I am doing an apologetics project to help me answer the questions of
critics and am struggling to find a decent secular source on Jewish burial
practices in the first century. The reason that I am seasrching for this
is that I am currently looking at different versions of the swoon theory
and the Ahmadi Muslims claim that the anointment of the body of the
deceased with myrhh and aloe is acknowledged by ALL scholars as not being
a Jewish practice in the first century.


The “scholar” who made this statement is incompetent at best or a liar at
worst. The statement that ALL scholars agree that that anointing with
myrrh and aloe is not a legitimate Jewish practice is irresponsible. I
include below a quote from a scholar on the subject. It took me less than
five minutes to find this reference. I am confident I could find a half
dozen similar to this with a bit more work. (By the way, I used google,
typing in Jewish burial practices myrrh aloe) The quote follows:

At Jesus’ burial, 75 pounds of spices mixed with a gummy substance made
from myrrh and aloes were used in between the folds of the linen cloths
which were wrapped around His body (John 19:39-40). According to Jewish
custom, the body was washed and straightened, then wrapped tightly from
the armpits to the ankles in strips of linen about a foot wide. The gummy
aromatic spices were placed between the wrappings or folds of the linen
partly as a preservative and partly as a cement to glue the linen cloths
into a solid covering which adhered so closely to the body that it would
not easily be removed. The aloes were a fragrant wood which was pounded to
a dry dust, and the myrrh was an aromatic gum which was mixed in with the
dry aloes. The powder immediately around the myrrh would become sticky and
would cement the linen cloths to each other and to the body, but the bulk
of the aloe powder would most likely remain dry. The face was covered with
a cloth napkin or handkerchief which was sometimes wrapped fully around
the head.

It is my experience that Muslim critics of the Bible are generally
extremely shallow. Most of these critics do not read the Bible at all or
very little. Most of them simply take from other Islamic critics of the
Bible without doing their own research. Many of the criticisms include
claims of biblical inconsistencies which are very easily answered by
anyone who knows the Bible. Now, I am sure that there are exceptions to
this rule, but I have not found one yet, and I have come across a lot of
this stuff. You should take most if not all “scholarship” by Muslim
writers who criticize Christianity with a giant grain of salt. My
sincere hope is that I have not followed a similar pattern. You will find
a fair amount of material on the Koran and Islam at my web site. I have
tried to back up my claims with careful study. I have read the entire
Koran and have read many books, including by those who support belief in
Muhammad as a prophet. It is always better to build up the truth than to
tear down the lie. However, there is a time for critiquing other
religions and other scriptures, but this should be done with tact, grace
and good research. I would guess that I have not always followed this
advice myself, and ask for helpful criticism from anyone, including my
“enemies” when I stray from this standard.

Let me add that the writers of the New Testament were Jews (with the
exception of Luke). You would be safe to assume that these Jewish writers
of the first century are in a better position to know what were the common
Jewish customs in their own times than an Ahmadi Muslim or even a
legitimate scholar in our own times. The point is that the New Testament
has proven itself to be so accurate as an historical record that
historians use it as a primary source for both Jewish and Christain
practices at that time.

I would suggest you go to a local Christian bookstore. You will find more
than one good book on Jewish customs in the first century. I have read
such books and find them helpful.

John Oakes

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