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
"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."

We don't even have a tomb that shows promise as being the real tomb of Jesus. So how do we know there was a tomb in the first place?

What if those who said the body had gone visited the wrong tomb? 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 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.


1 Jesus’ Resurrection and Marian Apparitions: Medjugorje as a Living Laboratory By Dr. Hector Avalos at 4/29/2013

2 is a reply to Avalos and it says he:

continues by grossly misrepresenting the case for the historicity of the empty tomb employed by Craig, myself, et al. Avalos claims that what Christian apologists are really saying is that the resurrection happened, because source X says it happened, and that this raises the question of why we should trust source X about the resurrection, but not the visionaries about the Marian apparitions at Medjugorje. This completely ignores the arguments in favour of the accuracy and reliability of the New Testament source material, not to mention the arguments in favour of the historicity of the 'minimal facts' employed that aren't even dependant on the New Testament sources being inherently reliable. I find it odd how Avalos argues that Craig, Campbell, and others argue that the empty tomb is a fact because it is stated in a source they find credible, when William Lane Craig has explicitly stated: 

"Even documents which are generally unreliable may contain valuable historical nuggets, and it will be the historian's task to mine these documents in order to discover. The Christian apologist seeking to establish, for example, the historicity of the empty tomb need not and should not be saddled with the task of first showing that the Gospels are, in general, historically reliable documents." - William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith, 3rd Edition, Crossway, (2008), p11. In other words, the reliability is not integral to the case for the historicity of the empty tomb. Craig uses a handful of historical criteria employed by critical scholars to judge the truth of individual elements within the New Testament narrative. He does not argue that the empty tomb is historical purely because he finds the New Testament reports credible and reliable. Avalos' contention that the Marian apparitions at Medjugorje pass the criteria for the best explanation thus rests upon a deliberate mischaracterisation of the argument for the historicity of the resurrection. 

REMARKS - The fact is that Medjugorje truly is a series of fake visions of Jesus' mother but it remains true that it still surpasses the gospel allegations in credibility for at least we know who is saying Mary appears.  The person talking to you has more credence than a book.  Plus nothing says the tomb was empty as soon as it was opened so the gospels cannot be used to confirm an empty tomb but only that people assumed it was empty from the start.  Nobody checked it as soon as it opened.


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