Empty tomb or No tomb at all?

During the time of Jesus when someone was crucified, it’s said they weren’t given a tomb to be in and their bodies left on the cross where birds could eat their flesh. This would explain not being able to produce a body if Jesus was left hanging on the cross until he was fully decomposed. If this isn’t the case why would Jesus’s body be treated any different?


Yes, this was the practice for common criminals, but the Jews had their own religious requirements:

John 19:31 NASB
[31] Then the Jews, because it was the day of preparation, so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath ( for that Sabbath was a high day), asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.

The Jews would not have permitted the bodies to remain, descecrating the Sabbath.

Your question seems to assume the possibility that Jesus was not buried. Did you have another interpretation of the text?

John 19:38-42 NASB
[38] After these things Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission. So he came and took away His body. [39] Nicodemus, who had first come to Him by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight. [40] So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. [41] Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. [42] Therefore because of the Jewish day of preparation, since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

For me, the text very clearly states what happened to Jesus’ body, not only by the wishes of His supporters, but also it seems at the behest of the general Jewish community.

What do you think about the text and the reliability of Jesus’ burial in the midst of Roman occupation and rule?


Hi @Luna,

Adding to @andrew.bulin ‘s textual support, Is the archeological support for burial after crucifixion.

I think Luna’s question is warranted because it is the normal Roman custom of crucifixion victims not to be given a burial, thus depriving them a last shot at dignity.

Hence, many critics argued against Jesus’ burial.

Besides pointing to Joseph Arimathea, who is a member of the respected Sanhedrin. Which is a bold claim that can be verified by the Jews during those time. And Jesus’ greatest critics, the Jewish religious authorities themselves did not deny the burial, only how his body was stolen.

But recent archeology has shed a new light as evidence for modern scholars. In 1968, they found an ossuary(burial box) of a Jewish man, named Jehohanan, who was put to death by crucifixion in the 1st century. The long iron nail is still pierced through his heelbone.

Source: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jehohanan

This new discovery proved that though it is against the norm to bury crucifixion victims, but it is possible that there were exceptions. One of them of course is the well-documented burial of our Lord, Jesus.

Hope that helps,


@andrew.bulin I believe Jesus was buried but as @RoySujanto said critics say he wasn’t because he was considered Roman property after being crucified. I just watched a Bart Ehrman debate on if Jesus existed and one of the points made was how Romans left the bodies of people up on the crosses and denied then proper burial. So I wanted to know if there was resources pointing to why Jesus would be treated differently.

@RoySujanto Thanks for the link I will definitely be looking at that :blush:


We are told in the gospels that Joseph of Arimathea donated his new tomb for Jesus burial. Even though Joseph was a member of the Sanhedrin and initially a secret believer, he risked his reputation to ask for the body of Jesus & buried Him in a his own tomb. This showed that Joseph of Arimathea was a devout Jew, Touching a corpse was considered unclean under the Mosaic Law.

Jewish customs requirements for burial:
Jesus’ body was anointed with myrrh and aloes, wrapped in a linen cloth and placed in an unused tomb.
This was done to fulfill the prophecy in Isaiah 53:9 “He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth."

So there’s was a tomb, but it was empty because Jesus rose from the dead.


Here is a link to the topic of Roman crucifixions. It is from the Biblical Archaeological Society. I have not read all the articles and am not sure that is will confine of deny Ehrman but I am sure that it will be of some use to your studies.


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