c. A.D. 30, the Jerusalem church's official position was that “yes, Mary did discover Jesus's tomb empty.” This is relevant because the A.D. 30 Jerusalem church's beliefs on this issue were most likely formed in a way that inspires confidence.
By c. A.D. 70, Mark's official position 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]
The Christian(s) who started the report that “Mary discovered Jesus's tomb empty” were not lying.[Forthcoming] 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?.
• 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]
“The earliest Christians did not believe that Mary witnessed Jesus's tomb empty. If this is true, it is relevant because, given that Mary did witness Jesus's tomb empty, the earliest Christians would have learned it from her directly or indirectly (such that they would say she witnessed it).”
Mary would not choose to re-visit the tomb of Jesus. 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.