Did Mary visit the wrong tomb (not Jesus's)?

“No, after all…
  • Graveclothes were inside
  • Jesus's tomb was recognizable

      Jesus's tomb was very intrinsically recognizable.1 This is relevant because, if the tomb was intrinsically recognizable, then it by definition would be hard to mistake for another.

      1. This should be granted for two reasons:
        • Jesus was observed to have been buried in a new tomb (Multiply attested. Mt 27:60, Lk 23:53, Jn 19:41-42), with no other occupants.
        • In general it was hard to mistake such tombs. From the tomb's golel (the blocking-stone) to its surroundings, there was a plethora variation in tombs.

        Robert Stein (NT professor): “…this was no Forest Lawn Cemetary-Jerusalem Branch, where one could mistake tomb 10,358 with look-alike tomb 18,494! This was a private burial tomb. We have no reason for concluding that there were similar tombs in the immediate area that could have been confused with this one.” [Jesus the Messiah (IVP, 1996), 267.]

  • Jerusalem church said so

      In c. AD 30, The Jerusalem Church's official position was that “yes, Mary did discover Jesus's tomb empty.” This is relevant because the Jerusalem church knew exactly where Jesus's corpse was placed after being crucified.

      C. E. B. Cranfield (NT scholar at Durham): “…it is difficult to imagine how [a wrong tomb] mistake would not have been quickly corrected.” [“The Resurrection of Jesus Christ.” in The Historical Jesus in Recent Reserch, eds. Dunn & McKnight (Eisenbrauns, 2005), 390.]