Bock

One More Tabor Claim – April 1 (expanded April 2)

Jim Tabor has recently posted a blog denying a connection between the first tomb of Jesus and Jospeh of Arimathea’s tomb.

Now there are some interesting things going on here. He mentions Mark and John, but minimizes Matthew (as well as not handling Matthew consistently as a source).

Matthew 27:57-60 reads, "Now when it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut in the rock. Then he rolled a great stone across the entrance of the tomb and went away."

Jim Tabor has recently posted a blog denying a connection between the first tomb of Jesus and Jospeh of Arimathea’s tomb.

Now there are some interesting things going on here. He mentions Mark and John, but minimizes Matthew (as well as not handling Matthew consistently as a source).

Matthew 27:57-60 reads, "Now when it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut in the rock. Then he rolled a great stone across the entrance of the tomb and went away."

Now what is key here is that Tabor accepts the claim of Matthew’s unique remark about the body being taken by the disciples, if the Special is any guide, so why would he not note the burial in Joseph’s tomb that Matthew also notes?

So the idea that this tomb is not connected to Joseph of Arimethea seems to reject the idea that the most likely locale for a tomb Joseph would have buried Jesus in would be one he owns. It also rejects the idea that a rock hewn tomb would most likely be a family tomb (as Jodi Magness notes on the BAR website; thanks to J. D. Walters and Benjamin Lewis for this). Also why would Matthew make a point of this for an audience that might well be aware of the facts tied to Jesus’ burial as Jewish and Roman figures would have likely been aware of what happened? The appeal to Matthew’s apologetic motive is applied inconsistently by Tabor. He holds to certain unique things Matthew tells us and rejects others. The tomb is located in an area where priestly and Jerusalem area families would have family tombs in a manner that reflects such family associations. So why not take it that all Matthew has done is make clear what was culturally implicit and likely, that Joseph handled the body and placed it in a tomb he had the right to place a body in — one owned by him.

J.D. and Ben’s response can be found at: http://toegodspot.blogspot.com/2007/03/rich-men-and-their-tombs.htm

3 Comments

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    Anonymous

    Tabor Claim – April 1
    Tabor states the following in his April1st blog post: “There is an interesting passage in the Mishnah that mentions that Jews executed as criminals were not buried in their ancestral tombs but that the Sanhedrin had established two burial sites for the temporary placing of corpses. After a year or so, when the flesh was gone, the bones were collected and reburied honorably by the family with proper rites of mourning (Sanhedrin 6:5-6). It is entirely possible that such a tomb, near the place the Romans favored for execution, belonged to the Sanhedrin, assuming this law was in practice in the time of Jesus. If such were the case Joseph of Arimathea, being part of the Sanhedrin, might have made temporary use of such a tomb.”
    This seems unlikely because 3 of the 4 gospels state that the place where Christ’s body was laid was where no one had ever been laid or new. If the Sanhedrin had tombs that were used for the purposes Tabor describes it seems unlikely that they would be new.
    Tabor states: *In Matthew, Joseph becomes a “rich man” who puts Jesus in “his own new tomb.” This is clearly not history but Matthew’s theological addition to show a fulfillment of prophecy, namely, Isaiah 53:9, where the suffering servant is buried in the tomb of a rich man. Matthew often does this sort of thing, adding to Mark’s narrative, which is his basic source, and historians properly take these glosses as theologically based not as reliable historical information.
    As a member of the ruling class “the Sanhedrin” Joseph of Arimathea was probably a wealthy man, Matthew did not have to make it up. Joseph must have been a fairly influential man because he requested and received Christ body from Pontius Pilate. If first century culture is anything like today’s culture influence and wealth go hand in hand.

    Here is something in his post that I don’t understand and was hoping you can shed some light on, “John has another independent and alternative tradition, tacked onto the end of his gospel, where Peter and a group of the disciples actually return to Galilee and begin fishing again. This tradition, in its original form, apparently had no view that Jesus had been raised from the dead (John 21).” What does he mean by “its original form, apparently had no view that Jesus had been raised from the dead” Thanks in advance.

    • Avatar

      bock

      Tabor Claim dlb May 31
      In response to your April 1 post, Sorry, I have no idea how Tabor thinks the variant tradition of John does not hold to a resurrection simply because the disciples are at their home. Your other observation about tombs seesm to be correct.

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    Anonymous

    Jesus Tomb
    Jesus tomb is in France, in Lourdes. I saw it with my own eyes when I visited the place last Summer.