Gospel Contradictions: When Did the Women Buy Spices For Jesus’ Burial?

Image result for images women bring spices for Jesus burial

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body.

–Mark 16

This man [Joseph of Arimathea] went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. … It was the day of Preparation, and the sabbath was beginning.[o]55 The women who had come with him from Galilee followed, and they saw the tomb and how his body was laid. 56 Then they returned, and prepared spices and ointments.  On the sabbath they rested according to the commandment.

–Luke 23

 

So Mark tells us that the women bought the spices after the Sabbath and Luke tells us they prepared the spices before the Sabbath.  What???

Beyond this contradiction, think about this:  If Joseph and Nicodemus applied 100 pounds of spices to Jesus’ body as John states (four pounds more than applied to the body of King Herod the Great!), and Mark’s women followed Joseph (and Nicodemus”) to the tomb as Mark indicates, why would Mark and Luke’s women prepare even more spices?  In addition, how did Mark and Luke’s women expect to get into Matthew’s sealed tomb, guarded by Matthew’s Roman soldiers???

These stories are not harmonizable.

Neither eyewitnesses nor the associates of eyewitness wrote these four stories, my friends!

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39 thoughts on “Gospel Contradictions: When Did the Women Buy Spices For Jesus’ Burial?

  1. So, what does that mean to you, that these “stories about spices” are not harmonizable?

    It doesn’t mean much to me, but then, I don’t figure the Gospels are anything but written-down versions of the “Jesus story” that was already floating about in various communities.

    Is it supposed to mean something that the spice stories aren’t harmonizable? Like, what?

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    1. To moderate and liberal Christians, these contradictions are insignificant, as you say. To these Christians, it makes no difference to the central claim of the Gospels: that Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead. However, to fundamentalists, no contradiction, great or small, can exist in the Bible. So even though this particular contradiction might be insignificant to the majority of Christians, it is a silver spike into the heart of fundamentalist biblical inerrancy.

      Now, as I have said before, any two contradictory accounts can be harmonized if one tries hard enough. However, are these (desperate) harmonization attempts believable? Answer: that depends entirely on the gullibility of the reader.

      How could one (desperately) harmonize these two accounts? Answer: Luke is talking about a different group of women, not including Mary Magdalene!

      Not believable!

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  2. They bought them after the High Sabbath, and before the 7th day Sabbath. Inbetween Sabbaths they bought and prepared them. Bringing them early Sunday morning he had already risen. 3 days and 3 nights. Wednesday crucifixion (Christ our passover lamb, also preparation for the high sabbath), Thursday 1 (High sabbath day 1 of Matzah), Friday 2days in grave, Saturday (Sabbath) 3days in grave, and he was risen.
    The girls would have prepared the spices on “Friday”. However the world at that time hadn’t been converted to a Gregorian Calendar. From Sunset to Sunset is a day. Gen1:4.

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      1. This particular question about “who bought spices, and when” is one of those that I think is entire immaterial.

        I mean, unless you’re in some kind of legal proceeding in which the “spice buyer” is on trial, it really makes no difference. If, on the other hand, you’re in a legal proceeding that needs to determine if spices were indeed bought for Jesus’ burial, then, the point is made: Spices were, in fact, bought at some point for Jesus’ burial.

        As Gary well knows, I’m not a “big defender” of the “Gospels”. But, this level of picking them apart is almost ludicrous. It says nothing material about the event in question (Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection), and says far more about the author(s). (And if anybody asks – no, I don’t think God somehow “dictated” the Gospels to anyone, and I very seriously doubt that any of the Gospel writers were actual witnesses to the events)

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        1. I agree that these contradictions do not preclude that women bought spices for Jesus’ body at some point after his death, but they do support the scholarly consensus that:

          –the authors were not eyewitnesses.
          -their sources were probably not eyewitnesses.

          Therefore, we cannot trust the Gospels as reliable historical sources.

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  3. “Therefore, we cannot trust the Gospels as reliable historical sources.”

    I’d strongly suggest, then, that you simply don’t trust them as reliable historical sources. It’s a very, very easy thing to avoid doing. I certainly have no problem avoiding considering them as reliable historical sources. And, I’m a believer in “Jesus, resurrected”.

    As Ehrman says about the Gospels, they “…do contain valuable historical information about Jesus’s life and death, they also contain a good deal of material that is non-historical.”

    To me, the gospels – every one of them – is something like a movie about someone. Compare movies by different writers and directors, that are about the same (ancient) historical person, and while those movies might tell the same “story” (as best as it may be known), still, the details, and almost assuredly, the personality of the person depicted can be very different.

    But, those movies will not be any more accurate than the historical information that they are based on. If all that is known, historically, about King Richard III is that he had a deformed spine, did X, Y, and Z, and died in battle, then no movie ever made can be any more historically accurate than that. But, if that’s all the movie contained, it wouldn’t be terribly interesting reading.

    I’d suggest that, in the Gospels, the “core” of factual information about Jesus is probably a considerable amount, and a good deal of it may have been based on “proto-gospels” and other, shorter writings. But – I don’t believe that ALL the info in the Gospels is historically reliable, by any means. I think it’s very reasonable to believe that, for example, the conversation that happened between Pilate and Jesus, in any of the Gospels, was just “made up”. But, I’d also suggest that if it were just “made up”, still, it was made up in a way that would have been consistent with what was known about the character of the person, Jesus.

    But, I think you’re safe in thinking the Gospels are not historically reliable.

    I also think, though, that to use that as a reason for not believing in the resurrection of Jesus is like concluding that Ferrari is a bad car simply because someone did a real bad job on writing the Users Manual…

    HOWEVER – I’m not saying that YOU reject the resurrection on that basis. But, believe it or not, I actually know people that DO reject the resurrection (as an historical basis) simply because the Gospels aren’t “historically reliable”.

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    1. Without the Gospels, Christians have no evidence that anyone claimed to have seen a resurrected body. The real “appearances” could have involved mistaken identities, illusions, and vivid dreams.

      Without the Gospels, the evidence for a once in history bodily resurrection of a brain-dead corpse becomes incredibly weak.

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      1. Gary –

        I guess you haven’t read up much on the topic, but a “resurrection” means a “resurrected body”.

        Paul was most assuredly talking about a resurrected body.

        In claiming Jesus as Messiah, the “claimants” were testifying to a living, resurrected body. (Including Paul).

        You seem to think that because the Gospels aren’t considered “historically reliable”, that somehow, that means that there is simply nothing in them that is, in fact, historical.

        Both the Gospels and Paul say that Jesus appeared to Peter, then to “the twelve”.

        We have, in the Gospels, claims that Jesus was indeed seen alive, bodily, and touch-able, and conversant.

        Nobody on earth has made the authoritative declaration that “the accounts of Jesus, resurrected, found in the Gospels are entirely fabricated”.

        And, again, quoting Ehrman, the Gospels “…do contain valuable historical information about Jesus’s life and death, they also contain a good deal of material that is non-historical.”

        Is the info in the Gospels regarding Jesus’ resurrection, and in particular, the encounters with Jesus, historical or not?

        That’s the DEBATE, Gary, and, that debate isn’t over by simply saying “the Gospels aren’t historically reliable”.

        You really need to understand what that phrase does, and does not mean.

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        1. [deleted]

          Question 1: Must one see a resurrected body to believe that a resurrection has occurred? Answer: No. Millions of Christians today believe that a resurrection occurred 2,000 years ago yet not one of them has seen a resurrected body.

          Question 2: Must one SEE a resurrected body to (at some point in time) believe that a resurrected body has appeared to them?

          You CANNOT give a definitive “yes” to this question. Why? Because we have ZERO confirmed eyewitness testimony of ANYONE who believed that Jesus had appeared to them claiming to have seen a body.

          In fact, we only have ONE eyewitness who claims that Jesus body was resurrected—Paul. For all we know, the rest of the “eyewitnesses” originally claimed to have seen a “risen Jesus”, and only later were these experiences re-interpreted as appearances of a “resurrected Jesus”. You nor anyone else can prove that the original eyewitnesses ever claimed that they had seen a literal resurrected body.

          Without eyewitness testimony of ANYONE claiming to have seen a body, the evidence for the bodily resurrection of Jesus is piss poor. Your attempts to circumvent this logical conclusion demonstrates just how desperate you are to hold onto to your comforting superstitions.

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          1. Gary –

            I’m not going to dignify this kind of post. You’ve threatened to boot me off the site for getting insulting, demeaning or beligerant.

            You want to stop being such a hypocrite, and dispense with stuff like “are you dense?”, then I’ll be happy to talk to you about the rest of your response.

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            1. You’re right. I will delete “are you dense”. I apologize.

              I will rephrase: I feel your position on this issue is incomprehensible and indefensible. You cannot prove that someone must see a resurrected body to (eventually) believe that they have received an appearance by a resurrected person.

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  4. OK… thanks.

    Now, regarding your post, I have a question: Why is it all that important to you whether any of the Gospel accounts were (or, were not) written by “eyewitnesses”? I mean, there have been literally hundreds of thousands (if not more) criminal cases that resulted in “guilty” verdicts without any eyewitnesses at all.

    In civil cases, decisions are rendered on a “preponderance” of evidence, yet, it may be that there are no eyewitnesses at all to a given event. A husband cheats on a wife, she files for divorce, claiming “infidelity”, but it may be that nobody ever saw the “act of indiscretion” itself. Maybe there’s only a “love letter” or two, some lipstick on the collar, a few photos taken of the husband and his mistress entering a motel. But, no eyewitnesses to their sexual acts at all.

    You seem to think that “no eyewitnesses” is some kind of “ace in the hole”.

    But, I don’t get that. I realize it would be great if there were “autograph documents” written by, say, Peter, in which he described the resurrection-related events. But, NOT having those documents does NOT mean that there simply is “no case”.

    Do you think “no eyewitnesses” is some kind of “end all” or something?

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    1. Do you think “no eyewitnesses” is some kind of “end all” or something?

      Yes, the fact that we have no confirmed eyewitness testimony of anyone claiming to have seen a “resurrected body” makes a HUGE difference.

      Most of us believe every day claims without much evidence. If I make the claim that I saw a red car yesterday, most people would take my word for it without demanding any corroborating evidence. However, if I claim that I saw Adolf Hitler’s Mercedes parked in my drive way yesterday, I would bet that most everyone would insist on corroborating evidence for this very unusual claim. (It is possible that one of Hitler’s cars still exists, but most people would be very dubious that one was parked in my driveway yesterday.)

      But what if I claimed that I personally didn’t see this car, but my neighbor “Joe Blow” says he saw it. I will bet that even fewer people will consider the factuality of this claim because it is not being made by an eyewitness.

      Now, what if I claimed that my neighbor Bob told me that Hitler’s Mercedes was parked in my driveway yesterday, and Adolf Hitler himself took him for a test spin, including a flight, in Hitler’s car, to the moon.

      Although eyewitness testimony is stronger and more believable to most people than hearsay, the more outlandish the claim, the less likely that even eyewitness testimony will be seen as believable by most people.

      Your “Resurrection of Jesus” story is not equivalent to a “Divorce based on infidelity” story. It is equivalent to someone claiming to have flown to the moon in Hitler’s Mercedes with Hitler driving!!! They are not comparable. One claim is very common. One claim is unheard of and defies everything we know about how the universe operates. The fact that the only accounts we do have of people allegedly seeing a resurrected body come from non-eyewitnesses makes them very, very non-credible to most non-Christians.

      That is where your argument falls apart.

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  5. I’m pretty sure most people would readily agree that corroborated, eyewitness testimony is some of the strongest evidence you can have.

    I’m also absolutely positive that most any legal professional, including prosecutors, police, judges and the FBI, would also insist that it’s hardly the only valid kind of evidence.

    The question, regarding Jesus’ resurrection, is not really a question of “what evidence do WE have”, but rather, “what evidence did THEY have, back then?”

    Nope, this isn’t a “dodge” or “rationalization”. Look up the case of Jimmy Phillips, ca 1885. He was accused of murdering his wife, Eula. And, in fact, he was found guilty. But, his guilty verdict was overthrown by the Court of Appeals. A hundred years later, there are still articles and books written about the case (and if you google “Jimmy Phillips murder trial”, you’re sure to find info). People are, to this day, still trying to figure out that “mystery” of who really killed Eula. BUT – we just don’t have ANY of the evidence at all. It’s all long-gone. All we have is earlier writings about the case. I don’t think a court transcript is even available any longer (but I could be wrong). I think the only things left are newspaper writings, basically.

    So, people are still trying to figure out exactly what happened to Eula. And, we have writings about the event. But, to the best of my knowledge, there are no “written testimonies of eyewitnesses” left.

    In Other Words: We Can’t Know What They Knew Back Then.

    What we have, regarding Jesus resurrection, are writings about the event. Paul says he saw Jesus. He quotes a creed that the vast majority of scholars date to between one to three years after the crucifixion, which claims that first Peter, then “the twelve”, then others, “saw” Jesus. And we know that Paul proclaimed a bodily resurrection, and we know that Paul’s gospel message was “approved” by the leadership in Jerusalem (ie, Peter, James and John) as being correct.

    An historian of ancient history HAS to use his/her imagination and reasoning, and must make inferences to reach conclusions. That’s the job of an historian of antiquities.

    The vast majority of scholars acknowledge that the disciples must have had some profound experience, or must have seen something that cause them to believe that Jesus was resurrected.

    But, here’s the deal: People “believe” things all the time that aren’t true (and hallucinations fall into this category). However, it’s impossible to know something unless it’s true.

    Peter, James, John and Paul were claiming to know Jesus had been resurrected, and that is made perfectly clear in their claim that Jesus is the Messiah.

    If you had asked Peter, “do you believe Jesus was resurrected, or do you know he was resurrected?”, Peter’s response would have to be “I know he was resurrected”, because if he only “believed” it, he could not claim Jesus as Messiah without being a liar. If Peter just “believed” that Jesus was resurrected, then the best he could have said is that “…and for that reason, I also believe he may be Messiah”. But, that is clearly not the declaration of the NT writings.

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    1. What we have, regarding Jesus resurrection, are writings about the event. Paul says he saw Jesus. He quotes a creed that the vast majority of scholars date to between one to three years after the crucifixion, which claims that first Peter, then “the twelve”, then others, “saw” Jesus. And we know that Paul proclaimed a bodily resurrection, and we know that Paul’s gospel message was “approved” by the leadership in Jerusalem (ie, Peter, James and John) as being correct.

      Paul never says that he saw Jesus of Nazareth. He simply says, “Have I not seen the Christ.” How do you know that he didn’t “see” the “Christ” in a vision (vivid dream)? As far as Peter and the other disciples, the Early Creed does NOT say that they “saw” Jesus. It states that Jesus “appeared” to them. For all we know, each of them saw a bright light in their bedroom and believed it to be an “appearance” of the resurrected Jesus. The fact that you don’t think that is probable is irrelevant. You are using the logical Fallacy of Incredulity.

      In addition, we have zero evidence that the Church in Jerusalem approved Paul’s message other than what an anonymous author wrote in “The Acts of the Apostles”. For all we know, Peter and the other disciples were whom Paul referred to as the “Judaizers” and they were calling Paul a “liar”, an accusation that he was forced to frequently deny. I have found that people who must repeatedly defend themselves against the accusation of being a liar…frequently are liars.

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    2. The vast majority of scholars acknowledge that the disciples must have had some profound experience, or must have seen something that cause them to believe that Jesus was resurrected.

      I do not disagree with the majority of scholars (on this issue or any other).

      But just because someone believes that they “know” something, does not mean they do. They can be mistaken. I am suggesting that the disciples were mistaken. They saw something, but that something was not a resurrected body. They at some point came to believe that the something (a mistaken identity, an illusion, a person in a vivid dream) they had seen was a resurrected person, but they never actually saw a resurrected body in reality.

      Do you understand that and see it as plausible (even if you don’t believe it)?

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  6. re: ” I am suggesting that the disciples were mistaken. They saw something, but that something was not a resurrected body. They came to believe that that something (a mistaken identity, an illusion, a person in a vivid dream) was a resurrected person, but they never saw a resurrected body in reality.

    Do you understand that and see it as plausible (even if you don’t believe it)?”

    Of course I understand it, Gary. And, I can even see it as plausible. I just don’t see it as more plausible than the “resurrection story”.

    If it were that easy to turn bright lights or shadows on the wall into a “resurrection story”, then we should know of thousands of such stories, because (as you well know) such “hallucinations” and even “mistaken identities” (based on a strong desire to see a lost loved-one again) are extremely common.

    But, they don’t get turned into resurrection stories.

    A girls body went missing from a funeral home in San Antonio, just a couple of years ago. She was dead, she had loved ones, and her body “disappeared”. It didn’t get turned into a resurrection story. It got turned into a million-dollar lawsuit, and an ongoing FBI investigation.

    In the ’90’s (I think it was), a family went to exhume the body of a deceased relative (a daughter, I think it was). They dug up the grave, and lo and behold, it was empty. That didn’t get turned into a resurrection story, either.

    There have been literally millions of young men lost in war over the centuries, who’s bodies were never accounted for. Some of them had grieving Moms and Dads who had hallucinations. But, none of them got turned into resurrection stories.

    So, how “plausible” can this “bright lights and shadows on the wall, becoming a resurrection story” really be???

    THAT’s my big question…

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    1. Of course I understand it, Gary. And, I can even see it as plausible. I just don’t see it as more plausible than the “resurrection story”.

      Thank you. So you believe that a natural explanation for the Resurrection of Jesus belief is plausible, just not more probable than a resurrection. Good. We are getting somewhere. That is more than what a lot of Christians are willing to admit. Many Christians claim that a natural explanation is not plausible, which is just mind-boggling to me.

      So why hasn’t anyone else in human history (that we know of) claimed that a dead corpse has been resurrected? I would suggest this has to do with a person’s culture.

      Jesus and the disciples lived in a culture and era in which many people believed in the concept of a resurrected body. So the claim that Jesus’ dead body had been resurrected did not come out of thin air. It came from their cultural milieu. What was new was the claim that ONE righteous person had been resurrected and not EVERYONE. But this is what is expected in the emergence of a new sect: a belief of the mother religion is “tweaked” just enough for them to be considered a “cult” and are then cast out of the mother religion.

      Although other cultures then and now may not use the term “resurrection”, many cultures have humans coming back from the dead as visible spirit bodies and even humans dying and becoming immortal gods. What is the difference between a resurrected body and an “immortalized” body? In the first century there would not have been any difference whatsoever except that “pagans” would not have (usually) imagined that a deceased human body could be touched. In addition, they would not believe that a dead body can come back to life as Trinitarian Christians claim about Jesus. Neither would they believe, as you do, that the dead human body disappears and the immortal body takes its place.

      In the Roman world, dead people’s bodies stayed dead but their souls could appear to their loved ones and friends, could eat food, could drink wine, and could even have sex with humans!!!

      As I said above, usually, dead people could not be touched in pagan religions of the Roman empire. And that is why I believe that some of the later Gospels authors turned Jesus’ resurrected body into something that could be touched. These stories were fictitious works of apologetics—attempting to stave off the claim that the disciples had simply seen a spirit (a ghost), which apparently was a common phenomenon in that time period.

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    2. So, how “plausible” can this “bright lights and shadows on the wall, becoming a resurrection story” really be???

      For you, not plausible. For me and most skeptics, very plausible.

      Superstitious human beings believe the darndest things! Just do a google search on “world superstitions”.

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  7. re: “Jesus and the disciples lived in a culture and era in which many people believed in the concept of a resurrected body. So the claim that Jesus’ dead body had been resurrected did not come out of thin air. It came from their cultural milieu. ”

    Yes, and, there had been numerous other “Messiahs” that had come along and died in their “Messiah-ship”. Bar Kochba and Theudas are two such “Messiah claimants” that died “on the job” (so to speak), and both were within a hundred years of the time of Jesus. And, neither got “resurrected”.

    In fact, to the best of my knowledge, there is no other Jewish claim of anyone having been resurrected. So, evidently, the cultural milleu in favor of “claiming resurrection” wasn’t all that strong. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be any evidence to support it.

    re: “Although other cultures then and now may not use the term “resurrection”, many cultures have humans coming back from the dead as visible spirit bodies and even humans dying and becoming immortal gods.”

    Name one known, historical person who was claimed, by those who knew him personally, to have been resurrected in a fashion that might be understood as (essentially) the same as “Jewish resurrection” – a bodily resurrection.

    I mean, you’re saying in your message that (apparently) no examples exist: “In the first century there would not have been any difference whatsoever except that “pagans” would not have (usually) imagined that a deceased human body could be touched. In addition, they would not believe that a dead body can come back to life as Trinitarian Christians claim about Jesus. Neither would they believe, as you do, that the dead human body disappears and the immortal body takes its place.”

    Compare apples to apples, Gary. Don’t just throw out “ghost stories” and claim they’re like a bodily resurrection.

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    1. Yes, and, there had been numerous other “Messiahs” that had come along and died in their “Messiah-ship”. Bar Kochba and Theudas are two such “Messiah claimants” that died “on the job” (so to speak), and both were within a hundred years of the time of Jesus. And, neither got “resurrected”.

      Very true. But none of these other messiah-pretenders had an unexplained empty grave. Jesus did.

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    2. Compare apples to apples, Gary. Don’t just throw out “ghost stories” and claim they’re like a bodily resurrection.

      A resurrection of a dead body was a uniquely Jewish belief. Just because a belief is unique does that make it true???

      If Jesus had been a Mayan and neither he nor anyone in that culture had ever heard of the Jewish resurrection belief but soon after his death, some of his Mayan followers were saying that he had been bodily resurrected, that would be unique. The fact that Jesus’ Jewish followers believed he had been resurrected was not unique. The only thing unique were the circumstances of his alleged resurrection. But as I said above, that is the very definition of a cult: A new break off of the mother religion takes a belief from the mother religion and tweaks it to make a new version of the old belief.

      Romans believed that some of the Emperors were gods and were immortal. Roman and Greek gods were capable of eating, drinking, and having sex, even with humans. The only difference is that the Romans did not believe that the immortal body was the same as the dead body. That was a uniquely Jewish belief.

      And remember, the overwhelming majority of Jews rejected the resurrection of Jesus claim so the evidence must not have been very convincing.

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  8. re: “A resurrection of a dead body was a uniquely Jewish belief. Just because a belief is unique does that make it true???”

    Nope. Doesn’t make it true. And, I never said it did.

    I just asked you for one example of a “materially similar” bodily-resurrection story of a known, historic person, that was told by family and friends of the resurrected person. And, you can’t come up with any other example.

    Not only that, but you very much appear to agree that the story of Jesus’ resurrection is unique.

    So much for your nonsense about “other cultures”, blablabla.

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    1. I just asked you for one example of a “materially similar” bodily-resurrection story of a known, historic person, that was told by family and friends of the resurrected person. And, you can’t come up with any other example.

      I never claimed that other cultures had resurrection stories. What I said is that other cultures had stories of human beings becoming gods/ supernatural beings, in life, and after death; the Roman emperors for one example:

      https://www.jstor.org/stable/3141986?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents

      Yes, the family of the emperor were told that their husband, father, etc. was a supernatural being (a god), and from all accounts, the family believed this claim, no different than some of Jesus’ family being told that Jesus was a supernatural being (a god) and they believed it.

      If a Roman emperor could exist as an immortal god, after death, with the ability to eat, drink, and have sex with humans, I do not see any difference between that kind of “immortal body” and the Jewish Christian concept of a “resurrected body” in which a human being becomes a god after death, possessing magical powers while at the same time still being able to eat food.

      What is the difference other than the underlying theology??? How would an observer know the difference between a Roman “immortal” god and the Jewish Christian “resurrected” god? They both had supernatural qualities to their bodies and possessed magical powers. I see no difference other than the fact that Romans did not believe that the emperor’s original physical body transformed, it was his spirit that transformed. But so what? Both the Roman supernatural body and the Christian supernatural body could eat food and perform other human activities while at the same time having magical powers.

      No difference.

      Blah, blah, blah yourself.

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  9. Gary, Gary, Gary…

    You really don’t see the difference between a bodily resurrection and apotheosis? Seriously?

    OK…

    I guess I’m now talking to Gary the Mythologist or something….

    I’m outta here on this thread…

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  10. Earlier, I asked you for one example of a “materially similar” bodily-resurrection story of a known, historic person, that was told by family and friends of the resurrected person. And, you can’t come up with any other example.

    You responded “I never claimed that other cultures had resurrection stories. What I said is that other cultures had stories of human beings becoming gods/ supernatural beings, in life, and after death; the Roman emperors for one example…”, and you posted a link.

    I’m really curious: did you even read the information at the link you posted?

    If so, please explain to me: A according to that writing, in Roman thought,a body and a spirit both died, but, a spirit could be “raised from death”. In what way is that even remotely similar to bodily resurrection?

    I asked you not to trouble me with ghost tales and the like, and yet, you send me that link – which I foolishly read – only to find ghost tales. “Spirits living in a celestial realm”…

    What a waste of time…

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    1. How would an observer know the difference between a Roman spirit drinking wine (and having sex with a human) and a resurrected body eating broiled fish? How would these two visible entities appear different from one another so that a person could tell the difference?

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  11. re: “How would an observer know the difference between a Roman spirit drinking wine (and having sex with a human) and a resurrected body eating broiled fish? How would these two visible entities appear different from one another so that a person could tell the difference?”

    I wouldn’t know, Gary. I’ve never seen any ancient story of a Roman spirit drinking wine and having sex with a human. And you certainly haven’t shown me one. For all I know, you’re just making that up.

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    1. In early 2017 I reviewed a book about Greco-Roman after-life beliefs by scholar Gregory Riley. Check out what he says:

      https://lutherwasnotbornagaincom.wordpress.com/2017/01/19/yes-mary-katherine-ghosts-in-the-first-century-greco-roman-world-could-eat-broiled-fish-and-be-touched-a-review-of-gregory-rileys-resurrection-reconsidered-part-4/

      Here is a quote:

      Riley: “The dead were in the main conceived of as were the living: resting and waking, conversing with both the living and other dead, eating and drinking, and carrying on postmortem much as they had in life. Game boards, for example, were a common offering in tombs, along with dice. The dead were even able to engage in sex apparently, both among themselves and with the living.” pp. 53-54

      “Thus the dead could, on occasion and when necessary, physically touch for good or ill, and be touched by, the living.” p. 55

      “The souls of the dead could certainly interact with the living and with each other, in ways exactly analogous to normal life. Instances abound in which the dead were touched and touched others.” [an example is then given of an extensive account by the writer Lucian] p. 58

      “[Therefore] Jesus [as a ghost] could have been touched, if he so chose; Astrabacus and many other heroes had been.” p. 58

      Celsus [a skeptic] in the second century said this about a physical resurrection: “It is not possible that Jesus rose with his body. This is simply the hope of worms. For what sort of human soul would still desire a body that has rotted?” In [Celsus’] opinion, the reports of physical resurrection [in the Gospels] could not be true; they had to be either hysteria, dreams, hallucinations, or lies.

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  12. Nice info.

    So, I’m still waiting on an example of a known, historical character that was said to have been bodily resurrected by his family members and close friends.

    I don’t see any names in what you posted. What I see are comments – evidently, personal interpretations – of (I guess) other writings, presenting views that themselves might be quite inaccurate.

    For example, Celsus remarking “For what sort of human soul would still desire a body that has rotted?”, and demonstrating an astute lack of knowledge of what resurrection is, either in Jewish or in Christian thought.

    This tells me nothing except that there have been skeptics for a long time that misrepresent the very things they think they know something about.

    Still waiting for that one good example…

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  13. I totally get it.

    Religions. It’s all superstition. Everybody’s got some idea about “what happens when you die”, and the Jewish idea of resurrection is just their take on the same old superstition stuff. Once you die, then all kinds of “magical” stuff can happen: if you’re good, maybe you won’t get stuck in Sheol, or the dark underworld. Maybe you’ll make it to Elysium. If you’re REALLY good, maybe you’ll become a “god”, with all kinds of powers, virtually no limitations.

    It’s all the same truckload of BS. People just make up stuff to make themselves feel better, or to feel a little “comfort”, or to feel like maybe there’s something better waiting after this life (because this life sucks). Hades, Paradise, Heaven, Hell, Elysium, Nirvana, Tartaro, Diyu, Yomi, Vingolf… whatever. We become unencumbered spirits, we become gods, we become One With the Universal Consciousness… whatever.

    AND – the belief in a resurrection is just another one of these same kinds of superstitions.

    Except — this “resurrection” business is something we are told was fact, an actual, historical event, in the case of Jesus.

    Now, is that true? Did it happen? Because if it did, then, all the other BS notions ever conjured up by Man don’t make one bit of difference. All the “fictions” in the world don’t matter one bit, once the “real thing” has happened. Everybody’s imaginings about “landing on the moon” were made obsolete once Neil Armstrong set foot on the lunar surface. And, it could be the same thing here.

    That’s what YOU don’t get.

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    1. Absolutely. If Jesus truly was bodily resurrected then that is sufficient evidence to believe in bodily resurrections. But what is the evidence for Jesus’ alleged bodily resurrection??? All you seem to come up with is the theory that the family members of a dead person would never believe that he (or she) had been bodily resurrected just from the reports of other people; the family would have to see the resurrected body of their loved one themselves to believe this fantastical claim. You cite the fact that there are no other (documented) claims in history of family members believing that a dead loved one has appeared to them in a resurrected body as support for your position.

      The problem with your logic is:

      -You cannot prove that family members of a dead person would never be convinced that their loved one had been bodily resurrected just by hearing this report from someone else. You are making an assumption. We skeptics believe that it is much more plausible and probable that this is exactly what happened with Jesus’ brother James and other family members than that they actually saw a supernatural body. Superstitious people believe some of the darndest things!

      -just because no one else has claimed that a family member has been bodily resurrected doesn’t prove that this one claim (about Jesus) is historical fact. It is very probable that the reason why this claim has only been made once is for the following reasons:

      1. Resurrection of a dead body was a strictly Jewish concept. No other culture we know of on earth at the time had this concept. That fact that the alleged resurrection of Jesus was very different from the traditional Jewish belief about when and how the resurrection of the righteous dead would occur is simply a demonstration of what typically happens when a new religious sect is formed: They borrow a concept from the mother religion and then tweak it enough that they get kicked out of the mother religion as heretics/blasphemers.
      2. No Greek or Roman would have made such a claim because it was a disgusting concept to them. It would have been like saying, “I saw our beloved deceased Grandpa last night. His talked to me but he his body was bloated, he stank horribly, and there were worms devouring his rotting flesh!”
      3. Christians in later centuries would be reluctant to claim that a resurrection of a loved one has occurred because this would contradict Christian teachings that the resurrection of the dead will only happen at the Second Coming. Is it possible that a few nut jobs have made claims that someone has been “resurrected” from the dead? I will bet that if you look hard enough, you will probably find a few such stories.

      What we really need to look at is: How common was it for people in the first century to believe that they had seen a dead person, and then, how would people in different cultures interpret what they had seen in a “dead person sighting”? Would they report the same thing or something different interpreted through the lens of their culture?

      My next post will be on this subject.

      Like

  14. re: “You cannot prove that family members of a dead person would never be convinced that their loved one had been bodily resurrected just by hearing this report from someone else.”

    That’s never been my logic at all. You picked that up from somebody else, I guess….

    Like

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