Joseph (to Bill):
"GJohn disagrees with GMark on another important
point. For him the burial of Jesus was not temporary but final. Jesus
was embalmed before being put in the tomb and there was no need for the
women to go back, retrieve the body and embalm it before burying it
again. This correction is important. If the women go back to the tomb
after the Sabbath, it must have been to mourn Jesus, not to anoint his
body. In other words, GJohn corrects a big mistake found in GMark. The
women could not have wanted to anoint the body of Jesus. GJohn is not
afraid of contradicting GMark. He even goes overboard to the point of
suppressing a collective action by the women. For him, Mary of Magdala
acted alone on the first day of the week."'
The straight away emballment of Jesus at the spot (as in John 19.39) is
certainly historically right. Robinson (Priority of John, 282) notes however
that what the women do in Mk 16.1 is also necessary.
When at nightfall after the shabbat has ended, the women buy 'aroomata',
this is, according to Robinson in accordance with the prescription of the
Mishna (Shab. 23.4). It is a kind of 'anointing' with oils, for which there
may have been no time on friday (on the time factor, please also see below).
So, Mark has left something out and John has left something out.
We may be happy therefore to have both accounts available to us to
satisfy our thirst for possible historical details around the burial.
Joseph to Bill:
I don't know what to say about the Nicodemus of chapter 3.
But his presence at the burial scene is more a pious fiction than
an historical fact. It seems to me that the presence ofNicodemus
at the burial scene is very odd.
I don't think it is. Please see below.
Recently my eye fell on Mark 15:46. Here, Joseph Arimathea performing
everything on his own, is a very unlikely scenario. He seems to have time to
1) first go 'shopping at the spot' (buying fine linen),
2) next he is able to get Jesus from the cross on his own (historically
3) he wraps him (still on his own) in the linen.
4) takes the dead body (on his own) to the grave (quite a work) and
5) roles a (big) stone unto the door of the sepulchre (by now he is more
It is clear: the one-man-show performance gives great reconstructional (time
and energy) problems.
Much more likely is the proces of cooperation of several people.
This makes the presence of Nicodemus in John at the burial scene pretty
likely. Nicodemus, who has been mentioned in 3.1 as an 'archoon', an
influential and probably also a rich man, becomes a natural associate to
Joseph Arimathea, both being members of the same council and (secret)
followers of Jesus. Together they have more manpower to organize things
at the spot. I would even infer some women (followers) may have been
involved in taking care of the body, directly after the taking down from
the cross (leaving the question who actually took him down).
Lets move on to the empty tomb, remove the stone and enter!
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