Monday, July 12, 2010

Burial of Jesus in Dunn, "Jesus Remembered"

While making little mention of the burial of Jesus in an earlier treatment of the resurrection, Dunn addresses the assertion of Crossan and others that Jesus was not buried. Against this view, Dunn contends that "the tradition is firm that Jesus was given a proper burial (Mark 15:42-47 pars.), and there are good reasons why its testimony should be respected." (781) There are a number of reasons as to why this is so:

  1. It is one of the oldest traditions we have available to us about Jesus 1 Cor. 15:4 and like in the narrative accounts, it is not drawn from scripture.
  2. Jewish law required the body be removed before nightfall (Deut 21:22-23; Josephus Wars 4.317) and Passover was a sensitive time meaning the Romans would probably hold to it.
  3. Literary and archaeological evidence of crucifixion victims being buried - Philo, Flacc. 83, Josephus Life 420, the disciples of John in Mark 6:29; Crucified man in family tomb discovered at Giv'at ha-Mivtar.
  4. Joseph of Arimathea is a plausible historical character (Mark 15:43 pars; G. Peter 2:3-5), unlikely to create a sympathiser from among the Jewish council, Arimathea has no scriptural significance.
  5. Presence of women at the cross and their involvement in the burial - "more plausibly [attributed] to early oral memory than creative story telling" (783)

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