In this final segment of my series on Final Days of Jesus over “Holy Week” as the Christian call it, I consider the burial and empty tomb accounts in the Gospels, as well as “sightings” of Jesus. Please access the blog posts that lay out these issues in GREAT detail. This is particularly important since I mention the Talpiot tombs and one finds it constantly affirmed on the web all over the place that the idea of these tombs being authentically linked to the Jesus Family has been thoroughly addressed and refuted. As the posts here will indicate, that is far from the case, with new evidence now clarifying the latest: “Holy Week is Here: Digging Deep into the Sources.”
I know we are past Easter, but remember, the first Holy Week went into the Days of Unleavened Bread. One very shocking text in that regard is the last line of the Gospel of Peter, which unfortunately breaks off in the middle:
“Now it was the final day of Unleavened Bread [i.e., Thursday following crucifixion]; and many went out returning to their home since the feast was over. But we twelve disciples of the Lord were weeping and sorrowful; each one sorrowful because of what had come to pass, departed to his home [in the Galilee]. But I, Simon Peter, and my brother Andrew, having taken our nets, went off to the sea. And there was with us Levi of Alphaeus whom the Lord . . .
So I think this post is particularly appropriate today, the day AFTER Easter, in view of this tradition that I think predates Mark and is somewhat parallel to the floating source now found in an expanded version in John 21–usually considered a kind of Appendix thereto. Notice, the twelve and all the followers are weeping and sorrowful…no one has had any reports of “sightings” of Jesus. I think we can say as a historical fact–because NO later Christian would want to make this up–that the recovery of faith in Jesus as the Messiah, raised from the dead–was not in Jerusalem but in the Galilee. And Mark as well as Matthew agree…even though Matthew says some of the Eleven doubted!
Although I know that Raymond Brown and others have attempted to refute Crossan’s case for the independence of the Gospel of Peter from Mark and the Synoptics, I still find it, or some version thereof, persuasive. This very ending itself is clearly not derivative of ANY of the Synoptic accounts. It clearly affirms that there have been NO resurrection appearances even eight days after Jesus’ death. I have no doubt the text went on to report the “sightings” of Jesus in the Galilee, whether on a mountain where some doubted, or along the shores of the sea of Galilee between Capernaum and Ginnosar/Midgal.