As someone else has said, there is a black hole in the history of Christianity between circa 30 AD, the date of the crucifixion, and circa 55 AD, the date of Paul’s first epistle. We have ZERO documents or texts—Christian, Jewish, Roman, or pagan—that describe the Christian movement during this time period. Zero. That is 25 years! Are we really to believe that a legend cannot develop in that time period, during the first century, when the overwhelming majority of people were uneducated, poor, superstitious, and desperate for hope?
Here is one possibility:
Jesus is buried in Arimethea’s tomb, but Saturday night, Arimethea moves the body with Pilate’s secret approval. The next morning the women find the stone rolled away and the tomb empty. Within days, disciples and followers of Jesus are having visions, hallucinations, and false sightings of Jesus, as in their minds, the empty tomb MUST mean that he has risen. THERE IS HOPE AFTERALL! Mass hysteria sets in, and within a few years an embellished resurrection story has taken on a life of its own.
The average life span in first century Palestine was 45 years old. A disciple who was twenty in 30 AD would be forty-five in 55 AD. If copies of Paul’s first epistle don’t arrive in Palestine until 60-70 AD, a large percentage of the original apostles and most other “witnesses” to the crucifixion would be dead! Paul says NOTHING about the historical Jesus in his first epistle or in ANY of his epistles, so who is going to cry, “Fraud!”?
Someone alive and present at the time of the crucifixion would need to live until circa 70 AD, and, get their hands on a copy of “Mark” to be able to say that the Christians were mistaken or that they were perpetrating an historical fraud, and all or almost all of the witnesses would be dead by this time!
We have zero proof that anyone was talking about an empty tomb until the author of Mark mentions it circa 70 AD! There is no way to say that the empty tomb is historical fact. This assertion can only be made based on assumptions and the opinion of (mostly Christian) scholars.
Why don’t Christians see that the hypothetical scenario I have presented above is much, much more likely to be what happened than that the bloated, decomposing body of a first century Jewish prophet was reanimated by an ancient Canaanite god to walk out of his grave to eat a broiled fish lunch???