Other than in the Bible, do we have any historical evidence that Jesus’ body was put in a tomb by Joseph of Arimathea and that Pilate placed guards around the tomb?


The simple answer is no.  We do not have external confirmation of this particular historical event.  What we have is the record of the eye-witnesses and the testimony of the early church who knew perfectly well whether this was true or not.   The apostles were faithful witnesses and I believe it is perfectly reasonable to assume that the gospel writers were not lying when they reported this.  They show clear evidence by their lives and their character as individuals to have been above all possible corruption.   Even if one apostle chose to lie about this (extremely unlikely) then surely others would have pointed out the error so as to not bring shame of the Christian Church.

Having said this, we have preciously few historical records from ancient times.  To expect that this very minor detail would have been recorded by a non-Christian writer is to expect something quite unreasonable.  Gentiles had no reason to record this detail, so we should not be surprised that it is not found in the histories of Josephus, Tacitus and the like.  In fact, if it had been recorded this would have been astounding, given how insignificant this little event was to the Gentile or even the Jewish world.  In the case of Christians, of course, this event was of great importance, which is why the gospel writers faithfully record this event.

John Oakes

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