Eldad Keynan on Jesus’ Burials

Eldad Keynan has a new article on the Bible and Interpretation site, about the burials of Jesus. While my book is about The Burial of Jesus in the singular, it does discuss the possibility that there could have been more than one. And my use of the plural in reference to Keynan's article is intentional, and accurate. Keynan suggests that the Gospel of John's depiction of the disciples' initial reaction, assuming that the body had been moved, was correct.

I agree with Keynan about the first burial. Joseph of Arimathea, on behalf of the Jewish ruling council, arranged for Jesus' burial in the Sanhedrin's tomb for the burial of criminals, which is today the site of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

But as I ask in my book, who would have moved the body to another tomb within the next day or so, and why? I can envisage the disciples wanting to do so, and even trying to do so, to undo the dishonorable burial of Jesus. But the New Testament texts do not give me the impression that they succeeded. And I don't see any clear motive for anyone else to move his body.

Eldad is a friend, and I appreciate his article, and I agree with him about the character of the burial of Jesus after being taken down from the cross. What happened after that is hard to reconstruct, and with respect to some things, we simply do not have the historical evidence we would need in order to reconstruct what happened.

 

  • Jerome

    “But as I ask in my book, who would have moved the body to another tomb within the next day or so, and why? ” > Joseph of Arimathea and his people. They put Jesus’ corpse in a more or less random tomb that happened to be NEAR and that happened to be EMPTY (and NOT because it was JoA’s tomb) since Passover was approaching rapidly (see John 19:41-42!). Then, first thing after the Sabbath was over (during the night from Saturday to Sunday) they returned to that tomb and moved it to the permanent tomb. That’s why Mary Magdalene found it empty on Sunday morning and said that she didn’t know where they (the people the women had seen moving Jeuss body in Luke 23:55) had laid him since she, a lower class woman from Galilee, didn’t know who JoA was and how to contact him.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      Having placed Jesus in the tomb for executed criminals, why would the Jewish authorities then move his body elsewhere?

      • Jerome

        Who said it was the ‘tomb for executed criminals’? According to John 19:41-42 it was a NEW tomb (one where ‘no one had ever been laid’) and ‘they’ put Jesus’ corpse in it because this tomb happened to be *near* and because they were in a hurry (because of *Passover*). But JoA (or whomever) wanted to give him a decent burial after all and therefore had the corpse removed as soon as the Sabbath had ended and brought to his definitive resting place (wherever that was).

        (personally I think there was no actual empty tomb, Jesus having been ditched in a mass grave or having been let hanging on the cross to rot – the discipled returned to Galilee, crushed, where then one of them interpreted the defeat as a victory, with Jesus having ‘spiritually risen’ > why would you need a corpse for this?; later followers misunderstood as Jesus having physically been raised hence there was a need for an empty tomb etc; but even Paul hadn’t subscribed to that view yet, he too was talking about a NEW, spiritual ‘body’)

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

          The later Gospels all seek to improve on Jesus’ burial, with John going the furthest in having a mountain of spices used, where Mark’s Gospel indicates (through the woman who “anointed Jesus beforehand for burial” and the women who go to do so early Sunday morning) that Jesus was not so anointed. The Gospel of Mark, and the characteristics of the tombs in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, point in this direction. See, in addition to my little book on the topic, Byron McCane’s article which is available online, as well as things written by Raymond Brown and Craig Evans which draw the same conclusion.

          • Jerome

            Ok, fair enough. He might have been put in the tomb for criminals then. Seems I have to reread your book on the subject again as well.

            Still, I like ‘my’ explanation as to what happened IF there had been an empty tomb ;)

        • Nick Gotts

          personally I think there was no actual empty tomb, Jesus having been
          ditched in a mass grave or having been let hanging on the cross to rot

          I think the McCane article (I haven’t read James McGrath’s book) argues quite convincingly against that: the Romans were on the whole not keen to stir up Jewish religious outrage, which leaving a body on the cross to rot or denying it proper burial would have done.

          • Jerome

            Ok, maybe. I’m not really an expert on how the Romans dealt with crucified Jews …

  • http://lotharson.wordpress.com/ Lothars Sohn

    Hello James, thanks for this very interesting post!

    Apparently, you seem to be agnostic about the bodily resurrection.

    Whilst I disagree with many of his conservative beliefs, I think William Lane Craig is right when he says that the description of the honorary burial and the discovery of the empty tomb form an literary unit.

    And if you accept that, the resurrection seems to be a pretty good explanation of all data, provided your worldview allows this to happen, of course.

    Lothars Sohn – Lothar’s son

    http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com

    • Nick Gotts

      No, the alleged resurrection really doesn’t provide a pretty good explanation of all data, because all data tells us that dead people don’t become undead again. None of the gospels were written less than decades after the supposed events, none of them can be shown to have been written by witnesses of those events, and they contradict each other at numerous points. You wouldn’t get a conviction for a parking offense on evidence of that quality in any well-conducted court, “literary unit” or not.

      I doubt that hypotheses of the body being moved are necessary. Byron R. McCane (a Christian) argues that (as James McGrath and Eldad Keynan agree) Jesus was given a “shameful burial”. He suggests that Joseph of Arimathea – who, be it noted, appears to perform this one role and promptly vanishes again – was a member of the Sanhedrin, not a follower of Jesus, but who wanted the corpse buried before the Sabbath, as prescribed by Jewish law. He concludes that:

      Certainly few–if any–of Jesus’ followers directly witnessed his death and burial, and the glamorized Christian stories of his interment cannot be trusted to describe wie es eigentlich war.

      The simplest explanation of the empty tomb (this is my suggestion, not McCane’s – I don’t know if others have made it before) is that the women who came to dress the body went to the wrong tomb, and it was empty because no body had been put in it: they were Galileans, unfamiliar with Jerusalem, and if they saw the burial at all it would have been from a distance and in a highly emotional state.

      • http://lotharson.wordpress.com/ Lothars Sohn

        Hello Nick, thanks for your challenging response!

        First of all, I meant that if you’re a theist, and you consider all data about Jesus life, then it seems (at least to me) likely that God raised him from the dead.

        Of course, if you examine this from an agnostic or atheistic point of view, you won’t come up with such a conclusion, I completely agree with that.

        It is important to notice that Mc Cane’s views are far from being the only game in town, and that there are other theories out there.

        Actually, I believe that oftentimes both conservative and liberal scholars go beyond the data when they say that such and such details were historical or non-historical in situations where one cannot know.

        These stories are not merely parts of the gospels but also of oral traditions predating them, and McCane has no more right to assert they cannot be trusted than William Lane Craig to claim the contrary was the case.

        Your speculations about the empty tomb are interesting, and this seems to be a better explanation about the origin of Christianity than theories denying its existence altogether.

        Certainly, due to the scarce data we dispose of, we cannot verify if it was the case or not.

        But we are left wondering why the followers of many other so-called failed messiah didn’t develop the belief that their hero rose from the dead if this type of mistake and delusion was common.

        Lothars Sohn – Lothar’s son

        http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com

        • Nick Gotts

          There are a lot of theists – Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Bahais, Zoroastrians, etc. – and indeed, many who describe themselves as Christians – who don’t believe in the resurrection. Most of those who do, don’t do so because they have studied the matter, but because that’s what they’ve been told by their parents andor religious authorities. The point is, the evidence for it is grossly inadequate in relation to the extravagance of the claim.

          McCane has no more right to assert they cannot be trusted than William Lane Craig to claim the contrary was the case.

          Yes, he does, if only because they contradict each other at so many points, so we know at most one can be free of error. We also know that oral traditions are highly unreliable, and that charismatic figures attract myths both during their lives and after their deaths.

          But we are left wondering why the followers of many other so-called failed messiah didn’t develop the belief that their hero rose from the dead if this type of mistake and delusion was common.

          No, we’re not, in the sense of not having any plausible non-supernatural explanation. We know that visions and hallucinations of the recently dead are common among those who knew them well, and if there really was an “empty tomb”, even if the reason was an entirely mundane one, that provides an explanation for such a difference. But in fact, we also don’t know that followers of other failed messiahs didn’t develop such beliefs.

          • http://irrco.wordpress.com/ Ian

            It is an utterly common belief that messianic figures in New Religious movements are not ‘really’ dead when they die. The earliest Christian witnesses, and much of the later written material, preserves a ghostly, ‘spiritual’ resurrection mediated in visions. This is totally common.

            Some new religious movements even build landing strips for their messiah’s to use when they return from their sojourn among the stars.

            The idea that the story of Jesus’s resurrection is unique and uninventable in any way, is simply colossal ignorance of the structure of religious movements.

            Given that a) people don’t rise from the dead, b) religious believers often claim their leaders aren’t really dead, and c) the accounts of a physical resurrection are contradictory, theologically infused, at best second hand, and late — I think the presumption has to be that this didn’t happen. Starting from the place of saying that it is just as likely to be one way or the other betrays a huge depth of bias and tendentiousness.

            • http://mythicpizza.blogspot.co.uk/ Paul Regnier

              “It is an utterly common belief that messianic figures in New Religious movements are not ‘really’ dead when they die”

              I’d be interested to know a couple more NRM examples of this, though I can think of a few secular ones – Elvis, Kim Il Sung, Dirty Den in Eastenders. The site in the Mail article seems to be for UFOs, not returning messiahs.

              “It is believed that they are a ‘return point’ so members of the church know where they can find the works of founder L. Ron Hubbard when they come back from space after a nuclear catastrophe wipes out the human race.”

              Incidentally, do UFOs not have satnav?

              • http://irrco.wordpress.com/ Ian

                Hubbard (LRH)’s death was announced by current church leader David Miscavige as Hubbard voluntarily relinquishing his body to continue his research. He had previously claimed to be able to leave his body at will, and to have spent some time on the Van Allen belts (which were surprisingly warm, apparently), so this was not surprising. The site at Trementia is partly a vault for storing LRH’s writing on metal tablets to survive a nuclear war. The base, as all scientology bases, has an “LRH house” ready for his return at any moment which is otherwise unused (scientology churches ‘orgs’ have an office likewise prepped and ready, should LRH choose to reoccupy a body). You’re right, the landing symbols are for more than just LRH – for any immortal spirit to lock in on, LRH included.

                A couple more examples: Adi Da died in 2008, before he died he said “I will be Present then, exactly as now, not diminished. I Am Perpetually Present.” He gave instructions for how to interpret visions of himself that followers would have: telling them that hearing is voice was more important that what they heard him say, and instructing them that they should not focus on dreams to hear from him again, because he will be always present. Ras Tafari (Haile Selassie) died in 1975 following a coup. At the time many Rastas claimed he hadn’t really died, there is still a large thread of Rastafarianism that see him as either bodily still alive, or spiritually so. (There is no ‘official’ church position, because there is no ‘official’ church).

                Now, to head off the obvious criticism, every NRM with a central figure who is not ‘really’ dead, has the person be ‘undead’ in a slightly different way. Some (like Adi Da) have the individualism diminish in death much more than Christianity, others (like Scientology) have the person much more cohesive in death – LRH isn’t there when two or three are gathered, for example. The exact theology of the undead leader depends on both the pre-death theology of the movement and the manner in which the person died. A process we can see at work in our earliest Christian texts.

  • http://tunabay.com/ Keika

    And what if, a righteous Sanhedrin hears that the criminal Jesus, has been placed in the sacred resting place next to his late departed, and thus sends in the Monty Python team to remove said departed ‘Brian,’ and they remove Jesus instead?

  • Mike Kok

    It is an interesting theory, but I wonder if it would be more convincing if the Sanhedrin moved the body from the temporary resting place to a permanent one where the disciples were not aware. Otherwise, even if the body decayed beyond recognition once the disciples began proclaiming the resurrection (Luke-Acts gives a period of 40 days but there may be symbolism to the number), if the disciples knew that the remnants of the corpse or the bones were still there I would think it would disqualify their belief in the resurrection (though I suppose Tabor and Keynan would connect this to Talpiot and their argument for the earliest belief in a “spiritual resurrection” but both may be debatable). But if the disciples did not know the whereabouts of the body and the authorities neither remembered or cared to search for where they buried the body (why become ritually unclean to respond to the claims of a tiny sect), perhaps that would make this alternative explanation stronger? What do you think James?

    • Jerome

      Who says that Jesus’ disciples believed in a physical resurrection, akin to a revival of a corpse? Paul, for example, is still clearly referring to the spirit/soul being clothed in a NEW, spiritual, perfected, glorious ‘body’ in his letters. Paul also talks about the current ‘tent’ (the physical body) as going to be destroyed and about him wanting to be ‘absent from the body and with the Lord’. According to Paul the spirits of the deceased get called back from the ‘realm of the dead’ and put into these new ‘bodies’ while those alive, and only those, will have their bodies ‘changed’. Paul does not talk about corpse revival.

      • Mike Kok

        Jerome, you make a good point that there may have been a range of Jewish views of the resurrection and it comes down to exegesis of Paul and what he meant by resurrection. You may also like that Mark Finney, a lecturer I know at Sheffield, is coming out with a similar view in his “The Priority of the Soul: Construction of Afterlife in Second Temple Judaism” and “Afterlife and Resurrection in Post-Biblical Judaism and the Biblical Texts: Breaking a Consensus?” (forthcoming 2014). I just do not know how to take Paul – on the one hand you do have this language about receiving a new tent or body (soma) and “flesh (sarx) and blood” will not inherit the kingdom but on the other hand the emphasis on the burial and the metaphor of the seed seems to imply continuity between the old and new body. So would Paul just assume Jesus got a new heavenly soma regardless of what happened to the corpse or did he envision the transformation of the corpse into the heavenly soma (in which case he would expect that the body that was buried was no longer there)?

        • Jerome

          I think Paul believed the former. And this is illustrated by his (flawed) seed analogy: according to Paul the seed has to die (not true for actual seeds!) so that the ‘essence’ of the seed can be given a NEW BODY by God (1 Cor 15:38), with the ‘dead seed’, obviously, remaining in the ground. Paul also contrasts this new ‘heavenly’ body with the one made out of dust, etc. So why assume that he thought the spirits/souls of the dead would have to be transferred into their respective corpses (if they still exist! what about those that have, for example, been burned?), have those corpses revived and healed only to have these bodies THEN transformed into those ‘spiritual bodies’? That’s a huge detour if you could instead simply, as Paul says, clothe the spirits/souls of the dead with these new ‘ spiritual bodies’ immediately.

  • http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/ed_babinski/babinski-bio.html EdwardTBabinski

    The Gospels stories provide all the evidence one needs to doubt the resurrection. Not just their contradictions, but the fact that Paul, writing earlier, mentions no “tomb,” nor its “emptiness.” Nor do we know for sure where Jesus was buried to this day, since the suggested locations are disputed, and God in His wisdom wrecked Jerusalem so much that who knows which tombs were which by the time the first Gospel that mentions an “empty tomb” was written, so not much to go on there. And stories that end with bodies vanishing up to heaven, known as “translation stories,” were already in vogue concerning Rome’s own founder and the Roman emperor who died and was declared to be a divinity before Jesus’ ministry even began.

    The Book of Acts says that the resurrected Jesus was dining with his apostles and teaching them stuff for weeks on end, though such lessons didn’t survive over time in written form, and are not found in any of our Gospels. But I think I would have listened more intently to a resurrected Jesus than to the pre-crucified Jesus. Right when the story looks like it is going to get really interesting, with weeks of eating and being taught firsthand by a RESURRECTED Jesus, we get very little of that in writing, and instead it skips those weeks and goes right to the story of Jesus vanishing into the sky, with promises of a return later (two millennia later)?! Doh!

    What we are left with is a mixed up collection of “appearance” stories in the four Gospels. Jesus was first seen in Galilee per the earliest Gospel, Mark, “He has gone before you to Galilee, there ye shall see him.” Nope, He’s first seen outside the tomb by a woman per Matthew (where Jesus simply repeats the message already delivered at the tomb). Nope, he’s first seen by two non-disciples on their walk to Emmaus per Luke.

    Or Jesus is in disguise, not recognized at first, but then recognized “in the breaking of the bread,” or is then recognized on shore early one morning after a miraculous catch of fish (probably just a retelling of the miraculous catch story early in Luke but retold as a post-resurrection miracle in John 21). Or, Jesus appears suddenly in a room, takes a quick stroll out of Jerusalem to Bethany, and rises up into the clouds and disappears, poof, gone. It’s like trying to find a really reliable description of a Bigfoot sighting or Elvis.

    When I said, “quick stroll,” I was thinking of the story in the Gospel of Luke about the resurrected Jesus eating fish, insisting he’s not a spirit, then he “led them out to Bethany,” without any mention of shouts of Hosanna or palms waving, though what better time to do so? So he walks through Jerusalem to a nearby mount, and rises up to heaven in the sight of some apostles per Luke-Acts. Pretty quiet victory lap. Almost like nothing really happened at all.

    And per Acts they didn’t begin preaching “the resurrection of Jesus” until seven weeks had already passed, and who knows if even the “seven weeks” description is true when it might have been longer than that?

    • http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/ed_babinski/babinski-bio.html EdwardTBabinski

      And if you don’t believe all that, you’re blinded by ego, and/or demons and Satan, and damned for eternity.

      Christianity’s built in damage control mechanism thus helps dissuade doubts, since so many Christians have imagined for so long that anything that causes a Christian to doubt that story is merely an indication it is their own heretically hardened, blasphemously blemished, eternally damn-worthy hearts (and/or Satan) causing them to doubt it.

    • Eldad Keynan

      Hi all, and thanks, James. All the questions here are good and intriguing. To Jerome’s reference to John’s “new tomb” etc. It’s a well known historical fact that the Romans did not allow provincials to execute death penalties. The Romans conquered Palestine in 63 BCE. That is: in 30-33 CE it’s almost a century that the Jewish legal system did not use the tombs under its control (Mishna Sanhedrin, 6:5-6). So the tomb could well be depicted “a new tomb” by John, or any other local who lived in the relevant time.

      To James question: “Having placed Jesus in the tomb for executed criminals, why would the Jewish authorities then move his body elsewhere?”

      If we are discussing the formal Jewish authority named “Sanhedrin” – well, this body had no FORMAL interest to move the body to another tombgrave. On the contrary, according to Jewish law the Sanhedrin was obliged to keep the body (any executed felon’s body) under its control for the next year. Joseph Arimathea, although he was a Sanhedrin member, was also a secret follower of Jesus. Thus he had the legal access to the tomb, which he did when he buried the body on Friday afternoon. Yet he also had a motive to move the body to another tomb, so as to avoid the disgrace resulted from the situation of his master’s body in the felons’ tomb. The access, combined with the motive, produced what we call today “the Empty Tomb”.

      Whether or not the other tomb was indeed the tomb known as “the Talpiot Tomb” seems to be the next discussion. .

  • eldadkeynan

    Hi all, and thanks, James. All the questions here are good and intriguing. To Jerome’s reference to John’s “new tomb” etc. It’s a well known historical fact that the Romans did not allow provincials to execute death penalties. The Romans conquered Palestine in 63 BCE. That is: in 30-33 CE it’s almost a century that the Jewish legal system did not use the tombs under its control (Mishna Sanhedrin, 6:5-6). So the tomb could well be depicted “a new tomb” by John, or any other local who lived in the relevant time.

    To James question: “Having placed Jesus in the tomb for executed criminals, why would the Jewish authorities then move his body elsewhere?”

    If we are discussing the formal Jewish authority named “Sanhedrin” – well, this body had no FORMAL interest to move the body to another tombgrave. On the contrary, according to Jewish law the Sanhedrin was obliged to keep the body (any executed felon’s body) under its control for the next year. Joseph Arimathea, although he was a Sanhedrin member, was also a secret follower of Jesus. Thus he had the legal access to the tomb, which he did when he buried the body on Friday afternoon. Yet he also had a motive to move the body to another tomb, so as to avoid the disgrace resulted from the situation of his master’s body in the felons’ tomb. The access, combined with the motive, produced what we call today “the Empty Tomb”.

    Whether or not the other tomb was indeed the tomb known as “the Talpiot Tomb” seems to be the next discussion. .

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      Thanks for your comment, Eldad, and for your article. I am not persuaded that the later tradition about Joseph being a secret disciple is historically reliable. It turns up in Matthew and John, but not in Mark and Luke, within the New Testament.

      • eldadkeynan

        Hi James,

        I really want to reply, but the entire page is now different and I can not put my reply on it.

        Eldad

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

          Hi Eldad. I’m not sure what sort of technical issue you are encountering, but I would try using a different browser and see if that helps.

  • eldadkeynan

    James. We all know that the NT reports do not completely match each other. A simple fact shows this problem: the genealogical lists. They occur only in two gospels, not in the others, and they don’t match each other. Another problem? Well, if we take the basics of Christianity at face value, we are supposed to believe that John baptized Jesus. Yet why would Jesus, God’s child, need a baptism in the first place? Wasn’t he born pure, “sin free”? Theology can explain anything. History can not, but may offer reasonable reconstructions. Thus if we didn’t have any info regarding Joseph Arimathea, we would suggest that “someone” moved the body from the Sanhedrin’s tomb to another. One might say: the NT reports regarding JA are not consistent. That’s true; yet all of them connect him to the entire process of Jesus’ burial. Let me ask you: no one debates the NT reports according to which JA removed the body from the cross and gave it initial, proper burial. Why can’t we doubt these reports? What motive did he have to do what WE do not debate? If the answer is: “he was a Sanhedrin member and therefore responsible for executed felons’ burial”, then I would ask: can we prove that? All we know is that he did it. A secret follower, or just “a follower” seems quite reasonable. One may contend: his disciples took the body away. Sure – they did have a motive. Can we positively exclude JA? I don’t think so. The Empty Tomb is a corner stone indeed, theologically and historically. The fact that the subject is under discussion has its own value. I wish this debate will continue.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      I’m not sure that we can positively exclude him. But the situation remains that we would expect the Sanhedrin to ensure Jesus’ burial in accordance with the Torah. In the Gospel of Mark, our earliest account mentioning him, he is simply depicted as a righteous member of the Sanhedrin, and as giving Jesus the legally required burial, but a dishonorable one in a grave for criminals, without anointing and other things that his disciples wished they could have done. It is only later Gospels that turn Joseph of Arimathea into a disciple, and those Gospels also take significant liberty with the details of the story. And so I would prefer our earliest source on this, and suspect the others of having made theologically-motivated and devotionally-motivated changes to the story.

      Obviously this is not “proven.” But that is not surprising given that we are dealing with history and not mathematics. But it seems to me preferable to follow the embarrassing earlier version to the “improved” version later sources offer.

      • eldadkeynan

        No doubt, Jesus’ initial burial was completely according to Jewish law and custom, including the “shameful burial”, as Prof. McCane put it already in 1998. You say: ” . . .without anointing and other things that his disciples wished they could have done”. Well – it was not their duty. Only family members could and would do that. I agree: we don’t know for sure that Joseph was a disciple – it’s not even written anywhere. I’m sorry. But he could well be a follower, one among a few thousands then. We can put it this way: who would, and did, have any interest or motive to take the body away from the Sanhedrin’s tomb? There was such a man, unless we take the resurrection at its written face value. I offer Joseph.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

          I’m basically an agnostic on what happened to the body. Could a small number of disciples have moved the body without the rest of the group knowing? It is possible, but we don’t have the evidence needed to say it is likely. Could a group of disciples have tried to move the body, and been caught and killed, and all their bodies as well as the one they had stolen then dumped elsewhere? Again, yes. There are lots of things one could imagine. But the sources we have reflect people who were making sense of a missing body, and who initially assumed, as a historian today would, that it had been moved, but without it being clear by whom or where. I don’t think that historians can fill in those gaps, barring the discovery of new evidence.

          • eldadkeynan

            No one can completely reject your suggestions, James. All make sense. Still, we have simply no evidence to support them. Not even a hint. Joseph’s part in the burial we do accept is generally not debated, when we follow the NT. In fact – we don’t have any reason to question this part. Let me put it this way: we have the Talpiot Tomb ossuary inscribed Yeshua bar Yehosef. We know that Jewish tombs were familial; in this tomb we have also two names of Jesus’ family members: Mariah and Yoseh. We also know now that the ossuary named James’ Ossuary came from the same tomb (I assume you’ve read the lab reports). Thus we have most of what we call “the Holy Family” in one and the same tomb. That is: someone did move the body from the Sanhedrin’s tomb to another, private one. What we miss, following the problems you point at, is the mover identity. Well, maybe THIS question will never be answered.

            • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

              Well, as you know, I am not persuaded that the Talpiot tomb is that of Jesus and other people mentioned in the New Testament. But I am open to considering a case which explains how these individuals ended up there, and yet the stories that mention them manage to cover up this fact so effectively. Thus far I have not found the case for this persuasive.


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