Did women—with Mary Magdalene—witness Jesus's tomb empty?

“Yes, after all…
  • The Jerusalem church said she did

      In AD 30, the Jerusalem church said Mary saw it Soon after Jesus was crucified in AD 30, the Jerusalem church (headed by the apostles) came to publicly maintain that, “Mary et. al. discovered that Jesus’s tomb was empty”[?] [Full article.]

      After all…
      • …the proposition's parts date to AD 30[?]
      • …Mk’s “they saw it!” material dates to AD 30[?]
      • …Mk’s “they saw it!” just relays the Jerusalem church’s report[?]
      • …Across AD 30-70, the Jerusalem church’s stance on this didn’t change
      • …Sundays became sacred to Christians[?]
      The relevance being called attention to here is this: the AD 30 church’s belief was grounded in and reflective of eyewitness testimony[?] The event was directly perceived.

      No, they weren’t saying that in AD 30…
      • …They didn’t even know of an empty tomb[?] (e.g. Paul didn’t[?])
      • …The 1 Cor 15 creeds’ originators would have mentioned it[?]
      • …Mk invented it[?]
      • …Mk 16:8 “[Mary] said nothing to anyone” is an excuse[?]

      So? If the AD 30 church was saying that, plausibly...
       • …Their belief is not grounded in eyewitness testimony[?]
         • They inferred it from Mary’s wrong-tomb blunder[?]
         • They just perpetuated a lie by…[?]
             • …the Jerusalem church itself[]
             • …Mary and the women[?]
             • …someone else[?])

  • The Gospel of Mark's author said she did

      By c. A.D. 70, the official position of the Markan community, or source behind the Gospel of Mark, was that “yes, Mary did discover Jesus's tomb empty.”1 This is relevant because Mark's church's beliefs on this issue were most likely formed in normal ways that inspire confidence.

      But, so what? Couldn't it simply be that…
      • …Mark was intentionally lying?2
      • …Mark was accidentally perpetuating a lie that he had fallen for?[Forthcoming]

      1. That Mark was publicly affirming Mary's discovery of the empty tomb should be granted because Mark reports it explicitly in Mk 16:5-6. On the other hand, occasional skeptics object by saying that Mark's report was not meant to be taken as a truth-claim about what historically happened, insisting that it is of a “non-historical genre”.
        By way of response, however, this is unlikely for three reasons:
        i) The report was not patterned after myth, neither OT/Jewish[Forthcoming], nor Greco-Roman[Forthcoming],
        ii) Most/all Markan reports are decidedly historical genre[Forthcoming],
        iii) The report in question appeals to the Mary Magdalene et al. as his living eyewitness sources[Forthcoming], which is a distinguishing feature of historical genre.
      2. Could Mark have intentionally be lying? Perhaps Mark lied to establish that Jesus's tomb was empty, as evidence for Jesus's resurrection. In response, however, see: Mark's general account of Mary's empty tomb discovery (Mk 16:1-8) was not a lie.[Forthcoming]
  • The originator of the “Mary saw it” report wasn't lying

      The Christian(s) who started the report that “Mary discovered Jesus's tomb empty” were not lying.1 This is relevant because the most natural remaining options for how the belief was formed are the normal ways which properly inspire confidence.

      But, so what? Couldn't it simply be that Mary blunderingly started the report, thinking she visited Jesus's tomb when in fact she visited a wrong one that was empty?

      1. A dedicated article is forthcoming, but at first pass this should be granted. After all, few/no Christians would see sufficient reason to spin such a lie.[Forthcoming] For example,

        Craig Evans (NT professor, Dead Sea Scolls Inst. Founder): “The story of the women who witness Jesus’ burial and then return early Sunday to anoint his body smacks of historicity. It's hard to see why relatively unknown women would feature so prominently in such an important story if what we have here is fiction. But if the women's intention is to mourn privately, as Jewish law and custom allowed, and, even more importantly, to note the precise location of Jesus' tomb so that the later gathering of His remains of burial in His family tomb is possible, then we have a story that fits Jewish customs on the one hand and stands in tension with resurrection expectations and supporting apologetics on the other.” [Jewish Burial Traditions and the Resurrection of Jesus: [Online at craigaevans.com/Burial_Traditions.pdf]

  • “No, after all…
  • The first Christians did not say Mary witnessed it
  • Mary visited the wrong tomb
  • Mary would not re-visit Jesus's tomb

      Mary would not choose to re-visit the tomb of Jesus. [Full article.] This is relevant because in the absence of choosing to do this, she would not have been a witness discovering Jesus's tomb to be empty.