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Answering The Atheist
August 20, 2006 / Volume 6, Issue 34

Who buried Jesus? Was it Joseph of Arimathaea (Mt 27:57-60; Mk 15:43-46; Lk 23:50-53), Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus (Jn 19:38-42), or the Jews and their rulers (Ac 1327-29)? Is there a contradiction?

For there to be a contradiction between the synoptic gospels and John's account of the burial, Matthew, Mark or Luke must indicate that Joseph buried Jesus alone, without any other present. None of them do. John gives us more information than the synoptics, adding that Nicodemus was also present. However, the information given in these 4 accounts is not contradictory.

Acts 13 speaks Jesus' death and burial, and attributes his being laid in a tomb to "...those who dwell in Jerusalem, and their leaders..." I am unsure how the questioner considers this to be contradictory. Joseph of Arimathaea was "prominent council member" (Mk 15:43; Lk 23:50), and Nicodemus was a "Pharisee" and "ruler of the Jews" (Jn 3:1). It is also entirely possible that there were others who helped with the burial. None of the texts mention others, but none of the texts exclude the possibility either.

There is no contradiction here.

This article is a response to Skeptic's Annotated Bible