Post-Easter Analysis

Have you read the resurrection stories and then listed out the events that each of the gospels describe side by side and tried to harmonize the stories.  Here are some problems you will run into. 

  1. What day did Jesus die on?  This is still quite a topic for debate.  In Mark Jesus dies on the Day of Preparation for the Sabbath, which is Friday before sundown.  In John, Jesus dies on the Day of Preparation for the Passover, Thursday before sundown.
  2. Who bought the Potter’s Field and how did Judas die? In Matthew Judas feels remorse and returns the 30 pieces of silver to the chief priests.  He went and hanged himself and the chief priests took the 30 pieces of silver and bought the Potter’s Field.  In Acts Judas acquires the field with the 30 pieces of silver and somewhere he falls and his intestines burst out. 
  3. Who was at the tomb on the day of resurrection?  In Matthew it is Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, In Mark it is Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Solome.  In Luke it is Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James and other women.  In John only Mary Magdalene is mentioned. 
  4. Where was the stone that was placed in front of the tomb entrance when the women arrived?  In Matthew the women find it rolled away and an angel sitting on it.  In Mark it is already rolled away but the angel is not on top of the stone but rather inside the tomb.  In Luke, they find it rolled away, they walk into the tomb and find it empty, all of a sudden two men appear next to them.  In John, Mary Magdalene finds the stone rolled away, leaves to tell Peter and John, they all come back and Peter runs into the tomb .  Mary is outside the tomb but looks in and sees tow angels.
  5. What do the angels tell the women?  In Matthew the angel says that Jesus is risen and is on his way to Galilee.  In Mark, the angle tells the women to go and tell the disciples to go and see Jesus in Galilee.  In Luke, the angles don’t tell the women to do anything, and in John the angles say nothing.
  6. When was the temple curtain torn in two?  In Mark the curtain is torn after Jesus breathes his last.  In Luke, the curtain is torn before Jesus breathes his last breath.

There have been some pretty interesting attempts to harmonize these.  All presume a lot and have little evidence from the texts to back them up.


4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by anon on April 9, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    Have you read any of Bishop John Shelby Spong’s work? Books include “Rescuing the Bible from Fundalmentalism”, “Born of a Woman” (challenging the notion of a virgin birth) “Resurrection: Myth or Reality” and others. Excellent reading for us recovering fundamentalists.


  2. They are on my reading list. Thanks.


  3. No. But now i will. Thanks for that.


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