As portrayed by the Gospel authors, Mary and the other women who end up first learning Jesus rose, up until that moment, play virtually no role in the Gospel drama of Jesus’s ministry.
In 1st century Jewish thought, women were thought to be inappropriate/unworthy mediators of God’s word to men.
• Details considered, women are never used this way in Biblical history.
• Pseudo-Phil LAB 9:10 says Miriam’s righteous parents rejected her vision.
• Pseudo-Philo, LAB 42:1-5 says Manoah rejected wife’s words (from an angel).
• Leviticus Rabbah 10:5 says Manoah rejects his wife’s words because she’s a woman.
• In Ant 1:257, Josephus minimizes the role of women in receiving revelation.
The male disciples historically fled to Jerusalem soon after Jesus was crucified. [Forthcoming]
But the first claim is false…
• Male disciples were available.2
In the tradition(s) being circulated, only women were reported to have seen where Jesus was buried.
But that first claim is false…
• Many saw where the tomb was (e.g., those who placed Jesus in the tomb).
• It would be easy to invent people who saw it (e.g., known disciples in cloaks, unknown/secret disciples, bystanders, etc.).
And regarding the claim's relevance…
• It would be overtly easy to invent a detail wherein the women told the men.
• It would be overtly easy to invent a detail that says the men accompanied the women (e.g., to help move the stone).
• Peter Carnley: “[t]here was an existing tradition that only the women were in the close vicinity of the crucifixion and that they alone participated in the burial. This would dictate that only the women, therefore, despite their unfortunate incompetence at law to supply evidence of the highest calibre, could really be called into the empty tomb story.” [The Structure of Resurrection Belief (Clarendon Press, 1987), 60.]
The role of anointing a dead body was only appropriate for women to perform. Women uniquely had the duty to anoint a buried corpse. So only women would make sense in the story as ones returning to the tomb.
But that first claim is false.
• [There is no evidence of it being true.]
• The Gospels themselves provide multiple counterexamples.1
And regarding the claims relevance…
• It’d be overtly easy to invent a detail that says the men accompanied the women while not helping with the work.2
Women were uniquely associated with certain after-burial practices, namely the practices of of mourning and checking a buried body to see if it was actually dead. So only women would make sense in the story as ones returning to the tomb.
But that first claim is false,
• …men could/would mourn and check.1
• …others can visit just fine.
[Brackets mean Forthcoming]