Did Mary witness Jesus's tomb empty?

Reasons given for answering "Yes"
  • The Apostles et al. said she did
  • The Gospel of Mark's author said she did

      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]

      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.[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?.

      1. 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]
  • Reasons given for answering "No"
  • “The first Christians did not say Mary witnessed it”
  • “Mary would not re-visit Jesus's tomb”
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