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.]
• …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[?]
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 AD 30-70 Jerusalem church—led by Jesus’s apostles—was well-disposed to know immediately (or learn briefly after hearing it) whether these women as reported actually discovered Jesus’s tomb empty.
• They were super-adept and poised to know if it was false.
• They’d aim to know the truth of the matter.
• In general, they’d willed to know true Gospel history.
• They’d find the lie inherently worth investigating, since…
• …it'd be inherently suspicious.
• …it'd be costly to agree with.
• …it'd be easy to check on.
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]
A Christian liar would recoil at the thought of spinning a lie like this.
• Christians disliked lying in general.
• It’d be a stupidly falsifiable lie.
• It’d clearly corrupt Gospel history.
• It’d clearly choke fake apologetics.
• The liar would dislike others believing it.
• It’d clearly be disfavored by his audience.
But so what?
• …it comes down to an honest mistake: Mary blunderingly visited the wrong tomb—an empty one?
• Craig Evans: “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… [moreover it] stands in tension with resurrection expectations and supporting apologetics… [Jewish Burial Traditions and the Resurrection of Jesus: [Online at craigaevans.com/Burial_Traditions.pdf]
So for example, in focusing in on how Christians would dislike others believing it (given the stigma of depending on women):
>• Claudia Setzer: “Women's presence and testimony as witnesses to the empty tomb… after death seems an early and firmly entrenched piece of the tradition. Equally early and entrenched is the embarrassment around that fact. … Their discomfort hints at how firmly entrenched the tradition of women's involvement must have been, since the authors do not feel free to eliminate it.” [“Excellent Women: Female Witness to the Resurrection” Journal of Biblical Literature 116/2 (1997): 259, 268.]
The earliest Christians did not believe that Mary witnessed Jesus's tomb empty. [Full article].
• …Paul didn't believe it.
• …1 Cor. 15 creed originators didn't believe it.
Mary blunderingly thought the empty tomb she visited was Jesus's, when in fact is was another tomb entirely. [Full article.]
• …graveclothes were in the tomb Mary visited.
• …Jesus's tomb was recognizable.
• …the Jerusalem church kept saying it was correct.
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.