CADRE Comments

A Rational Look at Christianity; Basing Reason in Truth

Introductory note from Jason Pratt: see here for the previous entry; and see here for the first entry of the series. (It explains what I'm doing, and how, and contains the Johannine prologue.)

An earlier guest author for the Cadre, Anne A. Kim, aka "Weekend Fisher", has also compiled a slightly different, and slightly more traditional {g}, way of solving for the Resurrection ranges, so to speak, here.]

Anastasis look!--a severe earthquake occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and wallowed away the stone and sat on top of it...

...and his appearance was like lightning, and his garment was white as snow...

...and the guards shook for fear of him...

...and became like dead men...


Now on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene is coming early to the tomb (along with someone else, apparently; the Disciple says that this is "the other Mary", maybe meaning Mary the mother of James and Joses whom he had previously mentioned), while it is still dark--

and she sees the stone (already) lifted from the tomb!

And so she is running

and is coming to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple whom Jesus was loving,

and is saying to them:

"They have taken away the Master out of the tomb--and we do not know where they have laid Him!"

So Peter and the other disciple went forth, going to the tomb; and the two were racing alike; but the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter, and so came first to the tomb (says the Evangelist).

Now stooping, and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he didn't go in.

So Simon Peter is also coming, following him, and entered the tomb; and he is seeing the linen wrappings lying here, and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but folded up in a place by itself. (i.e. where it had been tying the jaws together so that they wouldn't go slack during the interment.)

The other disciple, who had first come to the tomb, also entered then.

And he saw; and he believed--for they did not yet understand the scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. (i.e. the Beloved Disciple now understood, or even already understood and was expecting this; but Peter and the others didn't yet.)

So the disciples went away again, to their own places (or homes).


Now on the first day of the week, very early, the women who had come with Him from Galilee are coming to the tomb when the sun was risen, bringing spices that they might anoint Him.

And they were saying to one another, "Who will wallow away the stone for us, from the entrance of the tomb??"

Yet looking up--they are seeing the stone had been wallowed away (already, i.e. for them), for it was extremely large.

But when they entered--they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.

Now it happened that while they were being perplexed about this--

look! Two men stand by them, dressed in dazzling attire! they entered the tomb, they saw one young man, sitting at the right (where the body would have lain), having been clothed in a white robe (says the Follower instead...)

And they (the women) were overawed.

And as the terrified women bowed their faces to the ground, they (the figures) spoke to them:

"Why do you seek the Living One among the dead?" (said one)

"Do not be overawed!" (said the young man) "I know you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified! He has risen; he is not here! See? Here is the place where they laid him!"

"Remember how He spoke to you, while He was still in Galilee," (said one) "saying that the Son of Man must be delivered up into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again."

And they remembered His words...

...and they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had gripped them...

"Now go quickly and tell his disciples he has risen--and Peter!" (called the young man) "Tell them: 'He is going before you into Galilee! You will see him there, just as he said to you (Thursday night on the way to Geth Semane)!' See!--I have told you...!!"

...but they told no one, not a thing (says the Follower).

For they were fearing--

[Note: here the Follower's text abruptly ends...]


Now Mary (Magdalene) was standing outside the tomb weeping (continues the Evangelist, sometime after the Beloved Disciple and Peter had departed); and so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb...

--and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and one at the feet.

And they are saying to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?"

She is saying to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord... and I do not know where they have laid him."

When she had said this, she turned around

(away from these two remarkable figures--who are far more restrained than what had frightened the other women so?? Or perhaps she suddenly realized the question hadn't come from them...)

and sees Jesus standing there

but did not know that it was Jesus.

Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?"

Supposing Him to be the groundskeeper, she is saying to Him:

"Sir!--if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away...!"

(evidently Jesus makes no reply, and Mary turns to go)

Jesus is saying to her: "Miriam!"

She is turning and saying to Him in Hebrew:


which is to say, 'Teacher' (explains the Evangelist).

Jesus is saying to her: "Touch Me not!--for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to My brethren, and say to them: 'I am going up to My Father, and to your Father, and My God, and your God!'"

Mary the Magdalene is coming to His disciples (then), saying "I have seen the Lord!"--and that these things He said to her.


Now look!--Jesus met (Mary Magdalene and the other Mary?), saying "Rejoice!!"

And they came up and took hold of His feet, and worshiped Him.

So Jesus is saying to them:

"Stop fearing!--go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they shall see Me."

And they ran with great joy to tell it to the disciples.


Now while they (the various women) were on their way...

Look!--some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all that had happened.

And when they had assembled with the elders and counseled together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, and said:

"You are to say: 'His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.'

"And if this should come to the ears of the governor (Pilate), we will win him over, and make you free from worry."

And they took the money,

and did as they were instructed,

and this story (says the Disciple) was widely spread among the Jews,

to this day.

...but many bodies of the holy ones who had fallen asleep were raised (noted the Disciple, from earlier in his account),

and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection (the Disciple clarified), they entered the holy city and appeared to many.

Matthew 27:53
Matthew 28:1-15
Mark 16:1-8
Luke 24:1-8
John 20:1-18

[Next time: Returns]


Bill (BK) points out in a later post, that the verb I originally translated as 'roll' is more nuanced than that; and that archaeologically, we should expect more of a cubical stone. Consequently, I have changed over to 'pull'; although it will be noticed that in one case I _had_ used 'taken' in acknowledgment of the nuances involved.

That being said, I have to admit the type of tomb I had in mind was more of a 2nd century tomb, with a cork stone rolling down a small incline and a smaller one wedged underneath it. Either kind would be problematic for a group of women to move, though not necessarily impossible; arguably a flat cubical stone would be more problematic. Which would explain why things had innovated by the 2nd c. {g}

So, my bad. As noted back in the first entry, it's a work still very much in progress. {g!} Thanks to Bill for the reminder (since now that he mentions it, I recall having heard this before.)


Translation update, April 2008: the verb involved with the stone in all three Synoptics is some cognate of {kulio_} with various prefixes--'from/away', 'side', 'toward'. Bill is correct about the usage being more ambiguous than merely 'roll', but at the same time it must also be admitted that this is the same root from which we still build the noun 'cylinder'.

For fairness' sake, I don't want to merely read-in a early-mid-1st-century-tomb habit, into the translation; so I have altered my previous alteration 'pull' (for which the original word would more probably have been {apospao_} or some other cognate of {spa-}), for the more ambiguous 'wallow', which has rolling connotations but also could fit someone progressively working a heavy object in a corner-by-corner 'roll'. (I do this frequently myself when helping move the furniture of my brother and his wife--they move a lot. {g})

It should be noted, however, that GosJohn doesn't use the {kulio_} verb or its cognates (which are unique to the Synoptic tomb scene in the canonical NT), but instead {e_rmenon}: a peculiar form of the otherwise common verb to lift or carry. (The root {e_r} is a verbed form of the word from which we still get our English word 'air'.) It gets frequent usage in the Gospels in other forms, including when Jesus commands that Lazarus' stone be lifted. (Incidentally, GosMatt's previous remark about tombs being opened in the earthquake that occurs with Jesus' death, does not specifically mention what happens to the stones, though stones being rent are mentioned concurrently.)

In any case, while a lift-verb in regard to the stone doesn't necessarily rule out a rolling-stone of some kind, it does tend to lean away linguistically from such an object: the stone is presented as though it has been lifted somehow, but that doesn't seem very natural for a stone that would be rolled--and Mary thinks at first that people have moved it, so it would be bizarre to read in a notion of 'the stone had exploded out and landed somewhere' into the narrative understanding of the scene.


Mid-April 2008 update: per Amos Kloner in BAR 22 (1999); 23-26, 29, (via Allson, Resurrecting Jesus, 2005, n641) -- while round stones weren't normally used until after 70CE, they did in fact occasionally serve in tombs of the wealthy before then.

This doesn't necessarily mean the stone at the tomb was round--note that GosJohn says the stone had been lifted away, not rolled. (It should be noted that if that scene was composed from something other than accurate recollection, substantially post-70, the odds would be vastly in favor of it having been rolled instead of lifted.) But one might suspect someone connected to the Sanhedrin of having a round stone pre-70.

On the balance, however, I think it is safest to leave the translation (as it can be legitimately made) as "wallowed"; this can fit either option.


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