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DID THE WOMEN STEAL THE JESUS CORPSE? 

The gospels say that a miracle man called Jesus Christ lived. They say he died by crucifixion and three days later he rose again. The tomb he was placed in was found wide open, by women, with the stone that had been across the entrance moved back and the tomb was mysteriously empty. His body was gone. The gospels never say that anybody saw the body rising or coming out of the tomb.

 

No evidence is given that he wasn’t stolen. Women at the tomb could have taken the body. The gospels fail to refute the idea that the women stole the body of Jesus from the tomb. In fact they don’t even try!

 

The women supposedly said that angels appeared to them at the tomb and told them Jesus was alive again. 

 

If x murders y then why not start saying angels appeared and said x did not murder y?  You would only say that if you had no credible witnesses or if you were lying.

 

The Christians say that if Jesus was simply resuscitated then we should not base a religion on that and it won't change lives and hearts. A resurrected Jesus to them means one that is alive and transformed into something glorious. A resurrected Jesus has spiritual and moral significance for us. He is our salvation and he internally transforms us to free us from sin and he once was dead but is now safe from all harm and indestructible with supernatural powers and is full of glory.

 

The women were never claimed to be witnesses of the resurrection. It is never said that they testified and experienced the glorious Jesus. Seeing a man who was dead a few days before is seeing a resuscitated man not necessarily a resurrected one.

 

We must remember as well that even if some of the visions were authentic, there will always be those who have visions that are not authentic. So which is which? Its not always clear. Think of Lourdes where a girl claimed visions of the Virgin Mary and soon others started having visions too but which were not recognised by any authority as supernatural.
 

 

HOW MANY WOMEN AND ANGELS?

 

The gospels have women going to the tomb finding the stone rolled back. John seems to think only Magdalene was there.  Christians say that many stories are incomplete and there is nothing wrong with that for perhaps space and time can be a consideration. That is why they state that one gospel mentioning only one woman at the tomb does not mean the gospel thinks she was the only one there. The gospel of John gives no hint that more than one woman was at the tomb when it was found to be open. It is argued that when the woman, Magdalene, ran to Peter and John she said that the body of Jesus had been removed and we do not know where they have taken him (John 20:2). Who is the we? It could be that they were discussing where Jesus could have been taken so the we could mean Peter and John. She does not say the we refers to those who were at the tomb. It would be odd to say one woman is there and then mention we meaning others. It is funny how the Church is interested in the we but has little interest in the they who were thought to have taken the body.

 

The fact remains that even if Jesus had risen a crime, grave robbery, was a possibility even if a remote one.  It would have been a crime in the eyes of the people who did not believe Jesus rose.  Thus if a gospel says there was one woman there it means there was one woman there for too many women raises the question, "Were they they guilty party if there was a grave robbery?"  What if a whole gang of women had been there?  Given the way Christians reason there is nothing to eliminate that.

Matthew says two Marys went to the tomb and one angel told them Jesus was alive. In Mark the women go inside the tomb where they see one angel. In Luke there are two angels inside who tell them. Only Magdalene minus the angel gets a mention in John. The Christians say there is no conflict but only giving details omitted by the others but the gospels would not have people bewildered and surmising that it is an excuse to say these were contradictions and you don’t write books to make people believe and leave out mention of how many angels and witnesses there were. The gospels don’t say if this conflicting information came from the women which makes us agnostic. The fact that that if it did then the women could not tell the truth makes us move from agnosticism to scepticism. They proved themselves willing to lie and get into trouble for it so they could have given birth to the lie that they did not move the body and the lie of the resurrection.

 

The Gospel of John being the latest gospel could have changed the story from a number of women at the tomb to one to avert suspicion that the women robbed the tomb.  Mary blames some "they" for stealing the body which could be an attempt to send everybody off on the wrong scent.  It is all very suspicious especially when she does not say who the suspects were!
 
WHY SUSPECT THE WOMEN?

If there were women at the tomb they might have been behind the disappearance of the body and the resurrection fraud.
 
If the stone were movable by one man as the gospels suggest then the women could have moved it.
 
We read that Joseph of Arimathea rolled the stone across the opening of the tomb (Matthew 27:60). You don’t speak of one man pushing John off a building when it would take two and when there were two. The Christians say the gospel is only mentioning Joseph but there must have been others too. Is that likely? Of course not. When Matthew gave the impression one man could move the stone in an account meant to show that Jesus came back from the dead it must have been one man. Why not mention that there were others? You would if you want your account to show the reader that the tomb was secure. It would be mad to say that a body miraculously vanished from a tomb that was easy to get in to.
 
If it is true as Matthew claims that the Jews feared a resurrection report, they would not have let very many people deal with the body of Jesus for the more people there are the more chance there is of the body being taken away elsewhere and then proclaimed missing. In Mark 15 we read that Joseph took Jesus from the cross, he could have done that alone, and then he rolled the stone across his tomb implying that the context indicates he was working alone. Luke 23 talks the same way, notice how at verses 55, 56 that the women saw how the body was laid out. This is to give the impression that this was witnessed by the women, he wants to give evidence. There were no other men when he chose women as witnesses for the Jews don’t like female witnesses. However John adds Nicodemus as a witness. If one or two men could work with the stone the women could have moved it themselves and stolen the body.
 
If the Jews had feared a resurrection report as the Matthew gospel says then why did they appoint a guard to stop the apostles stealing the body and saying he rose? It would have been easier if they had put the body out of the public eye and where the disciples could never find it. There were no guards which opens the way for us to ask if the women might have stolen the Jesus corpse.

A visit of the women to do pointless anointing would show they were up to something. The Womb and the Tomb, page 113, tells us that everybody believed that decomposition set in on the third day making it unlikely for anybody to return to Jesus’ tomb to start or complete the anointing. It was too late then. If there were guards they intended to lie to them about the purpose of their visit. Lazarus was only in his tomb four days and the gospel says he would have smelled by then. After what Jesus had been through decomposition and the stench would have set in quicker particularly when Jesus was not interred at the frosty time of year. It would have happened in April. That tells us why we cannot treat the view that the women came to make sure Jesus was dead for there was a tradition among some that the body had to be checked on the third day to make sure it was dead with any seriousness. The tradition was only for people who died naturally though occasionally practiced for those who had not. But Jesus’ death had been certified by the Romans.

Why did the women go to the tomb so early in the morning? Why did they need to be sure nobody was about? The tomb was already known to be Jesus’ so why worry about drawing attention to the tomb? And they were seen at the funeral so why worry about people seeing them on Sunday. They were hoping to perform some misdeed.

If the women were going to tell the guards that they were going to anoint they would have been disbelieved and punished or blackmailed to say something incriminating against themselves or the disciples because it was obvious that they were lying. Women who would tell stupid and deadly lies could race to the apostles and start a resurrection rumour.

The women went too early to the tomb. And everybody was ashamed of Jesus so he had no fans so it was not to avoid the crowds but to do some mischief when nobody was about. It is possible that the women had got wind that something was up and they visited the tomb to check up on it. If so this could be evidence that they knew of people who were planning to steal the body.

The gospel says that the women wondered on the way how they were going to get the tomb opened. This is accidentally accusing them of telling a lie for only the women could reveal that. And it was a lie because they would not have went to the tomb without being sure there was somebody to help them or that they would have been permitted to enter. Why couldn’t their brothers or sons or husbands have come along? The ladies might have said they wondered for they desired people to think they could not move the stone themselves and they did not ask anybody to help them for they only knew anti-Jesus people. At least it shows there could have been no guards there for they would have heard about it in the city if there were. It is possible that the tomb was seen open from a distance and that was why they went out to it without helpers. But that scenario leads to the view that a robbery could have transpired.

 


Perhaps the tomb had not been closed right or aftershocks from the quake had shifted the rock? The gospels never report that it was closed right. The Turin Shroud is Genuine states that tombs were not closed fully for the first few days. When Matthew says that the angel sat on the stone and Mark and Luke say the women met the angel and a mate inside the tomb it could mean that the stone fell inside the tomb for the angel to sit on. (Perhaps it was the quake or it was a bit of the cave came away that supported the stone and with it gone the stone fell inside.) That is one way to reconcile the differences and enables the women to move and hide the body. But the women could have moved the stone themselves especially if there were at least five of them like Luke says. In John, Magdalene says she can carry the corpse herself so she must have been a strong lady even if Jesus was a small man. There is no evidence that she was mad when she said this so we must take her word for it.

The guards would not have let the women enter the tomb if they were there though the gospels say they were in it so when they went inside the tomb was unprotected against tricksters and thieves. There is no evidence given that the body was gone by the time the women came. The guards could have wrongly assumed it had vanished and fled leaving somebody free to take the body. Remember, the guards were reported to have had a terrible shock at the tomb and would have been dizzy. The women could have taken it. Magdalene alone could have done it which makes a laughing stock of attempts to dogmatise about a miracle happening.

Mark says the women said nothing at all to anybody about the happenings at the tomb for they were terrified. Morison assumes that this silence is not unconditional for it is part of a sentence the rest of which is lost (185). Mark continues with a conclusion that seems to have been created by a different author for the first version seems to have been lost. So the sentence in Mark could be broken. Perhaps it should be: the women said nothing about it for a while or the women said nothing about it to anybody except the apostles. But didn’t Jesus promise in Mark that his words would not pass away implying that nothing could be lost from any scriptures based on him? If words are really lost from the sentence then Mark’s gospel is not from God or Christ was a fake. Matthew and Luke are rubbish if Mark is for they are dependent on it. It is a sin to trust a doubtful source in matters pertaining to God who deserves all our love. That is really putting the source before him. So if we want to affirm divine inspiration we have to say that Mark says that the women never spoke about what happened. Perhaps the women never said anything at all at the time. That must be admitted. This gospel gives us no reason to believe that a miracle resulted in Jesus risign bodily from the dead leaving an empty tomb.

So if Mark is inspired the women did not tell. That means that the longer ending of Mark which says they did tell the apostles and any other gospel saying the same is inspired by the Devil. And we must remember the allegedly broken sentence could stand on its own and be complete. Christians blame a fault in the text when there is a contradiction in the Bible while insisting the original is the perfect word of God and as for those that cannot be explained with this lie they ignore them and pretend they do not exist.

Some say Mark only means the women did not tell anybody until they reached the apostles. But does it look like it meant that?

And when the women did not spread the news all over the city and run to the guards it proves that they were happy to let it be assumed that the disciples stole the body of Jesus from the tomb for what else would anybody think?

NO WOMEN AT TOMB

The women at the tomb is a complete fiction. If there were no women at the tomb then it is more likely that somebody could have opened the tomb and stole the body of Jesus or let him out. For it would be untrue that the Marys saw an angel open the tomb which was empty. Then it would be untrue that some of the apostles went to the tomb because of the women. And the women certainly were not there to anoint the body. The soldiers would be no argument against theft for Matthew never says that his belief that they knew Jesus had supernaturally vanished was verifiable and anyway it was unlikely to be. If there were no women then the angels and the visions and the apostles’ arrival at the tomb were invented.

If the women had really found the tomb empty they would have been blamed for taking the body and dealt with accordingly. And Mark and Luke state that they were inside the tomb which would increase the danger of their getting into trouble and being blackmailed by the bent authorities.

Female friends of Jesus would not have been near the tomb to anoint Jesus on Sunday morning especially if there were soldiers there. They could have been tortured to find out where the apostles were. The apostles were hiding in case what would happen to Jesus would happen to them for he was accused of crimes against the empire thus implicating them as well.

When the disciples had went into hiding would the women have been likely to visit the tomb and risk being captured and forced to tell where they were hiding?
 
There was no need for the women to come and anoint the body for Joseph of Arimathea had anointed and prepared the body for Jesus was buried according to the Jewish custom (John 19:39,40) and would have told them that for they were there. He would not have wanted anybody dragged back to the tomb when it was dangerous. To bury a body without oils and spices would have been scandalous (The Womb and the Tomb, page 115). Joseph could have had it done quickly for he had helpers so saying it was omitted because the Sabbath was near is silly. Would these followers of Jesus who detested Jewish scruples about the Sabbath rest have paid heed to them? If it was not done right perhaps somebody came to do it and discovered that Jesus was alive having survived the crucifixion and took him away. But it could have been done rapidly and still done correctly and several pairs of hands could have had it completed in five minutes. The bodies of criminals were usually dumped so Jesus might have been removed from the tomb to avoid this. Whoever did it could not admit it.

The gospel disagreement about the number of women at the tomb shows that they could have been lying about the women being there at all. At best, this observation commands us to be undecided and not to include the women in any argument for supernaturalism.

Jesus would have understood if they could not get to the tomb to finish the anointing. The women running to the apostles after what happened to the tomb could have blown the apostles’ cover. The whole thing is incredible and shows that much of the resurrection story is legendary. The fact that the stories don’t try to resolve the absurdities shows that they were kept secret until they were published and secrecy means embarrassment. Christians say that when the women were at the burial there was no need for them to hide. There was when they knew where the apostles were and the apostles believed themselves to be wanted men.

The women are not mentioned in Paul’s list of witnesses to the resurrection though the list was spelled out for those who accepted the testimony of women. This implies that the women were either incoherent and useless witnesses or their testimony was cooked up later for it would have been put in the list when the list was made to close up those Christians who had come to deny the resurrection of Jesus. Only the women could verify the reason for the tomb being empty for the apostles only saw the tomb after the tomb had been left with nobody about when anything could have happened. Had Paul believed in the empty tomb he would have had to give us the testimony of the women.
 
Conclusion
 
Assuming the gospels are truthful about the women at the tomb, they had the chance and the ability to steal the body.

FURTHER READING

Christianity for the Tough-Minded, Ed John Warwick Montgomery, Bethany Fellowship Inc, Minneapolis, 1973
Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Vol 1, Josh McDowell, Alpha, Scripture Press Foundation, Bucks, 1995
He Walked Among Us, Josh McDowell and Bill Wilson, Alpha, Cumbria, 2000
Jesus: The Evidence, Ian Wilson, Pan, London, 1985
The First Easter, What Really Happened? HJ Richards, Collins/Fount Glasgow, 1980
The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln, Corgi, London, 1982
The Jesus Event, Martin R Tripole SJ, Alba House, New York, 1980
The Jesus Inquest, Charles Foster, Monarch Books, Oxford, 2006
The Passover Plot, Hugh Schonfield, Element, Dorset, 1996
The Resurrection Factor, Josh McDowell, Alpha, Scripture Press Foundation, Bucks, 1993
The Resurrection of Jesus, Pinchas Lapide, SPCK, London, 1984
The Unauthorised Version, Robin Lane Fox, Penguin, Middlesex, 1992
The Second Messiah, Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas, Arrow, London, 1998
The Virginal Conception and Bodily Resurrection of Jesus, Raymond E Brown, Paulist Press, New York, 1973
The Womb and the Tomb, Hugh Montifiore, Fount – HarperCollins, London, 1992
Verdict on the Empty Tomb, Val Grieve Falcon, London, 1976
Who Moved the Stone? Frank Morison, OM Publishing, Cumbria, 1997
 
THE WWW

Still Standing on Sinking Sand, Farrell Till,
www.infidels.org/library/magazines/tsr/1997/1/1sink97.html

Why I Don’t Buy the Resurrection Story by Richard Carrier
www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/resurrection/index.shtml

A Naturalistic Account of the Resurrection, Brian Marston
http://www.phlab.missouri.edu/~c570529/PhilosoStop/resurrection.html
This site argues that somebody unknown stole the body to stop the apostles stealing it or venerating it and lost it and argues that the witnesses of the risen Jesus were lying because no effort was made by them to preserve first hand reports of what was seen and how and when. It supposes that the apostles had followed Jesus at great personal sacrifice and argues that since he was dead, they invented the resurrection to save face. Also the inclination of people at the time to believe in dying and rising gods may have overwhelmed them and made them lie to themselves that Jesus had risen. He answers the objection that a lie like that would need a large-scale conspiracy for lots of lies start off with a small group of people and if the lies are attractive other people will believe them. Plus he says that Jesus could have rigged events to make sure he would fulfil Old Testament prophecy so the Christians should not be saying the gospel story is true for it fits old prophecy. I would add that owing to the total absence of evidence that Jesus was nailed to the cross and the fact that the gospels never say any of his friends were close to the cross that Jesus might have been tied to it and the Christians later assumed he was nailed because the psalm seemed to say so.
 
The Case For Christianity Examined: Truth or Lies?
www.askwhy.co.uk/awstruth/ChristianCase.html

Historical Evidence and the Empty Tomb Story, A Reply to William Lane Craig by Jeffrey Jay Lowder
www.infidels.org/library/modern/jeff_lowder/empty.html

The Resurrection, Steven Carr
www.bowness.demon/co.uk/resr.htm

Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead? Dan Barker versus Mike Horner
www.ffrf.org/debates/barker_horner.html
 
Craig’s Empty Tomb and Habermas on the Post-Resurrection Appearances of Jesus
www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/indef/4e.html

Did a Rolling Stone Close Jesus’ Tomb by Amos Kloner
www.bib-arch.org/barso99/roll1.html

Who Moved the Stone? Review by Steven Carr,
www.bowness.demon.co.uk/stone.htm This tells us that if you assume that two contradictory books are true in all they say and try to make them fit you will manage it but the result will be contrived. You are really still assuming they are true and have no proof for it. This observation should be a warning to the fundamentalist Christians who say there are no contradictions in the Bible. They have no faith in the Bible at all for they are only assuming it is right. If they really believed, they would not need to work out and produce laughable far-fetched ways of reconciling Bible contradictions. They wouldn’t do that with anything else but the Bible.
Morison claims that Peter’s clever and unbiased mind was behind the first Gospel, that of Mark. But Morison only assumes this for there is no evidence that the gospel is clever and unbiased or that Peter had much if anything at all to do with it. Morison then tries to make out that the claim of Luke that the apostles waited seven weeks before saying Jesus had risen from the dead is too detrimental to the evidence for the resurrection to be true. In other words, the evidence for the resurrection is right and any evidence against it is wrong! That is bias if I ever seen it. He then makes out that these things which undermine the pro-resurrection evidence prove it happened. So the evidence against the resurrection makes the evidence for it stronger! How ridiculous.