Did Jesus's body go missing?

Reasons given for answering "Yes"
  • Jesus's body was gone from its tomb
  • Critics never displayed the corpse

      Jerusalem critics of Christianity never displayed the unresurrected body of Jesus. After all…

      • …the belief that “he's alive” flourished in Jerusalem
      • …they publicly granted that the body was gone
      • …they weren't arguing “we showed the corpse”

      But so what, couldn't it simply be that…
      • …they couldn't locate Jesus's grave?”
      • …they didn't/wouldn't have tried to display it?1
      • …they couldn't prove the corpse was Jesus's?2 (i.e. Too decomposed)

      [Note: These link to similar objections concerning the empty tomb.]

      1. By contrast:
        Craig Blomberg (NT professor at Denver Seminary): “…the Jewish authorities, who had every reason to want to refute Christianity, could never produce the body of Jesus inside or outside a tomb.” [The Historical Reliability of the Gospels, 2nd ed. (IVP, 2007), 144.]
        C. E. B. Cranfield (NT professor at Durham): “The fact that with the will and the powers and resources they surely had, they never produced the body must count as a significant consideration in favour of the truth of [the empty grave]”. ["The Resurrection of Jesus Christ” in The Historical Jesus vol 3., ed. Evans (Routledge, 2004), 401.]
      2. Examples of scholars propounding this explanation:
        Alfred Loisy (Theologian; 1857-1940): “The soldiers removed the body from the cross before dark and threw it in some common grave, where they cast the bodies of the criminals… The conditions of the burial were such that at the end of a few days it would have been impossible to recognize the mortal remains of the saviour, had anyone been looking for them… Nobody would contest that Jesus had died on the cross. Nobody could prove that he had not been resurrected.” [Les ēνangiles synoptiques (Loisy, 1907), 1:223-24. (As cited by Allison, Resurrecting Jesus, 307.)]
        Gerd Lüdemann (Professor at Göttingen) “Well, we don't know when the Christians became an important movement. According to the Acts of the Apostles, they started to preach fifty days after the death of Jesus. And after fifty days, you wouldn't see much left of the body.” [Jesus' Resurrection: Fact or Figment? (IVP, 2000), 61.]
        Peter Carnley (NT scholar): “[This argument assumes] that the proclamation of the Easter message in Jerusalem… [was] soon enough to allow for the positive identification of a body as certainly that of the dead Jesus.” [The Structure of Resurrection Belief (Oxford, 1987), 55.]
        Robert Price (NT scholar): “But this is absurd: the only estimate the New Testament gives as to how long after Jesus' death the disciples went public with their preaching is a full fifty days later on Pentecost! After seven weeks, I submit, it would have been moot to produce the remains of Jesus.” [“By This Time He Stinketh,” in The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave, eds. Price & Lowder (Prometheus, 2005), 423.]
  • The first Christians were saying “It is gone!”
  • The original “It's gone” report wasn't a lie

      It was an original honest report that “Jesus's body is gone/missing,” which culminated in the gospels etc. reporting that it.1

      But so what? Couldn't it simply be that…
      • …Mary Magdalene and the other women originated the report by honestly mistaking an empty tomb for Jesus's, and infecting their church etc. with their blunder?

      1. We know the report was not a lie because any would-be liar would have inevitably been a Christian. This is relevant because Christians in general would not spin a lie that Jesus's body was gone.
  • People were saying “He resurrected!”

      The Apostles, Paul, Mary, etc. proclaimed that “Jesus has been eschatologically resurrected from the dead!” In other words…

      • …“he's resurrected,” says Peter.
      • …“he's resurrected,” says Paul. [Forthcoming]
      • …“he's resurrected,” says Mary. [Forthcoming]
      • …“he's resurrected,” says James. [Forthcoming]

      This is relevant because they would not believe that Jesus resurrected if his body was not considered missing.

      But, so what? Couldn't it simply be that…
      • …they were lying. [Forthcoming]
      • …they assumed it merely after mistakenly thinking they met with him

  • Jesus physically resurrected

      See: After having died, was Jesus eschatologically “resurrected”?1 This is relevant because a resurrection (as defined and defended) was essentially a physical, grave-emptying resurrection of the body.

      1. Note: By resurrection here we mean a “physical" resurrection (which is incidentally what “resurrection” (ἀνάστασις) always meant in the ancient world).
  • Reasons given for answering "No"
  • “Jesus had not died”
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