Dare I ask in what other ways the New Testament authors might have sought to “make atonement” in their telling of their stories for the disappointing outcomes and their own failures in historical reality? How should we view such actions on their part? If in the end we were to conclude that, in a sense, they were the ones who “made atonement”, would that make the power of the phenomenon of Christianity seem any less?
I watched the movie Atonement last night, and couldn’t help thinking about the New Testament authors. Did the Gospel authors seek to make “atonement” for their failures much as the author in the film did? Certainly this seems to be the case in the stories of Jesus’ burial, where his burial gets more and more honorable as one follows through the canonical Gospels.
If there is something that puzzles me, it is why they felt the need to do that even when they already had a tradition that God had undone Jesus’ burial altogether. Did the traditions improving on the burial story develop independently of the story of the empty tomb? Or was it simply that in a society where nothing done subsequently could fully counteract the shame of a dishonorable burial?