The logistics of funeral arrangements, particularly those that involve a "permanent" place of interment, are neither simple nor inexpensive. Based on available archeological evidence from about 2000 years ago, it would seem that stone enclosures for dead bodies were the sort of thing reserved to emperors, well-placed bureaucrats, highly successful merchants and clergy, and possibly some high-ranking military leaders.
Among common people of that period, it's far more likely that families would commit their dear departed to a simple covering of loose stones and/or dirt, if not to the long-established tradition of leaving bodies exposed to the elements (presumably at some distance from the habitations of the living, and presumably with duly respectful ceremony citing the "purifying fire" of the sun). It would seem that the Romans, when dealing with the remains of those punished by crucifixion, essentially adopted the latter practice, but presumably with less ceremony.
Given the general descriptions ascribed to Jesus and his followers regarding economic status and monetary resources, it seems incongruous that a fully enclosed tomb, with a substantial stone barrier to close it up, would be readily available for his body immediately after his crucifixion. That would have involved a substantial amount of planning, at the very least, not to mention a rather substantial investment of effort and resources (or quite a large quantity of coins).
So, leaving aside all the supernatural claims surrounding the death of Jesus, what is there to lend any credence at all to the inescapably non-supernatural assertion that such a tomb was available? How was that worked out?
I haven't tried looking up anything myself on this yet - I'm wondering if anyone has addressed the question... Has it already been resolved to everyone's satisfaction?
(I don't know whether this would go under "Bible accuracy/inerrancy" or under "Faith and belief". I defer to moderators in determining the appropriate place.)
autotelicadj. (of an entity or event) having within itself the purpose of its existence or happening.
Matthew 27:57-66 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple: He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed. And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre.
Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make [it] as sure as ye can. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.
Mark 15:42-47 And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling [unto him] the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead. And when he knew [it] of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph.
And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre. And Mary Magdalene and Mary [the mother] of Joses beheld where he was laid.
John 19:38-42 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave [him] leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.
And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound [weight]. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.
Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation [day]; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.
Edited by Faith, : to add the Matthew passage
He who surrenders the first page of his Bible surrenders all. --John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, Sermon II.
2Cr 10:4-5 (For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God...
I haven't tried looking up anything myself on this yet -
Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)
I would say here something that was heard from an ecclesiastic of the most eminent degree; ‘That the intention of the Holy Ghost is to teach us how one goes to heaven, not how the heaven goes.’ Galileo Galilei 1615.
If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. Frederick Douglass
So... if Joseph of Arimathea believed that Jesus was going to rise from the dead, lending out the family plot for three days wasn't a big deal. It wasn't an act of generosity but of faith.
Well, that was an odd thing to say. For two reasons.
First, if we go by the narrative of the gospels (and if we aren't, what are we talking about?) Jesus' followers didn't actually expect him to rise from the dead, despite his hints in that direction.
Second, no-one discussed whether J. of A. was being generous, the question is who paid for the tomb?
But since you bring it up, then (again, taking the gospel as gospel, so to speak) J. of A. must have had some stones. Peter denied even knowing Jesus three times before the cock crowed, whereas J. of A. "went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus" and assisted Nicodemus in giving him a lavish funeral. Never mind being generous, if we are to believe the gospel account he was being courageous.