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4982Two burial stories

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  • Joseph Codsi
    Sep 3, 2004
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      Bill Bulin wrote on Thursday 9/2/2004 5:03 PM

      <The leg-breaking and side-piercing may be theological or historical or
      both but if it is merely later theological invention then your proposed
      second burial account by Joseph would be the more primitive. The problem
      with supposing mere theological invention based on Jewish texts alone is
      that it is hard to know where the process should stop. Was the petition
      for the removal of the bodies merely theological invention too? Was text
      linked to actual event or imaginary event linked to text?>

      Let me make sure I understand you correctly.

      You seem to separate the story concerning the Jews' request to have the
      bodies removed from the subsequent story of the leg-breaking and
      side-piercing. I assume that you consider the Jews' request as
      historical, but that you have doubts about the historicity of what is
      related to the fulfillment of the scriptures. Am I correct, so far?

      If you admit the historicity of the Jews' request, then you must admit
      as well the action taken by the soldiers in order to hasten the death of
      the condemned by breaking their legs. Some doubt is possible about the
      side-piercing and especially about the flowing of blood and water. But
      this last question is not of the essence as far as I am concerned. What
      matters is that the request was made to have the bodies removed and that
      the request was acted upon. The implied consequence of this is that the
      bodies would have been removed by the soldiers out of the public sight.
      It is this action that is incompatible with the second burial story, in
      which Joseph of Arimathea becomes the central actor.

      Because I have no way of judging the question of the historicity in
      relation to the side-piercing and the flowing of blood and water, I give
      the text the benefit of the doubt and consider them as part of the
      "proto John" (cf. Jack Kilmon's post).

      What I find erratic is the claim that the "proto John" does not exist
      and that the author of GJohn invented the entire story, from A to Z, in
      order to show that two passages of the scripture were fulfilled. In all
      such cases, the logic of the faith requires that the historical events
      (or what is believed to have been an historical event) be the starting
      point of the logical argument, the fulfillment of the scriptures being
      its logical ending. If the starting point and the conclusion are both
      theological, then the logic of the argument would defeat itself. No
      theologian in his right mind would do such a thing knowingly and
      willingly. Only a theologian with a deranged mind would write a novel
      consisting of a series of events, which are shown to have fulfilled a
      series of obscure scriptures.

      It is true that a large number of events were invented after the death
      of Jesus in order to prove that he was, in his earthly life, the Son of
      God of the Easter revelation. But the Jews' request to have the bodies
      removed from public sight does not fall into this category.

      * * *

      I move now to the following question:

      <May I ask what type of burial /disposal the three corpses you
      envisage would have been given by the Roman soldiers? The reason I ask
      is that I assume that they would merely have been thrown in the rubbish
      heap serving the whole city in which case your first 'burial' term would
      be overstating matters somewhat. There is surely no reason to believe
      that such corpses would either have been placed in a tomb or that sweat
      and soil would have been broken to facilitate a more careful disposal.>

      I prefer to stay as close as possible to the text. The Jewish leadership
      who had requested the removal of the bodies wanted to move them out of
      sight. They would have objected if the soldiers had thrown them in a
      rubbish heap located near the eastern gate of the city. So I suppose
      that the soldiers had a choice between taking them far from the city or
      burying them in a common grave somewhere out of the city. Because Mary
      Magdalene was unable to locate the place where the body of Jesus had
      been put (cf. her question to the gardener), I suppose that the place
      had remained unknown. This scenario is radically incompatible with the
      story of the empty tomb. And this is what makes it so difficult to

      If you do not find my explanations satisfactory, don't hesitate to
      reformulate your questions.


      Joseph Codsi
      P.O. Box 116-2088
      Beirut, Lebanon
      Telephone (961) 1 423 145

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