Deeper Waters Podcast 8/22/2015: Greg Monette

What’s coming up on the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

The Apostle Paul says of Jesus in the 1 Cor. 15 creed that he was buried. Bart Ehrman says no. Which one is right? Greg Monette has come down hard on the side of burial and since he’s doing his Ph.D. on the topic of the burial of Jesus, then he’s certainly qualified to speak on this matter. So who is Greg Monette?

GregMonette

And in his words:

Greg Monette is the Canadian Representative for Faithlife Corporation, the makers of Logos Bible Software. Logos serves over 2.5 million customers and employs nearly 500 people at their head office in Bellingham, Washington.

Greg recently became an author for the first time with the release of his book The Wrong Jesus: Fact, Belief, Legend, Truth…Making Sense of What You’ve Heard (NavPress, 2014).

Greg earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada and attainted both his Masters of Divinity and Master of Arts in Theology degrees from Acadia University’s Divinity College in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada. He is currently writing his doctoral thesis in the field of Christian Origins through the University of Radboud in the Netherlands under the guidance of Jan Van der Watt and Michael Licona. His dissertation is on the burial of Jesus and ancient Jewish burial practices. He is a student member of the Society of Biblical Literature.

Greg has lectured in Canada, Israel, the U.K. and the United States.

He is a deeply passionate Canadian hockey fan who loves to read, travel, and spend time with his best friend and wife, Julie. He is also looking forward to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots winning their fifth Super Bowl very soon!

I’ve already recorded the interview which was an hour long, but this was certainly a fascinating interview as we delved into claims made by Ehrman that the burial of Jesus did not take place, as well as something at the start about the importance of teaching apologetics to young people based on Greg’s own experience in college. In looking at the burial, we discussed why it is that many scholars today are quite certain that Jesus was buried, so much so that Craig Evans among others uses terminology that indicates he thinks it’s a certainty. We discussed how Jews in Second Temple Judaism saw the purity of the land and why it is that the body of Jesus would be buried.

We also discussed questions relating to Joseph of Arimathea. Was he a real person? What about the problem that we do not know where Arimathea was? We talked about how Bart Ehrman in writing his section on the burial of Jesus neglected to interact with the very best scholars in the field who would speak on the matter and did not interact with the evidence of archaeology. We also discussed the idea of what if the burial account is just something that is created only for the purposes of getting to the resurrection?

This was a fascinating interview and I hope you’ll be listening to it! I will release it this Saturday!

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Apostles’ Creed: And Was Buried

Was Jesus buried? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

As we look at the Apostles’ Creed, the next claim to look at is that Jesus was buried. This is highly important since Bart Ehrman has come out lately saying he does not think that Jesus was buried, a position that has been held by John Dominic Crossan as well. An excellent rebuttal to Ehrman can be found by Greg Monette here.

So is there any evidence that Jesus was buried?

Well all of our texts that speak about this do indicate a burial. The 1 Cor. 15 creed says that Jesus was buried. This would not mean being thrown into a common grave to be eaten by dogs. That would not be a burial but would rather be a lack of a burial.

It is true that this was the common treatment of people who were crucified in the Roman Empire, but in Israel, things were done a little bit differently. They had scrupulous views on how the dead were to be treated and this included even the criminals. To do otherwise would be to desecrate the persons involved. With Passover coming, the people of Israel would want to remove any uncleanliness from the people and the land.

Now some might say that this did not take place in the war on Jerusalem around 70 A.D., but this was hardly a normal time. Most of these people would not be buried because the Israelites were too busy trying not to be killed and the Romans weren’t really caring about Jewish sensitivities at that time.

It’s also important to note that the burial would not be talked about as much because the burial of Jesus was not an honorable burial. When we look at the account we find that it is not Jesus’s family that buries Him, as would be the case in an honorable burial. It was instead Joseph of Arimathea, a practical stranger to Him.

Also, Jesus was not buried in the tomb of His family. Many times in the book of Kings, we will read about a king and how he was not buried with the kings. How the king was buried spoke volumes about how his life was to be viewed. A good burial would mean a good life. A bad burial would mean a bad life.

In fact, this is even one of the judgments pronounced on a prophet who disobeyed God in the book. He is told that as punishment for his disobedience, he would not be buried in the tomb of his ancestors. For us today, we would say he got off easy. The ancient world would have been aghast and thinking that this is someone they don’t want to model themselves after!

Also, Jesus’s family was not allowed to mourn for Him. This would be another aspect of the shame. We don’t read accounts of His mother Mary going to the tomb or of His own brothers going to the tomb. Jesus’s burial was meant to be a mark of shame to Him.

So what about Joseph and Nicodemus wrapping him up and giving him a burial and covering his body with spices? They couldn’t make the burial honorable, but they wanted to make it a little bit less dishonorable as difficult as that was.

This fits us in then with the criterion of embarrassment. The burial of Jesus is not something that people would want to talk about as much because of the high nature of it being dishonorable. If Jesus was raised from the dead, the burial could easily be skipped over provided one mention that He had died and the nature of His death would indicate the divine vindication that took place with His resurrection.

For these reasons, I conclude that the burial is indeed a historical reality.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

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