The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife: The Documentary and The Text

I just watched the Smithsonian program, “The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife.” I thought it was truly well done. Much of it was about an alternative image of Mary Magdalene, and thus implicitly of the role of women in earliest Christianity, as reflected in our recently discovered non-canonical gospels (Gospel of Mary, various Nag Hammadi texts). We carefully survey these sources in our book, The Jesus Discovery, based on the fine work pioneered by many scholars such as Jane Schaberg, Karen King, Elaine Pagels, Ann Graham Brock, and others. Much of the program’s emphasis was on the role of women in the earliest Jesus movement and whether the so-called “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” (GJW) is a forgery or not, the main points stand up well. I am pleased to see such a quality presentation of this neglected side Christian origins put before the public as an alternative view.

Screen Shot 2014-05-06 at 11.31.04 PMFor those who have not kept up with the plethora of “blogs” on the subject Mark Goodacre offers a nice summary of the main links and Laurie Goodstein wrote a very fine summary of the controversy in Sunday’s New York Times, see here.

I plan to weigh in on the “forgery” question later this week but for now I just wanted to say that the current triumphantly/sarcastic (Jesus’ ugly sister, et al) “pile on” mood on the part of some of the critics touting “forgery” is in my view greatly premature and quite a few very key issues have been skirted over (pun intended!). I am surprised that some of the most basic issues presented in the materials on this text that were released last month by HTR are not really being addressed by the critics. I also trust Roger Bagnall’s good eye and his experience and sense of judgment in these matters. I am also not convinced that the fragment of the Gospel of John that apparently is in the same hand, and done with the same ink, supports the forgery case. On the contrary, taken with the GJW fragment, and especially the faded ink on the reverse side–still in the same “hand,” but truly “aged,” I am more convinced than ever this papyrus text is ancient. There are still more than enough questions to go around but I think many of my colleagues have rushed to judgment on this one. More to come.

Why a “Spiritual” Resurrection is the Only Sensible Option

Jews, Christians, and Muslims all affirm the doctrine of “resurrection of the dead” as a central tenet of eschatology–that is, the understanding of the “last things” or how human history is to end. One common misunderstanding, especially among Christians, is that resurrection of the dead is equivalent to the idea of corpse revival, namely that in order to “make the dead live” (which is the literal Hebrew expression), God would somehow revive the physical bodies of those who have long since perished and turned to dust or ashes–or otherwise been completely absorbed into our planetary ecosystem. This view of resurrection of the dead is often given the label of “literal,” which is taken to mean “actual.”  In other words, in the case of Jesus, unless one believes Jesus’ corpse was “literally” raised to life–i.e., his dead and mutilated body was revivified–then his resurrection would not be “literally” true. The alternative idea, that the “old body” is left behind, like a worn out form of clothing, with the dead “returning to life” in a new transformed state or “mode of being,” is often seen as a threat to Christian apologetics–i.e. the faith that Jesus was truly raised from the dead.

Spiritual BodiesWhat such a view misses is two important things. First, our earliest source for Christian faith in resurrection are the letters of Paul–who clearly affirms a “literal” but spiritual resurrection–for both Jesus and those at the end of history. The dead are raised in an embodied form–but their bodies are no longer “flesh and blood,” but transformed into what he calls a “pneumatikos” body–that is a non-physical “spiritual” mode of being. As Paul puts it–as Adam was “dust of the earth,” so Christ, as a “new Adam,” is a transformed “life-giving Spirit.” Second, the early Christian view of resurrection for the most part developed along similar lines. For most sophisticated Christian thinkers the resurrection of the dead, though seen as “bodily,” was no longer “flesh and blood” and did not necessitate any revival of the literal bones or perished remains of the deceased. After all, only a tiny fraction of human beings who have ever lived on this planet have identifiable “tombs” or graves, from which they might be raised. Clearly the idea of the dead “coming forth from their graves” might be viewed as “actual” but surely not “literal.” Using metaphors to express concepts beyond our physical experience is not robbing the concepts that lie within the metaphor of reality.

I realize that some of the latest gospel accounts of the “sightings” of Jesus present us with Jesus’ physical body–eating meals and displaying his wounds as “proof” that he is no “ghost,” but these have to be laid out chronologically alongside the complex of “appearance” traditions. I have written rather extensively on these subject in both my books (The Jesus Discovery and Paul and Jesus), as well as on this blog, see here. When all our accounts are taken together I am persuaded that Paul’s view of “leaving the old clothing behind” was the earliest–and was shared by the first witnesses he names in 1 Corinthians 15–namely Peter, James, the Twelve, and the “500″ brothers.

The discussion of the important differences between the Greek affirmation of the “immortality of the soul,” and the Jewish concept of “resurrection of the dead,” is an essential part of this discussion. Most students of Christian Origins are introduced at some point to Oscar Cullmann’s classic Ingersoll lecture at Harvard in 1955, “Immortality of the Soul or Resurrection of the Dead?: The Witness of the New Testament,” subsequently published with other essays in an edited volume, Immortality and Resurrection (Macmillan) by Krister Stendahl, now out of print. Fortunately, there is a version of the substance of lecture on the Web. What Cullmann showed so clearly is that one must not gloss over the important differences in these two classic Western ways of viewing death and afterlife. However, a half century of research subsequently has shown that the theological differences Cullmann pinpoints are not as airtight as they might appear, when viewed through the lens of the critical historian of ideas. The magisterial study of Alan Segal, Life After Death: A History of the Afterlife in Western Religion changes the entire landscape of the discussion in this regard. Its rich content and analysis is essential to any informed discussion.

If anything one finds that there is a blurring between the sharp distinctions that Cullmann posited, with Jews affirming “resurrection of the dead,” or even “resurrection of the body,” in complex and nuanced ways, often parallel to so-called “Greek” views of immortality. One result is that the literal physical remains of the dead play little to no part, other than in a metaphorical way, in the more sophisticated affirmations that the “dead” experience ongoing existence either in another realm, or in an age to come. Thus in the book of Revelation (20:11-13), the “sea gave up the dead that were in it,” and those resurrected dead “stand” before the throne of God in judgment, but the writer obviously has no interest in affirming a literal recovery of “bones and flesh,” or reanimated corpses, long ago “returned to dust.”
Jews and early Christians were quite aware of the complex nuances of their affirmation of “resurrection of the dead,” and that a literal view of restored “bones and flesh” was not their central concern nor their most fundamental challenge. There was something much more profound at stake that had to do with an “anthropological” view of the whole human person–thus Paul’s category of a “new body,” but a spiritual one, not one of flesh and blood. This was in contrast to the “naked” state of death, before the spirit is “reclothed.” We are essentially dealing with metaphors here but the clothing analogy seems to be a good one, as Paul develops it in 2 Corinthians 5. He apparently likens the body of flesh and bones to old clothing, and one’s immediate “death” as a naked state of the disembodied “spirit,” (i.e., Greek “immortal soul”). Accordingly, putting on a “new spiritual body” is akin to putting on new clothing, with the old shed or left behind. In that system of understanding resurrection literal “tombs” are irrelevant, whether literally in the ground, or symbolically “in the sea.”

That is why finding the decayed bones of Jesus in an ossuary, as might well be the case Talpiot tomb in Jerusalem, as I have argued here on this blog and extensively in our book, The Jesus Discovery, does not contradict the earliest faith in Jesus’ resurrection by his first followers. What has happened is that people have conflated the later accounts in the Gospels, especially in Luke and John, where Jesus clearly appears as a “revived corpse” and even asks for food to eat–declaring himself to be “flesh and blood,” with the much earlier views the gospel of Mark (with no appearances of Jesus), the fragment ending of the Gospel of Peter, and Matthew–that are much more compatible with Paul’s earlier view (50s CE) of “seeing” Jesus’ spiritual body. The idea those who “sleep in the dust” awakening, or the sea “giving up” the dead that are in it, makes it crystal clear that resurrection of the dead has to do with a transformed “heavenly” existence, not a revival of the scant remains of those long ago turned to “dust and ashes” as the phrase goes (Daniel 12:2-3; Revelation 20:13). One might also recall that, according to Jesus, those who experience the “age to come” and the resurrection of the dead, are transformed into an “angelic” state, no longer male or female with physical bodies (Luke 20:34-38).

Keith Akers, author of The Lost Religion of Jesus: Simple Living and Nonviolence in Early Christianity, has a thoughtful post from a few years back titled “Implications of the Jesus Family Tomb at Talpiot” at his Website which is as relevant today as when he first wrote it. I really appreciated Akers’s book on Jesus and learned a lot from him. I have found anything he writes to be well thought through and valuable to read. In his essay on the Talpiot Tomb he raises the issue of how diverse groups of early Christians began to formulate their understanding of what was essentially affirmed in the teaching of “resurrection of the dead,” whether that of Jesus, or the raising of the dead more generally at the end of the age.

Emile Puech Confirms “Resurrection” Inscription Reading in Talpiot Tomb

As most of my readers know one of the truly amazing things discovered in our robotic arm camera probe of the Talpiot “Patio” tomb (Talpiot Tomb B), that is less than 100 meters from the “Jesus family tomb,” in East Talpiot, was a four-line Greek inscription that we interpreted as a reference to “resurrection of the dead”–either as a cry for, or a celebration of, God/Jehovah lifting up the dead! Nothing like this has ever been found on an ossuary from this period. You can read a full account in our book, The Jesus Discovery.

The day after we discovered it we asked Princeton University professor James Charlesworth to visit the tomb and offer his preliminary reading of the inscription. Keep in mind he had never seen it before. He read it without hesitation as “God, Jehovah, raises up…” but was not sure of the last word which he said could either be Alpha, Pi, Beta or Alpha, Gamma, Beta. His reading was precisely the same as mine–done the day before. After further study, analysis, and consultation with half a dozen epigraphers I ended up translating it:

O Divine Jehovah Raise up! Raise up!
or
I, Divine Jehovah, Raise up! Raise Up!

Subsequently various interpretations were offered, including that of noted epigrapher, Christopher Rollston, who disagreed with our readings, see here. I offered a summary of all the interpretations in my ASOR paper in March 2012 which you can read here.

We now have renowned epigrapher and Dead Sea Scrolls scholar Émile Puech weighing in on the inscription. I am quite pleased to report that he reads the four Greek words without hesitation in the same way we had done–and declares this to be an unprecedented “resurrection” statement–whether a cry or a declaration. Simcha Jacobovici has just posted an interview with Prof. Puech in which he offers his reading and his analysis. If you have been confused by all the academic give-and-take on this inscription Prof. Puech’s clear and confident “sight reading” helps to really clear the air:

http://www.simchajtv.com/once-again-dramatic-support-for-jesus-tomb/

Jerusalem Discoveries in the Time of Jesus

The Biblical Archaeology Society has just announced a significantly discounted DVD set of four of my lectures titled “Jerusalem Discoveries in the Time of Jesus.” Click anywhere on the image below for full information on contents. I should add here, lest anyone think posting this on my blog is shameless commercial promotion, that those of us who do lectures for BAS receive no royalties for sales but do these programs as a public service.

JerusalemDiscoveries

 

Thinking Through Easter: What Do Our Sources Really Say?

Most people raised in our Christian culture have a vague story in their heads as to what is supposed to have happened Easter morning, whether drawn from attending church services, reading the Bible themselves, or even from various “Jesus” films. Around Easter Jesus usually makes the cover of some of our major magazines. Even one who is non-Christian or secular can’t help picking up on the basic story-line, which goes something like this:

Early Sunday morning after Jesus’ Good Friday crucifixion several of his women followers went to his tomb only to find the heavy stone blocking the entrance removed and the tomb empty with the grave clothes left behind. They were told by two dazzling angels dressed in white “He is not here, he is risen, come see the place where he lay.” They were dumbfounded, as were the other apostles to whom they reported these strange events. Later that day Jesus appeared to the apostles and allowed them to examine his body with its wounds, assuring them it was him, and that he had been raised from the dead. Various other appearance of Jesus followed over a period of weeks until Jesus departed this earth, taken up in the clouds of heaven.

What will come as a complete surprise to many people is that our historical sources for this scenario offer wildly differing accounts of Easter morning. Historians work with sources and evidence and when it comes to Easter all we have are six ancient texts–our four New Testament gospels, namely Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, and the fragments of the more recently discovered Gospel of Peter. I have written recently about the Gospel of Peter here, and I have offered an extended analysis of Paul’s understanding of resurrection of the dead with a lot of historical background here.

What I want to do in this post is take closer look at our earliest three sources, taken in chronological order–Mark, Matthew, and Luke, viewing them side-by-side, in “Synoptic” fashion, when it comes to their accounts of the empty tomb of Jesus and the subsequent “appearances” of Jesus to his various followers. Readers who have never bothered to do this will find much of surprise I think. All you need is a copy of the Bible with the New Testament included, any translation will do fine.

Most scholars are agreed that Mark is our earliest gospel. What few non-specialists realize is that Mark’s account of the empty tomb stands in the sharpest contrast to those written after him.

Mark 16:1-8 provides the early core account with what scholars consider to be the original version of Mark ending abruptly with verse 8:

And when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Salome, bought spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun was risen. And they were saying among themselves, “Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the tomb?” and looking up, they saw that the stone was rolled back–it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe; and they were amazed. And he said to them, Be not amazed: you seek Jesus, the Nazarene, who has been crucified: he has been lifted up; he is not here: behold, the place where they laid him! But go, tell his disciples and Peter, He goes before you to Galilee: there you will see him, just as he told. And they went out, and fled from the tomb; for trembling and astonishment had come upon them: and they said nothing to any one; for they were afraid.

This is how our earliest manuscripts of the gospel of Mark end!

Later copies of the Mark supply one of several added endings, clearly finding such an abrupt ending to the gospel story inadequate, so you will find in most Bibles the additional verses 9-20, which were composed by in the 3rd or 4th century by someone who wanted to round the story out and make it more in harmony with the endings of Matthew, Luke, and John[1]

Please note the rather astounding fact that Mark’s original ending has no appearances of Jesus. A young man, not an angel, tells the women Jesus has been “lifted up,” with a promise that they will “see him in Galilee,” which is in the north of the country.[2] This was apparently the earliest faith of Jesus’ first followers–namely, that Jesus had been taken up to heaven, and that the disciples would see him at a later time in Galilee. I have argued, see the post noted above, that this is also the understanding of Jesus’ resurrection we find in Paul, and ironically, it is the view of resurrection we find in the newly discovered Talpiot tomb inscription about God “lifting up” (Greek hupso/υψω) the dead–see our book, The Jesus Discovery. Paul reports Jesus was transformed into a “life-giving spirit,” and the subsequent “sightings” of Jesus, by him and the earlier apostles, were seeing Jesus in his heavenly glory (1 Corinthians 15:42-50, compared with vv. 3-7). To be “lifted up” in this way is to leave the physical body behind, like old clothing, and thus to be “absent from the body,” but present with God (2 Corinthians 5:1-10). This was the earliest Christian resurrection faith.

As far as the age old question, “What happened to the physical body of Jesus,” the most likely explanation is that it was reburied by Joseph of Arimathea after being placed temporarily in an unused tomb near the site of crucifixion. I have written extensively about this “first burial” of Jesus here.[3]

Matthew and Luke, written a decade or more after Mark, are clearly not satisfied with Mark’s abrupt ending. Even though Mark is their basic narrative source, they are bound and determined to expand the tradition and supply expanded versions of his ending that will be more dramatic and impressive, and in the case of Luke and John–introduce a wholly new understanding of the resurrection of Jesus as the resuscitation of his physical corpse. One has to keep in mind this is not an idea that Paul supports, in fact he speaks emphatically against the notion of confusing the “body of dust” with the “spiritual body” or “life-giving spirit,” as noted above.

Both Matthew and Luke recast this core scene of the women’s visit to the tomb and they are each clearly relying on Mark as their source. What obviously bothers them about Mark’s story is the final line, about the women fleeing the scene and saying nothing to anyone, end of story! That Mark has no appearances of Jesus is a huge problem for them. Both Matthew and Luke are keen to expand this abrupt and problematic ending. Each of them recasts that final line, so that it can lead into what comes next, notice carefully:

“So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples” (Matthew 28:8).

“And returning from the tomb they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest” (Luke 24:9).

At this point their dependence on Mark drops off.  Matthew has his one “sighting” of Jesus in Galilee, taking his cue from Mark’s line about “there you will see him,” while Luke removes that line about Galilee entirely and adds a string of “appearances” in Jerusalem.

What this means, in terms of the Synoptic tradition is that Matthew and Luke only follow their source Mark up to the point where the women flee the tomb, and thereafter, they are presenting their own independent and quite differing traditions of what the “resurrection of Jesus” meant within their separate communities and traditions.

It is altogether striking that at this point there are absolutely no parallels whatsoever between what they quite separately relate. It is not the case of differing witnesses to the “same event” reporting slightly differing accounts, as Christian apologists often insist. It is the case of both Matthew and Luke at this point losing their core source Mark, leaving it behind, and going their separate ways entirely!

What this means for our historical reconstruction is that Matthew and Luke reflect independent witnesses to the growth and apologetic (in the sense of defense) development of traditions defending the notion of Jesus being raised from the dead for the post-70 CE generation. Mark is content to relate his story with no appearances of the risen Jesus, and yet nonetheless attest to resurrection faith, looking forward to the Parousia (return of the “Son of Man” in the clouds of heaven), probably expected in Galilee. But both Matthew and Luke have other concerns that they have to address.

What is clearly the case is that neither Matthew nor Luke are relating history, but writing defenses against charges that are being raised by opponents who are denying the notion that Jesus literally rose from the dead. Luke is clearly worried about claims that any so-called “appearances” of Jesus were simply hallucinatory apparitions–in other words, “ghost stories.” He has good reason to worry. We know various pagan critics of Christianity were beginning to heap fun on the Christians for naïvely swallowing the unstable fables of women and ignorant peasants. [4] He is keen to show that Jesus, though not always readily recognized, nonetheless could be touched, and that he ate with his followers, clearly showing his “bodily” existence. He is interested in what he calls “proofs,” and he repeats this concern in Acts 1:3.

What we can be quite sure of, from a historical point of view, is that none of these so-called proofs has any historical basis whatsoever. Mark knows nothing of such stories, nor does Matthew. They are not part of any early and core tradition of Jesus’ resurrection and they have no correspondence to the type of visionary “appearances” claimed by Paul for himself and for others.

And just as important, notice, Luke is also concerned to shift the emphasis to Jerusalem, away from Galilee, where the family of Jesus originated. Mark’s focus is on the apostles seeing Jesus in Galilee, as is Matthews. They know nothing of any Jerusalem appearances.

Matthew has two concerns. First, he wants the resurrection to be a dramatic cosmic event, and second he wants to refute the story that is being spread in Jewish circles that Jesus’ followers came Saturday night and moved the body to another location. At the death of Jesus he has already added earthquakes, tombs splitting open, and multiple corpses of the dead coming alive and appearing to various people in the city (Matt 27:51-53). So here, to Mark’s stark account of the empty tomb discovery, he adds another earthquake, an angel as bright as lightning descending from heaven and moving the heavy stone from the tomb entrance. He also relates that Pilate, the Roman governor, had authorized a band of soldiers to seal and guard the tomb against the possibility that someone might take the body and claim he was raised. At the sight of the angel they fell as dead for fear of the terrifying heavenly being. None of this is in Mark. Matthew’s account is quite patently a theological and apologetic embellishment on Matthew’s part. What we need to ask is what Matthew intends to address with such a dramatic retelling of his source Mark? Unlike Luke, he knows nothing of multiple appearances of Jesus in the city of Jerusalem, and he has only one mountain top sighting of Jesus by the apostles in Galilee, where Jesus gives to them the so-called “Great Commission” with some of them doubting what they saw! Those are obviously the most theologically constructed set of verses in his entire gospel, but even at that he notes that some of the Eleven “doubted” that they were really seeing Jesus, a most telling admission (Matthew 28:16-20).

It is obvious that for Matthew, unlike Luke, “appearances” are not much on his radar screen. Rather what really concerns him is refuting the story that “is told among the Jews to this day,” that followers removed Jesus body and reburied it on Saturday night. To do this he needs the earthquake, and the angel from heaven descending with blinding light, and a tomb sealed and guarded by Roman soldiers–none of which can possibly have any historical basis whatsoever. They are clearly constructed, even imposed on the bare account of Mark, to address this “Jewish” story.

What Matthew unwittingly provides is a witness that a generation after Jesus’ death it was being claimed in certain Jewish circles that Jesus’ body had been taken from the initial tomb into which it had been temporarily put by Joseph of Arimathea and presumably reburied. What the historian must consider is whether that “story,” to which Matthew provides such a definitive witness, is in fact based on what actually happened. This would not mean that the disciples “stole” the body to perpetuate a lie, as Matthew frames the story against his Jewish opponents, but only that the core story itself, that they removed the body Saturday night, is our best account of how the tomb became empty. What makes this possibility all the more likely is that it fits in with the initial, temporary, emergency burial of Jesus by Joseph of Arimathea as the Passover Seder approached the afternoon of the crucifixion. A Saturday night removal to a place of permanent burial is precisely what one would expect.

I have recently noted how the Gospel of Peter, particularly with its broken off ending, gives strong support to the early account of Mark, see “The Last Passover and the First Easter–When Apostles and Angels Wept.” There we read clearly that the disciples wept and mourned for Jesus in Jerusalem for the entire eight day Passover week–hardly compatible with Luke’s dramatic appearances in Jerusalem the very day the empty tomb was found–before returning to their fishing business in the Galilee. What is quite amazing is that the appended chapter 21 of the gospel of John parallels this account. This version has to be read independently of John’s account of multiple appearances of Jesus in Jerusalem on Easter morning including the famous encounter with “doubting Thomas,” in chapter 20–the original ending of John’s gospel. An editor has added what he claims is an early “eyewitness” account of an “apparition” of Jesus on the Sea of Galilee when the disciples have returned to their fishing business. One can tell from the tone of the account that this is obviously presented as their first “sighting” of the risen Jesus.

I understand how pious readers of the New Testament are not comfortable with this sort of critical readings of our historical sources but once one takes a close look at the texts, and the clear and obvious elements I have gone through in this post, there is hardly any other recourse. Ironically, for believing Christians, rather than such an analysis being a threat to resurrection faith, it turns out to provide an glimpse of the original version of that faith–namely that Jesus left his body behind, that he was transformed into a “life-giving spirit,” and was  “lifted up” to God’s right hand.

Postscript: Until very recently these six texts were all we had in attempting a historical evaluation of the origins of faith in Jesus’ resurrection. With the 1980 discovery of the Talpiot “Jesus” tomb, and the recent exploration of the “Patio” tomb nearby, I believe we have for the first time, archaeological evidence that potentially supplements what we had from our texts. I am speaking in particular of the “Jonah and the fish” image, on one ossuary, and the Greek inscription celebrating “lifting up” from the tomb, on another. I am convinced that the earliest understanding of Christian faith in resurrection, as seen in Paul, Mark, and John 21, has now been corroborated by these findings. See our book, The Jesus Discovery for full details and arguments.

For further reading see the following posts that explore the details I have touched upon here:

The Strange Ending of the Gospel of Mark and Why It Makes all the Difference

The Earliest Christian View of Resurrection of the Dead

The Earliest Account of the Discovery of Jesus’ Tomb–What it Says and What it Does Not Say

The Two Verses on the Discovery of the Empty Tomb that Ring True Historically

The Lost Gospel of Peter–A Valuable but Neglected Ancient Source

  1. In fact, this unknown editor simply drew from stories in the other three gospels, as is quite obvious if one examines the interpolation carefully. The appearance to Mary Magdalene is lifted from John, the appearance to the two disciples on the road as well as Jesus sitting with the apostles for a meal from Luke, and the “Great Commission,” from Matthew, and the ascent of Jesus into heaven, again, from Luke. In addition to this interpolated ending there are two others that achieved less popularity but some translations of the Bible put them in footnotes. []
  2. The verb used here, egeiro/εγειρω means “to lift up, raise up” or even “be carried away. It is used in Mark 2:12 for the paralyzed man whom Jesus heals and tells to “lift up” his bedroll and walk. []
  3. On this idea of a first burial see Amos Kloner, “Did a Rolling Stone Close Jesus’ Tomb?” Biblical Archaeology Review (Sept/Oct, 1999), who argues that the tomb used by Joseph of Arimathea was a borrowed or temporary cave used for a limited time, pressed by the arrival of the Sabbath, with the intention of completing the rites of burial after the Passover holiday. See also Richard Carrier, “Jewish Law, the Burial of Jesus, and the Third Day,” as well as his revised version of this article in The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave, edited by Robert Price and Jeffrey Lowder, pp. 369-392. []
  4. See “The Christians as the Romans Saw Them,” as well as the important study of Deborah Thompson Price, “The ‘Ghost’ of Jesus: Luke 24 in the Light of Ancient Narratives of Post-Mortem Apparitions,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament (2007) 29:287-301. []