That's interesting stuff. I remember sitting in church and listening to the pastors make a big deal about two things: the fact that the tomb was sealed and the fact that a guard was placed before it. They always set it up that the tomb was sealed with a mark much like an old wax seal on a confidential letter and the guard was some sort of elite Roman Century or something. This was, of course, a pre-emptive strike against claims that someone came in the night and took the body. But if you look at the actual Gospel accounts there are three problems with this. First, of all four accounts the only place where the tomb is explicitly said to be sealed and guarded is Matthew. Second, the account just says that the guard went with to seal the tomb, not that it was left behind overnight (and, furthermore, it's not exactly clear as to what kind of "guard" it was. Actual Roman legionnaires? A couple rent-a-cops? Just some guy?). Third, the women just kind of showed up at the tomb a couple days later expecting to finish the proper burial of the body and weren't challenged. This actually creates an additional problem. It implies that two women were expecting to be able to gain access to enter a sealed and guarded tomb to dress the body. That completely destroys the entire argument that there was no way Jesus's body could have been taken out. It's kind of a deal breaker in my mind... Given the above paragraph you don't even necessarily need the entire argument given in the original post. But it actually would tie together certain things. First, if the goal was simply to store the body quickly to deal with Passover laws before dumping it out, the sudden absence makes sense. Second, if there really was a seal and a guard, they probably would have had to open the tomb for its rightful owner, anyway. Actually, this brings up a further question: why the rush to crucify people the day before Passover, anyway? Why wouldn't Pilate have just said, "Okay, we're going to kill him on Monday?" So, yeah, that's some food for thought, I suppose...Anyway, wander over if you want. It's interesting.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
I've been reading Ken Pulliam's blog off and on for the past month or so. He's a former Christian apologist with major bona fides from the Baptist world, including a Masters and Ph.D from Bob Jones University. Long story short, he now doesn't believe the hype and writes about his arguments against his old beliefs. He's mostly been writing about Penal Substitutionary Theory, which is basically the old, "Jesus died for your sins and that's the only way to Heaven," canard since I started reading. I mostly find that stuff kind of boring, since it's basic theology sexed-up with a lot of jargon and the arguments he makes don't really interest me. It's an important argument and it's good that someone with the background of Pulliam is willing and able to make the arguments he does forcefully and articulately, but I simply don't much care. His most recent post is the beginning of an attempt to de-bunk the empty tomb mythology. This is much more fascinating for me. You might want to check it out. Also, his post tickled my own memory and I felt compelled to leave a long comment: