Jesus's body was absent from the tomb in which it was placed.
This page debates 6 arguments:
This is relevant because it suggests the body was missing in general. After all, for contemporaries, aside from the tomb in which the body was laid, there is no other place the body could be expected to naturally reside.
Jerusalem critics of Christianity never displayed the unresurrected body of Jesus.
This page analyzes 3 arguments:
This suggests the body was missing, because if it were not missing, critics of Christianity would have displayed the corpse.
But so what, plausibly…
- 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.]
- 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.]
In AD 30, The Jerusalem Church's official position was that “Yes, Jesus's body is gone!”.
This page debates 6 arguments, namely:
This suggests the body was missing because their belief was likely formed in warranted ways that inspire confidence, and would be further secured by their own internal investigations.
It was an original honest report that “Jesus's body is gone/missing,” which culminated in the gospels etc. reporting that it went missing.
This page debates 3 arguments:
This suggests the body was missing because, if there is no plausible liar-type to spin a missing-body lie, then it lends credibility to the hypothesis that it the belief and claim were formed in more natural and warranted ways, like visual confirmations that the body was not in the universally expected location.
The Apostles, Paul, Mary, and other Christians in Jerusalem were loudly proclaiming that “Jesus has been raised from the dead!”
This is relevant because they would not believe that Jesus resurrected if his body was not considered missing, or if this was not an intellectually feasible option given the presence of the entombed body.1
But, so what? Couldn't it simply be that…
- Wolfhart Pannenberg: “How could Jesus’ disciples in Jerusalem have proclaimed his resurrection if they could be constantly refuted merely by viewing the grave in which the body was interred?” [Jesus - God and Man (Westminster, 1983), 100.]