed him there he positioned before the tomb a stone that scarcely twenty people could roll."

Luke 24:12 reads "But Peter, rising up, ran to the tomb; and stooping down he saw the linen cloths alone, and he returned home marvelling at what had happened."
This was just after Luke writes that the disciples did not believe the women, whose words seemed nonsense to them.
This verse is missing from Codex Bezae and some other manuscripts. The text varies in other manuscripts. Why would this verse be dropped from Codex Bezae by a scribe, especially given the reluctance of scribes to delete anything from the text? There are far more than insertions than deletions, especially in the Codex Bezae, which is notorious for adding stuff. Was this verse added by a scribe so that it could be shown that somebody found the witnesses to the resurrection to be credible? If it was not added, then some scribes must have chosen to delete it. Why on earth would they do that? The verse is very similar to Peter's rushing to the tomb in John 20:3-10.
The word for the linen cloths in Luke 24:12 (othonia) is not the word that Luke has just used in Luke 23:53. (sindoni)

This one verse (Luke 24:12) has 3 words or phrases used nowhere else in Luke or Acts. It also uses an "historic present", which Luke shuns elsewhere, - for example of the 93 historic presents in the Markan verses that Luke used, no less than 92 were changed by him. By this, I mean that Luke uses 'he sees', when everything else in Chapter 24 is in the past tense. Notice that the NIV translates that as 'he saw'. Even they recognise that writers do not suddenly change tense for no good reason. Luke 24:12 uses words for 'stooping down', 'the linen clothes', 'went away home' , which are never used elsewhere in Luke or Acts.

Exactly those words in Luke 24:12 which are not otherwise in Luke-Acts are in John 20, with John 20:5, being very close indeed. Clearly, a scribe has added in the verse. It is missing from important manuscripts, it has many non-Lukan features, but features which resemble John's Gospel and it is impossible to see why a scribe would ever have wanted to delete the verse.

Codex Bezae does not include Luke 24:40 - "having said this, he showed them his hands and feet". Either some scribe added this verse, or some scribe dropped it. It is hard to see why any scribe would drop the verse. It is easy to see why a scribe would add the verse, basing it on John 20:20. He would have had to alter it as John 20:20 mentions 'hands and side' and there was no spear-thrust in Luke's Gospel, but that would only be a small change. It would all help to show that the Gospels "recorded" a physical resurrection.

In Luke 24:3, Codex Bezae and most of the Old Latin texts do not have the phrase "the Lord Jesus" in "they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus." Clearly, the phrase "the Lord Jesus" was added by a scribe to make sure that the Gospels recorded that the women went to the right tomb. The phrase "the Lord Jesus" only occurs in the Gospels here and in Mark 16:19 (another addition by a scribe!) and it is hard to see why the phrase would have been dropped if it were original to Luke's Gospel.

Luke 24:6
In Luke 24:6, Codex Bezae and most of the Old Latin texts do not have the phrase "He is not here, but has been raised". Clearly, this phrase was added by a scribe to make sure that the women knew that Jesus had been raised. It is hard to see why the phrase would have been dropped if it were original to Luke's Gospel.

We have clear evidence that Christians tampered with the text of the Gospels to make them better evidence for the Resurrection. How much tampering went on that we don't have evidence of? They would not have tampered unless there were reasons to think that trickery had in fact happened.
My comment on all that is that there were problems with the burial story.

Jesus being a hated capital criminal was more likely than anyone to be just thrown into a pit. 

These examples do not show that Jesus might have been buried and/or being buried in honour.

The Giv’at ha-Mivtar crucifixion near Jerusalem corpse was buried yes but we know nothing of the circumstances. Was he stolen? Did the Romans make a mistake in nailing him and then let him get buried? The latter would imply a legal case. Jesus could not be just buried on anybody’s command as the matter was inflammatory so weeks of deliberation would have preceded a burial or a secret burial would have been permitted.

Philo writes of crucified bodies being taken down from crosses in Egypt and given to the families. That was Egypt and these people were not like the unique Jesus who created unique issues.

Cicero spoke of bodies being given to the families for a fee but this was in 70 BC and happened in Sicily.

The Emperor could give bodies back. Augustus was known to have done it but he was the Emperor. It does not help with our questions regarding the alleged burial of Jesus.

The notion that Israel celebrated deliverance from domination at the time of the Passover so Pilate had to let Jesus be buried to avoid unrest among the Jews is nonsense. Why an obscure burial? There is no hint that he had any such fear. If he had he would have postponed Jesus’ crucifixion.

Joshua 10:25 to 27 has Joshua saying that the Lord will not forsake him and his people and counsels courage. He then puts kings to death and their bodies are stuck up on poles to hang until the evening. At sunset he orders that they be removed from the poles and buried in a cave and the cave is closed with rocks being rolled into place. This could have suggested the bare bones of the crucifixion story where Jesus is on a cross, needs to be removed before evening and put into a tomb sealed with a rock.


There were "legends" and "histories" with strange stories about tombs.  And alterations to the New Testament to copper-fasten the "evidence" for Jesus having risen bodily from the dead were happening.  We have no right to insist Jesus was really buried in the tomb for there was no watertight supervision.  We are told that the resurrection of Jesus has explanatory scope for all the New Testament data.  In fact there is much data missing.  Things you need detail on are written in too general way.  You would not say that Peter turned Satanist and raised Jesus with magic for that is finding a person guilty of evil based on gaps in the data.  So you cannot say it is okay to use the data to say it was God raised him.  That is cheating.

Why is it you only consider something in history to be a miracle when somebody says it is? What if we had a New Testament that merely said Jesus was taken down from the cross and buried and then jumps to him being alive after? We would just leave it at that. Belief in the resurrection of Jesus is not belief in the resurrection but choosing to go along with what somebody says about it. It is not about Jesus then in that respect.

Lourdes etc
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