[an error occurred while processing this directive] from the ex-tian mailing list:

The Resurrection of Christ story contains some historical un-likelihoods, which I'd like to address:

1) Joseph of Arimathea requesting the body of Jesus from Pontius Pilate for burial in his own tomb. Crucifixion was a form of punishment reserved for traitors and insurrectionists against Rome. It was designed to torture and humiliate both the victim and those who followed the victim's philosophy. One of the worst humiliations a Jew could conceive of was being denied a proper burial. Given this, the Romans undoubtedly buried their crucifixion victims quite unceremoniously (probably in a common grave). This makes it extremely unlikely that Pilate would concede to Joseph's request for Jesus' body, and he almost certainly would not care about the Jews' discomfort at having the body hanging on the cross during Passover. This is further supported by Josephus' assertions that Pilate was a brutal and tyrannical ruler, who thrived on intimidating his subjects.

2) The women going to the tomb early on the morning of the Sabbath to anoint Jesus' body. The women reportedly had watched as he was being buried, and knew that a huge stone had been rolled in front of the tomb. It would have been physically impossible for the women to remove the stone from its place; therefore it would be illogical for them to start out to anoint the body knowing they could not enter the tomb.

3) The Roman guards reporting back to the chief priests that the body was gone, and the priests giving them "hush money" to say they were asleep on duty. Why would the Roman guards report to the Jewish authorities instead of to their own commanding officer, Pilate? This would seem to be tantamount to treason. Also, taking a bribe to say they were sleeping would have mattered little to the guards. The punishment for neglecting one's post (and letting someone escape) would have likely been death.

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