Regarding whether Jesus's tomb was empty, the Jerusalem church's public stance in AD 30 and Peter's stance matched.1 This is relevant because Peter was publicly affirming that Jesus's body was gone from its tomb.2
Mk 15:42-47 (the burial story) narratively anticipates an undoing of Jesus's burial.
Consider these 3 arguments:
This is relevant because the Jerusalem church was publicly affirming/approving the Mk 15:42-47 narrative.3
Christopher Bryan (NT professor at Sewanee): “It is evident, moreover, that… Jesus' resurrection is an integral part of that narrative: there never was a passion narrative that simply ended with Jesus' death.” [The Resurrection of the Messiah (Oxford, 2011), 48.]
Ulrich Luz (NT professor at Göttingen): “Here it is assumed that the burial story was never the conclusion of the pre-Markan passion narrative of passion of the righteous man Jesus. Such a passion narrative was designed to show God's rehabilitation of the martyred righteous man. …its original conclusion can only have been Mark 16.1-8, not Mark 15:42-46.” [Matthew, trans. Crouch (Fortress, 2001-7), 3:580.].
Regarding whether Jesus's tomb was empty, the Jerusalem church's public stance in AD 30 was factually accurate.1 This is relevant because the fact is that Jesus's body was gone from the tomb in which it was placed.
In c. AD 30, Jerusalem critics strove to rebut the argument that “Jesus's empty tomb proves he resurrected,” saying "theft caused it!". This is relevant because critics would not strive to rebut such an argument if the Jerusalem Christians didn't even believe in the empty tomb. (Note: This remains true even if Christians were not themselves employing any argument that Jesus's empty tomb proves his resurrection.)
Paul did not report in 1 Cor. 15 that Jesus's tomb empty. This is relevant because Paul's teachings (or lack-thereof) reflected those of the Jerusalem church [Forthcoming], and if Paul knew from them of a reported empty tomb discovery event, he would have chosen to cite it in 1 Corinthians 15.1 This should be granted because Paul willed to at least somewhat comprehensively evidentially support Jesus's resurrection in 1 Cor 15.2
Alan Segal (Religion/Jewish-Studies prof. at Barnard etc.): “Notice too that Jesus' burial is part of Paul's earliest tradition but that the empty tomb is not. There is no doubt that this is the earliest Christian teaching with regard to the resurrection: it is part of the primitive kerygma, or proclamation, of the church. The empty tomb is a gospel innovation.” [The Resurrection of Jesus: John Dominic Crossan and N.T. Wright in Dialogue, ed. Stewart (Augsburg, 2006), 132.]
• Uta Ranke-Heinemann (NT scholar at Duisburg-Essen): “If Paul had ever heard of the empty tomb, he would have never passed over it in silence. Since he gathers together and cites all evidence for Jesus' resurrection that has been handed down to him (1 Corinthians 15), he certainly would have found the empty tomb worth mentioning.” [Putting Away Childish Things (Harper, 1994), 131.]
• G.W.H. Lampe (Div. prof. at Cambridge): “If Paul and the tradition which he cites lay no emphasis on the [discovered] empty tomb the question arises whether Paul nevertheless may have known of it. Many New Testament scholars hold that he did. …the situation in which Paul wrote I Corinthians 15 was that some of the Corinthians were denying that there is a resurrection of the dead (I Cor 15:12). … he adduces the known fact that Jesus was raised… If Jesus’ resurrection is denied, he says, the bottom drops out of the Christian gospel. And the evidence that he was raised consists in the appearances to himself and to others. Had he known that the tomb was found empty it seems inconceivable that he should not have adduced this here as a telling piece of objective evidence.” [“Easter: A Statement” in The Resurrection, ed. Purcell (Westminster, 1966), 43.]
• Kris Komarnitsky (Resurrection studies enthusiast, author): “…it is hard to understand why Paul did not mention a discovered empty tomb if he knew about it. It would have been a great bolstering point for Jesus’ resurrection and for the future resurrection of all believers, and it is the only piece of major evidence missing from Paul’s argument for Jesus’ resurrection.” [Doubting Jesus' Resurrection (Stone Arrow, 2009), 12.]
Murray Harris (NT professor at TIU, Cambridge): “Νοw it is true that the primitive Christian formula Paul cites in 1 Corinthians 15:3b-5 contains no reference to the empty tomb, but, as Κ. Lake observes, the apostle was not attempting to convince the Corinthians that Jesus had risen but was reminding them (1Co 15:1) that he had already convinced them.” [From Grave to Glory (Zondervan, 1990), 113.] Second, Paul would not much care to have or use any would-be evidence from the empty-tomb discovery. We know this for two reasons:
• Early Christians in general did not much care to have or use such an argument (that “his empty tomb shows Jesus rose!”).
• Paul especially did/would feel that such an argument was relatively weak.