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How many Angels were at Jesus' Tomb?

Discussion in 'Biblical Debates' started by dorsk188, May 25, 2005.

  1. dorsk188

    dorsk188 One-Eyed in Blindsville

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    If you read the gospels, they all have a variety of answers to several questions. (1) Who visited Jesus Tomb? (2) Who met them there? (3) How did they learn of the resurrection? Let's look at the New International Version, but I think this will hold up regardless of which version is used. Reading the last chapter of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, as well as the second to last chapter in John, we find that:

    Matthew 28:
    1. Mary Magdalane and the "Other Mary".
    2. One Angel sitting ON the rock that covered the tomb.
    3. The Angel told them (apparently outside the tomb, as there is no mention of going inside the tomb at all.)
    Mark 16:
    1. Mary Magdalane, Mary (Mother of James), and Salome.
    2. A Young Man sitting INSIDE the tomb.
    3. The young man told them inside the tomb.
    Luke 24:
    1. "The Women" (No Names Given)
    2. Two men who suddenly appear beside them, INSIDE the tomb.
    3. "The Men" (Apparently Both Men Spoke, Or It Was Deemed Unimportant Which)
    John 20:
    1. Mary Magdalane is the only one mentioned. All pronouns are singular. (In this version alone, Mary M. leaves the tomb to get two disciples before exploring.)
    2. Two Angels sitting INSIDE the tomb.
    3. The Angels (Both Talking as One, and Individually.)
    Let's look at the whole picture:
    1. Depending on the version you read, a different picture is painted. It is possible that each version only wrote what they saw as important. The omission of some women in some version may be an omission to save space, but why mention Salome if it wasn't important? Why omit her if she was?
    2. Assuming they are all referring to Angelic figures, the question remains how many and where? Were they sitting or did they appear? Matthew is strikingly different account than the others. John alone refers to leaving and coming back.
    3. Consistently, the Angels tell where Jesus went, but they tell different people at different times and in different circumstances.
    How does a biblical literalist defend the differences? They may say that there were three angels, and different accounts notice different angels. Problem is, that isn't a very literal interpretation as NO account mentions three angels.

    My position is very logical and plausible. If we are to consider this to be the literal history of an occurrance, then the eye-witness accounts presented are unreliable (as are many eye-witness accounts) and second-hand. Neither Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John make claims to having even been there. Moreover, the accounts were not written down until decades after they occurred. Odds are that they were written when the authors were either senile or already dead. John wasn't written down until perhaps 70 years after it occurred...

    Doesn't this discount claims to biblical inerrency? Discuss.
     
  2. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    I found this sentence most curious.

    And this a wee bit pushy ...
     
  3. michel

    michel Administrator Emeritus
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    From:-http://www.thirdmill.org/answers/answer.asp/file/99822.qna/category/nt/page/questions/site/iiimAccording to John 20:1ff., the order of events was as follows:

    1. Mary Magdalene went to the empty tomb.
    2. Mary Magdalene told the disciples Jesus' body was missing.
    3. Simon Peter and John went to the empty tomb.
    4. Simon Peter and John left.
    5. Mary Magdalene returned to the tomb and saw two angels and Jesus.
    6. Mary Magdalene told the disciples she had seen Jesus.
    7. The disciples didn't believe Mary Magdalene's report.
    Luke 24:1ff. lists the order of events as follows:

    1. Mary Madgalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and other women who had come from Galilee with Joseph of Arimathea went to the empty tomb and saw two angels.
    2. Mary Madgalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and other women who had come from Galilee with Joseph of Arimathea told the disciples what they had seen. Matthew 28:1ff. lists the following order of events:
    3. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to the empty tomb and saw an angel.
    4. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary encountered Jesus.
    5. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary told the disciples.
    Mark 16:1-8 lists this order of events:

    1. Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome went to the empty tomb and saw and angel.
    2. Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome did not tell the disciples. :)
     
  4. dorsk188

    dorsk188 One-Eyed in Blindsville

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    Only meant that the actual dictation of the stories approached the higher end of human life span and that there was a potenial, especially for John, is that the book's namesake may have passed on. Granted this was an important event in the apostle's lives, how well would you remember details from 50 years ago?


    Sincerest apologies, it was a long post, and I grew a bit terse near the end. Allow me to rephrase:

    If you so please, contribute to an intriguing and friendly discussion of this topic. And may the frubals be plentiful! :D


    As for Michel, he is right. Most interesting to me is the number of angels, as they seem to be the most "point-at able" contradiction.
     
  5. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    Even if we forget the fact the gJohn is heavily redacted, there is no reason to presume that the disciple John is its author. The New Testament is an anthology of fiction and hearsay from folks who witnessed nothing.

    Terse? I own terse!

    Back on topic: there are few if any difficulties/contradictions that are impervious to creative exegesis. If there were, one can expect that they would have been redacted or excluded from canon long ago.
     
  6. dorsk188

    dorsk188 One-Eyed in Blindsville

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    My position exactly, but seeing as it is a debate forum, I was hoping to gather some insight about the rationalizations that people construct about this particular instance.


    That's what makes it so difficult to find holes in the surviving dogma... but at the same time, when you find something that doesn't quite fit, like Jesus' Baptism (different thread altogether), it makes it all the more exciting.
     
  7. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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    These discrepancies are well known and a common topic in theology. As I understand it, the first description of the events are the simplest. The later books relate an increasingly complex and miraculous series of events.

    Note that Matthew, Mark, Luke, John are not the chronological order the books were written in.
     
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