Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

 


NO HARD EVIDENCE THERE WAS A TOMB

The gospels say that a miracle healing man called Jesus Christ lived. They say he died by crucifixion and three days later he rose again. Jesus was supposedly buried after his crucifixion in a tomb on Friday which was found empty on Sunday morning. The tomb he was placed in was found wide open with the stone that had been across the entrance moved back and the tomb was mysteriously empty. His body was gone. Certain witnesses claimed that Jesus appeared to them as a resurrected being.

Jesus may have had no tomb at all or maybe nobody knew if he had.  The legend that he rose could lead to a legend that he was entombed and rose.

The evidence of the records gives us no confidence that there was a tomb.  History leads us to the same conclusion for there is no hint that Jesus’ tomb was revered as a martyr’s shrine until decades later (page 108, The Womb and the Tomb). It could not have been for the early Christians were Jews and Jews did not touch unclean things like tombs unless it was unavoidable.

Constantine claimed that he found Jesus’ tomb in a quarry on the site where the Church of the Holy Sepulchre stands today in Jerusalem. He said he found evidence. That evidence must have been graffiti which would naturally appear on any tomb that some careless old fossil designates as a shrine. But the tomb is conveniently ruined. A pagan temple was once built on it. Some said it was not the tomb because the gospels said that Jesus was buried outside the city walls but this tomb was inside. The tomb was outside the city before the walls were extended in 41 AD.

The Womb and the Tomb states that if Jesus had been stolen and it could not be proved it would have been used as a Holy Place where something unworldly happened to a blessed saint (page 108). If then, there had been an empty tomb, it would have been made a shrine. So, the believers who had drifted away from the Jewishness would have been the ones who picked the tomb they thought was that of Jesus but it took a long time for Christians like that to appear there. They might have been wrong or shooting in the dark. The tomb would probably have been used after Jesus’ disappearance so visitors would have been banned by law. The tomb might have been filled in to prevent it being sacred to Christians.

Another tomb outside the city walls that is considered to have been the tomb of Jesus has a water channel dug by the crusaders that was thought to be the groove for the big round stone to be rolled in. It has a good high doorway. John 20 says you had to stoop to get into Jesus’ tomb. This tomb was used before the time of Jesus as well.

The contents of any tombs around Golgotha were cleared out in 44 AD. In that year the holy city was extended. The bones and bodies were reburied. An empty tomb legend could have started off then and become irrefutable. Let us quote Shimon Gibson from

 http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2010/01/11/Golgotha-A-Reconsideration-of-the-Evidence-for-the-Sites-of-Jesuse28099-Crucifixion-and-Burial.aspx#Article

"The period after 41–44, when Agrippa I had included this area within his Third Wall. With this innovation, tombs would have been emptied, and tombs already cut would no longer have been used."

The wrong tomb was probably visited.  If Jesus were put in the tomb and then shifted to another one or a common grave then it could be that it was both the right tomb and the wrong one.  No fuss or major investigation ensued as far as we can tell so the robbers could have emptied the tomb at their leisure.


We conclude then that the tomb of Jesus is not known and nobody was ever sure.

FURTHER READING

Christianity for the Tough-Minded, Ed John Warwick Montgomery, Bethany Fellowship Inc, Minneapolis, 1973
Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Vol 1, Josh McDowell, Alpha, Scripture Press Foundation, Bucks, 1995
He Walked Among Us, Josh McDowell and Bill Wilson, Alpha, Cumbria, 2000
Jesus: The Evidence, Ian Wilson, Pan, London, 1985
The First Easter, What Really Happened? HJ Richards, Collins/Fount Glasgow, 1980
The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln, Corgi, London, 1982
The Jesus Event, Martin R Tripole SJ, Alba House, New York, 1980
The Jesus Inquest, Charles Foster, Monarch Books, Oxford, 2006
The Passover Plot, Hugh Schonfield, Element, Dorset, 1996
The Resurrection Factor, Josh McDowell, Alpha, Scripture Press Foundation, Bucks, 1993
The Resurrection of Jesus, Pinchas Lapide, SPCK, London, 1984
The Unauthorised Version, Robin Lane Fox, Penguin, Middlesex, 1992
The Second Messiah, Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas, Arrow, London, 1998
The Virginal Conception and Bodily Resurrection of Jesus, Raymond E Brown, Paulist Press, New York, 1973
The Womb and the Tomb, Hugh Montifiore, Fount – HarperCollins, London, 1992
Verdict on the Empty Tomb, Val Grieve Falcon, London, 1976
Who Moved the Stone? Frank Morison, OM Publishing, Cumbria, 1997